Doris Lessing

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Lessing, Doris

Lessing, Doris, 1919–2013, British novelist, b. Kermanshah, Persia (now Iran) as Doris May Tayler. Largely self-educated, she was brought up on a farm in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and in 1949 moved to England, where her first novel, The Grass Is Singing (1950), was published. Widely regarded as one of the major writers of the mid-20th cent. and an influential figure among feminists, Lessing wrote on a wide variety of themes including Rhodesia, women, communism, and global catastrophe. Distinguished for its energy and intelligence, her work is principally concerned with the lives of women—their psychology, sexuality, politics, work, relationship to men and to their children, and their change of vision as they age. In her later books she mainly focused on efforts by individuals to resist society's pressures toward marginalization and acculturation.

Currents of realism and fantasy run through Lessing's works, with one dominant in some novels and both mingled in others. Her fiction includes a series of five novels collectively entitled The Children of Violence, which concern a semiautobiographical character named Martha Quest; the series includes Martha Quest (1952), Ripple from the Storm (1958), and The Four-Gated City (1969). A series of five science-fiction novels is collectively entitled Canopus in Argos: Archives, of which The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 (1982) is best known. Her most influential novel, often regarded as her masterpiece, is The Golden Notebook (1962), a loosely autobiographical and psychologically acute study of the struggles of a woman writer; it served as an inspiration to the feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s, and is now considered a classic of feminist fiction.

Among Lessing's other novels are Briefing for a Descent into Hell (1971); The Summer before the Dark (1973); The Good Terrorist (1985); The Fifth Child (1988) and its sequel, Ben, in the World (2000); The Sweetest Dream (2001), a semiautobiographical tale of the 1960s; and The Grandmothers (2003). To dramatize the plight of unknown novelists, Lessing wrote two novels, The Diary of a Good Neighbour (1983) and If the Old Could (1984), under the pseudonym of Jane Somers; they were ignored by critics until Lessing revealed their true authorship. She is well known for her short stories and also wrote essays, e.g., Time Bites (2005). Lessing was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007.


See her volumes of autobiography, Under My Skin (1994) and Walking in the Shade (1997) and her part-novel, part-memoir Alfred & Emily (2008); biographies by A. Myles (1990) and C. Klein (2000); studies by R. Rubinstein (1979), I. Homquist (1980), M. Knapp (1984), C. Sprague and V. Tiger (1986), J. Pickering (1990), and M. Rowe (1994).

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References in periodicals archive ?
How could a whole life be distilled in them?" Later I would meet Doris Lessing again in New York City, when I was a Fulbright Scholar studying at Rutgers University.
Se acerca asi a la obra especulativa de Lessing de los anos 70 y 80, que le valio criticas por su alejamiento de la literatura realista (Earl INGERSOLL, 1994; Alice RIDOUT and Susan WATKINS, 2009) pero que le permitio explorar temas de su interes sin las constricciones del tiempo y el espacio, tal como lo afirma en el prologo a la novela Shikasta (Doris LESSING, 1979, p.
Doris Lessing's international reputation as a novelist and short story writer was established during the 1950s and 1960s with the publication of works like Martha Quest (1952), The Golden Notebook (1962) and African Stories (1964).
She observes that we vary greatly in the way we view the relation between our past and present selves, some of us lamenting the passage of time, some of us denying it, some celebrating it, and some, like the writers she most admires, able to "simply affirm [old age] as a significant part of life." Later, Segal quotes Doris Lessing, echoing Simone de Beauvoir, describing "our sense that we have some unchanging inner core, making us never able to feel simply the age we are," and a number of respected writers attesting to similar feelings of timelessness.
DORIS LESSING, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and author of The Golden Notebook, has died aged 94.
CELEBRATED author Doris Lessing died yesterday at the age of 94.
Melbourne, Nov 18 ( ANI ): Doris Lessing, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007, has died.
London: British author Doris Lessing, whose powerful feminist and anti-colonial writing won her the Nobel Literature Prize, died on Sunday at the age of 94.
SHIKASTA by Doris Lessing probably changed - and certainly shaped - my life.
He has collaborated with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma, and Doris Lessing, among many others.
Grandmothers: Four Short Novels by Doris Lessing, and rereading