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Lessing, Doris


Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


Having been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007, among a host of other accolades, Doris Lessing was one of the twentieth century's most important literary figures. She was a prolific novelist and short story writer (as well as nonfiction writer), whose varied output spanned a multitude of genres and resisted attempts at classification. Lessing was born Doris May Tayler on October 22, 1919, of British parentage in Persia (now Iran). In 1925 Lessing moved with her family to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Since 1949 she spent the majority of her time in London. Lessing died on November 17, 2013, at her London home. Though her books were largely concerned with the lives of women, and she herself was something of a feminist icon, Lessing was wary of the tag; in the revised preface to her magnum opus, The Golden Notebook (1962), she cautioned against reducing or “belittling” her work as “a useful weapon in the sex war” ( Lessing 2012 , 8). Lessing's first novel, The Grass is Singing , was published in 1950. Other important works include her Children of Violence series, consisting of five novels starting with Martha Quest (1952) and concluding with The Four-Gated City (1969); the dystopian Memoirs of a Survivor (1974); the five science fiction novels from the Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979–83); The Diary of a Good Neighbour (1983) and If the Old Could (1984), ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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