Read A Small Personal Voice by Doris Lessing Free Online
Book Title: A Small Personal Voice|
The author of the book: Doris Lessing
Date of issue: May 23rd 1994
Loaded: 2613 times
Reader ratings: 5.3
ISBN 13: 9780006547594
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 13.52 MB
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A collection of short non-fiction by Doris Lessing. The two most important are the title essay, "The Small Personal Voice", and the preface to a later edition of The Golden Notebook.
The first is that very rare thing, an essay I can agree with almost 100%. It discusses the nature of "committed" fiction and supports socialism and realism, particularly as against "socialist realism" of the Soviet variety. Unfortunately, very few at the time agreed with it, and even sadder, it seems that Doris Lessing herself no longer agrees with much of it, to judge by a recent article by her I read on the Internet.
The preface explains what she intended by her most famous novel, and the ways it was misunderstood. It also contains insights into other things, most notably education, where she makes many of the same points as Rancière makes in The Ignorant Schoolteacher, one of my more recent reads.
The remainder of the book consists of interviews, reviews of other authors (including Olive Schreiner, Vonnegut, and Karen Blixen), and two good but dated articles on Rhodesian politics at the end of British rule.
This book is a good complement to her early novels, and I have added it to my favorites. Unfortunately it seems to be out of print now.
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Read information about the authorBoth of her parents were British: her father, who had been crippled in World War I, was a clerk in the Imperial Bank of Persia; her mother had been a nurse. In 1925, lured by the promise of getting rich through maize farming, the family moved to the British colony in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Like other women writers from southern African who did not graduate from high school (such as Olive Schreiner and Nadine Gordimer), Lessing made herself into a self-educated intellectual.
In 1937 she moved to Salisbury, where she worked as a telephone operator for a year. At nineteen, she married Frank Wisdom, and had two children. A few years later, feeling trapped in a persona that she feared would destroy her, she left her family, remaining in Salisbury. Soon she was drawn to the like-minded members of the Left Book Club, a group of Communists "who read everything, and who did not think it remarkable to read." Gottfried Lessing was a central member of the group; shortly after she joined, they married and had a son.
During the postwar years, Lessing became increasingly disillusioned with the Communist movement, which she left altogether in 1954. By 1949, Lessing had moved to London with her young son. That year, she also published her first novel, The Grass Is Singing, and began her career as a professional writer.
In June 1995 she received an Honorary Degree from Harvard University. Also in 1995, she visited South Africa to see her daughter and grandchildren, and to promote her autobiography. It was her first visit since being forcibly removed in 1956 for her political views. Ironically, she is welcomed now as a writer acclaimed for the very topics for which she was banished 40 years ago.
In 2001 she was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in Literature, one of Spain's most important distinctions, for her brilliant literary works in defense of freedom and Third World causes. She also received the David Cohen British Literature Prize.
She was on the shortlist for the first Man Booker International Prize in 2005. In 2007 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
(Extracted from the pamphlet: A Reader's Guide to The Golden Notebook & Under My Skin, HarperPerennial, 1995. Full text available on www.dorislessing.org).
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