Presentation on theme: "Doris Lessing (1919-) "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny"."— Presentation transcript:
Doris Lessing (1919-) "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny". 2007 Nobel Prize Winner
Born in Persia of British parents Grew up and educated in Zimbabwe (former Southern Rhodesia) Left school at the age of 14 and then earned her living as a nursemaid, telephone operator and clerk. At 19 married Frank Wisdom, a civil servant; they had two children. The marriage ended in 1943. In 1943 married the German political activist Gottfried Lessing, a member of the inner circle of the Rhodesian Communist Party. This second marriage also failed and in 1949 moved to England with her youngest child and the manuscript of her first novel
Lessing's first novel, the story of a white farm wife in Zimbabwe -- and her relationship with her African servant. An explosive topic for the times, the book is a thoughtful portrait of the country, its people and social challenges: brutality of racism in South Africa and the oppression experienced by women in a male-dominated society. 1950
Literary style Lessing's fiction is commonly divided into three periods: 1. The realistic theme (the 1950s-1970s), when she was writing on social issues; 2. The science fiction (the end of the 1970s-1980s); 3. Back to the realistic social analysis (the 1980s-). However, these three periods were overlapped in some sense.
Her themes Feminism the alienating power of science the individuals’ pursuit of their self in a divided society her searching for a remedy for social illness.
Plot and Struture This novel comprises of six sections: “Free Women: 1”, “Free Women: 2”, “Free Women: 3”, “Free Women: 4”, “The Golden Notebook”, and “Free Women: 5”. The heroine Anna Wulf is a single mother and novelist, who was struggling with crises in her domestic and political life, and a writer’s block. She is determined to strive for women’s freedom; however, she meets various personal pressures and is bewildered about society and her own life.
When writing a novel Free Women, Anna keeps four notebooks which reflect different aspects of her life: The black one is about her life experiences in Africa, and shows her ideas of colonialism and racialism. The red one is about her political life, first in and then out of the Communist Party and shows her confusion about politics. The yellow one is about her attempt to write a story which tells the love affair of Ella, the heroine, who resembles or rather is the shadow of Anna, and it explores the relationship between woman and man, and nature and function of a novelist. The blue one is the diary of Anna, about her psychological breakdown and psychoanalysis. It is made up of dreams and news clippings.
Finally, in love with an American writer and threatened with insanity, Anna tries to bring the threads of all four books together in a golden notebook. In the last section, almost mad, she realizes that she cannot secure her true self in her notebooks nor obtain true freedom as a woman, and she gives in to society by helping women to marry, “going to be integrated with British life at its roots.” In short, Anna strives for women’s freedom, but her dream is ultimately broken.
Canopus in Argus: Archives A series of fantastic science fiction novels.