Doris Mary Lessing(Taylor)
Awards: David Cohen Prize in 2001 for
a Lifetime's achievement on British Literature, Nobel Prize in Literature in
Born: 22/10/1919 in Kermanshah, Persia which
is present day Iran where her father worked as a clerk in Imperial
Bank of Persia.
Doris had a very chequered career. She left school
at the age of 14 and did not pursue formal studies further and was
largely self-taught. She did many odd jobs to maintain herself such as
being a nursemaid and a telephone operator. She had associated herself
with communist think-tanks and raised her voice against Apartheid
policy of South Africa for which she was banned entry into that
country for many years. In 1949, she left for England to pursue a full
fledged writing career. Her first novel "The Grass is Singing" was the
starting point of the long journey she took as a writer. Out of her
many works, the one which brought her many acclaim and is even today
is considered her best piece was The Golden Notebook.
Her unhappy childhood and
the war experience of her father seem to linger in her themes as she
sub-consciously fled to the fancy world of imagination to escape the
bitterness of reality. Her many novels are deeply autobiographical.
In a literary survey in 2008, TIMES ranked
her 5th from a list of 50 greatest English writers since 1945 i.e.
Post Second World War Writers.
Marriage: married to Frank Wisdom in 1937
when she was in Salisbury (at present Harare, capital of Zimbabwe)
working as a telephone operator. The marriage ended in divorce in
1943. She later joined a communist book club where she met Gottfried
Lessing and married him. Thus her surname changed from Taylor to
Lessing.But the marriage ended in divorce in 1949. Gottfried Lessing
was murdered in 1979 rebellion against Idi Amin. Doris has not married
Major Influence: Dickens, Kipling, R L
Stevenson, Dostoevsky, D H Lawrence
Major Works: The Grass is Singing(1950),
Retreat to Innocence(1956),Fourteen Poems(1959), The
Golden Notebook(1962), The Summer before the Dark(1973),
Memoirs of a Survivor(1974), The Good Terrorist(1985)
We are, all of us made by
war, twisted and warped by war, but we seem to forget it.
......... Doris Lessing
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