Doris Lessing

I don't know Lessing's work very well, but I remember being blown away by The Golden Notebook when I was in my twenties. I probably missed a lot of the message, but I was carried along by the sheer audacity of the thing. This piece in the Telegraph reminded me of a couple of other things I'd read & made me want to go look at some of those SF novels. (In my twenties I was very "literary" & had a certain disdain for SF. As Jonathan Mayhew says, many good writers have been overlooked by the Nobel committee, but then many good writers have been overlooked by many prize committees of various sorts for various reasons. And John Ashbery, whom Jonathan mentions, has certainly won a big boxful of prizes, not thaty I'd be sorry to seem him get the Nobel, nor Adonis, either. Others on Jonathan's list of committee-neglected writers certainly have / have had a legitimate claim. On balance, though, Lessing seems a reasonable choice. As a side note, I am surprised that the American Right is not using the Literature prize to "radical feminist" Lessing as a club to beat the Nobel committee because it gave Al Gore -- you know, that radical leftist -- the Peace Prize. But I don't think the American Right reads all that much.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

2 thoughts on “Doris Lessing”

  1. Disdain for SF as a genre within which rigorous, ground-breaking, intellectually demanding work might be done nearly did for Doris Lessing in the wake of her Canopus in Argos series. Good to see her receiving recognition for her outstanding contribution to literature while she’s still a wry & spry 89-year-old.

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