Doris Lessing

Submitted by admin on Wed, 09/21/2016 - 13:02

photo of Doris LessingQuotes

Whatever you're meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible

What's terrible is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don't need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you're capable of better.

Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: 'You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”
―  The Golden Notebook

Trust no friend without faults, and love a woman, but no angel.

There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.

That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way.

There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty - and vice-versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.

A public library is the most democratic thing in the world. What can be found there has undone dictators and tyrants: demagogues can persecute writers and tell them what to write as much as they like, but they cannot vanish what has been written in the past, though they try often enough...People who love literature have at least part of their minds immune from indoctrination. If you read, you can learn to think for yourself.

As you get older, you don't get wiser. You get irritable.

Sometimes I dislike women, I dislike us all, because of our capacity for not-thinking when it suits us; we choose not to think when we are reaching our for happiness.

Details

Doris Lessing was born in Iran on 22 October 1919, died in London on 17 November 2013. She was a British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. Her novels include The Grass is Singing (1950), the sequence of five novels collectively called Children of Violence (1952–69), The Golden Notebook (1962), The Good Terrorist (1985), and five “science fiction” novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979–1983). As an old science fiction fan, I can thoroughly recommend these, especially Shikasta, the first one.

She was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. In awarding the prize, the Swedish Academy described her as "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny". Lessing was the eleventh woman and the oldest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Though she was born in Iran, where her father worked in a bank, but they soon moved to Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) where they had a farm. Doris soon moved to London with her first manuscript in her luggage. She joined the Left Book Club and was encouraged to write more.

Links

Videos