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Doris Lessing and the Forming of History$
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Kevin Brazil, David Sergeant, and Tom Sperlinger

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474414432

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474414432.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Doris Lessing and the Forming of History
Author(s):

Kevin Brazil

David Sergeant

Tom Sperlinger

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474414432.003.0001

‘It’s a question of form’ (1993: 418). So declares frustrated writer Anna Wulf, in what remains Lessing’s most celebrated novel, The Golden Notebook. As this volume shows, the attempt to find forms which might record, model and engage historical change and all that it entails is one that persists throughout the six decades spanned by Lessing’s writing. The chapters that follow attend to the full weight of Anna’s statement: when Lessing’s writing turns towards history it is not simply a question of finding the literary form that might best represent it; rather it involves questioning the very relationship between form and history, as they are brought together afresh in each new work. These questions might be common to literary criticism, but the chronological breadth of Lessing’s career, and its sheer variety and productivity, makes them both particularly pressing and particularly enlightening in her work. As she moves from colonial Rhodesia to post-war Britain, and from war-torn Afghanistan to our posthuman future, her work employs the full panoply of techniques, modes, genres and effects that we refer to as forms: short stories, realism, serial fiction, documentary, drama, jokes, Sufi tales, reportage – and more....

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