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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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Lessing and the Scale of Environmental Crisis

Lessing and the Scale of Environmental Crisis

(p.111) Chapter 8 Lessing and the Scale of Environmental Crisis
Doris Lessing and the Forming of History

David Sergeant

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores how Doris Lessing’s fiction might provide an unusually strong vehicle for thinking through some of the questions of scale which have become important to theoretical responses to environmental crisis. It traces how a split response to the problem of scale - for instance, how to bridge the gap between individual and larger community - becomes evident in The Four-Gated City (1969), and shapes how Lessing’s fiction develops from this point. The chapter argues that the turn to a concept of storytelling late in Lessing’s career, in novels such as Mara and Dann: an adventure (1999), is a result of her grappling with scalar difference, and a symptom of her ultimate pessimism about the chances of humanity adequately meeting the challenges it poses.

Keywords:   Doris Lessing, ecocriticism, scale, storytelling, The Four-Gated City, Mara and Dann

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