LESSING, Doris
(1919-)
   Persian (Iranian)-born Southern Rhodesian (Zimbabwean) writer, in UK from 1949. She is best known for her searching examinations of the position of women in the world in such novels as The Golden Notebook (1962). The 5 vols of her Children of Violence sequence deal moreexpansively with the same problems, and The Four-Gated City (1969), which ends the series, moves in its final pages rapidly into the NEAR FUTURE, providing in this fashion a somewhat apocalyptic perspective on the preceding volumes from a viewpoint tinged with Sufi mysticism. This Persian form of Islam, influenced by Indian religions, is centrallyconcerned with the union of the soul with a Higher Being, in terms which are at times surprisingly literal, invoking a kind of drama of the steps one may take in order to achieve transcendence and the permanence of the soul. Much of DL's later work, especially the Canopus in Argos: Archives sequence, can be seen as exegetical of Sufist precepts.Before and after the latter series, however, DL wrote four singletons of some sf interest. Briefing for a Descent into Hell (1971) puts a schizophreniac through amythic journey. The Summer Before the Dark (1973) submits to a similar voyage of external/internal discovery a woman at a point of crisis in her life. In The Memoirs of a Survivor (1974) a woman watches the end of urban civilization from her window, never leaving her room, while a young girl grows up beside her, giving some muted hope for human continuity; it was filmed as MEMOIRS OF A SURVIVOR (1981). The Fifth Child (1988 US) explores with considerable intensity the consequences of giving birth to an infant so destructive of the humans around him that he seems to be a genuine changeling. Far more expansively than these "domestic" novels, the Canopus in Argos: Archives books place the crises of human self-striving into a metaphysically conceived interstellar frame. Each individual novel in the sequence - Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta (1979 US), The Marriage Between Zones Three, Four, and Five (1980 US), The Sirian Experiments(1981 US), The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 (1982 US) and The Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire (1983 US) - depicts an exemplary drama of the soul, as inhabitants of various planets, under the distant aegis of the Canopan Empire, attempt to come to terms with sexuality, politics, mortality and transcendence. Shikasta is Earth; the other novels make use of other venues. Everywhere the drive - sometimes thwarted - is towards literal union with universal principles (or God). The series exudes, at times, a piety not normally associated with sf; but at others the perspectives it opens are illuminating. In DL's hands, the instruments of sf become parables.
   JC
   Other work: No Witchcraft for Sale: Stories and Short Novels (coll 1956 Russia).
   About the author: Doris Lessing (1983 chap) by Lorna Sage; Doris Lessing (1985) by Mona Knapp; Unexpected Universe of Doris Lessing (1985) by Katherine Fishburn.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lessing, Doris — ▪ British writer in full  Doris May Lessing , original name  Doris May Tayler  born Oct. 22, 1919, Kermānshāh, Persia [now Iran]    British writer whose novels and short stories are largely concerned with people involved in the social and… …   Universalium

  • Lessing,Doris — Les·sing (lĕsʹĭng), Doris. Born 1919. British writer known for her five volume series Children of Violence (1952 1969) and for The Golden Notebook (1962). * * * …   Universalium

  • Lessing, Doris — ► (n. 1919) Novelista sudafricana. Escribió en lengua inglesa. Autora de Un hombre y dos mujeres (1963), El matrimonio entre las zonas 3, 4 y 5 (1980), La buena terrorista (1985) y El sueño más dulce (2002). En 2001 recibió el premio Príncipe de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Lessing, Doris (May) — orig. Doris May Tayler born Oct. 22, 1919, Kermānshāh, Iran British novelist and short story writer. She lived on a farm in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) 1924–49 before settling in England and beginning her writing career. Her works, which… …   Universalium

  • Lessing, Doris (May) — orig. Doris May Tayler (n. 22 oct. 1919, Kermanshah, Irán). Novelista y cuentista británica. Vivió en una granja en Rhodesia del Sur (hoy Zimbabwe) en 1924–49 antes de establecerse en Inglaterra, donde comenzó su carrera literaria. Sus obras, en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Doris Lessing — Lessing at lit.cologne in 2006 Born Doris May Tayler 22 October 1919 (1919 10 22) (age 92) Kermanshah, Persia …   Wikipedia

  • Doris Lessing — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Doris Lessing Doris Lessing e …   Wikipedia Español

  • Doris May Tayler — Doris Lessing (* 22. Oktober 1919 in Kermānschāh, Iran; gebürtig Doris May Tayler) ist eine britische Schriftstellerin. Im Jahr 2007 erhielt sie den Nobelpreis für Literatur. Doris Lessing bei einer Lesung auf der Lit.Cologne 2006 in Köln …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Doris Lessing — au Festival littéraire de Cologne en 2006 Nom de naissance Doris May Tayler …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Doris lessing — Doris Lessing au Festival littéraire de Cologne en 2006 Autres noms Jane S …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Doris — o Dóride es el nombre de varios personajes de la mitología griega: 1. Una oceánide, hija por tanto de Oceano y Thetys, y una de las diosas especialmente asociadas al mar. Estaba casada con su hermano Nereo, con quien tuvo a Glauco y a 50 hijas… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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