Welcome to the website for the Doris Lessing Society! Here you can find resources for studying and enjoying the writings of one of the 20th century's great authors, including a bibliography of recent literary criticism, information about past conferences and panel presentations, and reading guides on selected works for book clubs and independent readers. Also listed here are current Society members and their scholarly interests. If you would like to join, or if you have a question, don't hesitate to click "Contact," above. -- Cornelius Collins, President, Doris Lessing Society

Latest

call for papers: Doris Lessing Studies, 2016

The editors of Doris Lessing Studies have issued their annual call for papers! This year’s edition will be a special, themed issue. Theme description and contact info below:

“Looking Backward, Looking Forward: Comparative Readings of Doris Lessing’s Historical and Speculative Fiction”

Building upon the Doris Lessing Society’s panel at MLA 2016, this special issue of Doris Lessing Studies seeks article submissions comparing Lessing’s historical-realist-autobiographical fiction to her speculative novels or stories. These two periods in Lessing’s career are often considered by critics as separate areas or phases, but we are interested in exploring ways to bridge that divide. We are interested in attempts to find continuities in Lessing’s career, to theorize the transition from one period to the other, or to articulate non-linear models for understanding her aesthetic trajectory in its long duration.

Submissions should be 12-18 double-spaced (12 point type) pages long, following MLA style. Endnotes must be indicated by superscript numbers manually added within the text and typed in at the end of the article. Submissions should be sent to co-editors Robin Visel and Mark Pedretti (email both rvisel@gmail.com and mark.pedretti@gmail.com with subject “DLS2016 Article Submission”) by May 15, 2016.

Calls for papers, MLA 2017

The Doris Lessing Society has posted its calls for papers for the 2017 MLA Convention in Philadelphia!

The topic of the Society’s guaranteed session is “Teaching Doris Lessing in the Twenty-First Century.” Given the changes in post-secondary education since Lessing’s canonization in the US academy with novels like The Golden Notebook, what do we teach when we teach Doris Lessing now, and how (and to whom) do we teach? This session may run in the roundtable format (briefer presentations, more discussion), depending on the number of qualified submissions. Deadline and contact details can be viewed here.

The topic of the special session the Society will propose is “Twentieth-Century Women Writers and the Formalist Turn.” This panel proposes to ask, how will the “formalist turn” in literary studies affect or shape the interpretation of, and new scholarly work on, twentieth-century women writers? Has it already? The “formalist turn” is a topic alluded to often in recent discussions of the state of the field, with the sense that a shift is occurring, taking literary study away from the historicist and contextualist styles of interpretation that have been dominant for the past several decades. The status of this turn, and whether it’s anything new, are naturally in question. Still, at this juncture it seems worth thinking about how such a turn might transform or shape the study of women writers in particular, in light of how notions of form and formalism have typically been gendered. Doris Lessing’s work, for example, is often criticized for a supposed lack of attention to formal concerns; this then is an occasion to wonder how she, like other women writers, will fare as (or if) the canon of modern writing is reshaped along formalist trajectories. Deadline and contact details can be viewed here.

The topic of a collaborative session the Society will propose with the Margaret Atwood Society is “Boundaries of Life: Ageism and Aging in Works by Margaret Atwood and Doris Lessing.” This session is inspired by the MLA’s 2017 Presidential Theme, “Boundary Conditions.” By focusing on ageism and aging in the works of Atwood and Lessing, two of the twentieth century’s most prolific and influential women writers, this panel aims to explore the ways these writers depict the passing of time in relation to life experiences and self-consciousness. Some questions papers might answer include: What does it mean to come of age? How do age and the aging process affect how we see ourselves? When and how does one become old? How does age discrimination shape societies and individuals? In addition to examining individual works, papers may also look at the authors’ careers more broadly and discuss how their treatment of aging as a theme has changed as they themselves aged. Deadline and contact details can be viewed here.

new issue of Doris Lessing Studies

The latest issue of the Society’s academic journal, Doris Lessing Studies, has just been published! The 2015 edition is volume 33.

Equally exciting is the fact that with this issue, the journal is moving to online-only publication. The format of the journal as you know it has not changed, but from now on, rather than being mailed to members, it will be hosted in PDF format on this web site for download. That means here is the place to find the latest scholarship on Doris Lessing! To read this and other recent issues in our online archive, become a member, or contact your library and inquire about institutional access.

Here is the table of contents for volume 33:

  • Letter from the President, Cornelius Collins
  • Letter from the Co-Editors, Phyllis Perrakis, Drew Shannon, and Robin Visel
  • “After the ‘Colour Bar’: Doris Lessing’s Analysis of Contemporary Racism in ‘Victoria and the Staveneys,'” Christine Sizemore
  • “Lacking a Story of Her Own: Susan Rawlings and Narrative in Doris Lessing’s ‘To Room Nineteen,'” Kevin Brown
  • “Media and Subjectivity in Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook,” Laurel Harris
  • “Unlived Lives, Unborn Children in Lessing’s Alfred and Emily and D. H. Lawrence’s Chatterley Novels,” Nancy L. Paxton
  • “‘A Hiatus’ in Doris Lessing’s Memory of Her Father: ‘My Father’ and Alfred and Emily,” Sun Hwa Park
  • Review of Literary Half-Lives: Doris Lessing, Clancy Sigal, and Roman à Clef by Roberta Rubenstein, Drew Patrick Shannon
  • “Doris Lessing: An Appreciation,” Roberta Rubenstein
  • List of Society Officers

Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook After Fifty

Three Doris Lessing Society members, Alice Ridout, Roberta Rubenstein, and Sandra Singer, have co-edited a book that grew out of the Society’s 2013 MLA Convention panel in Boston marking the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Golden Notebook. The book features the work of many Doris Lessing Society members and has been published by Palgrave-Macmillan.

Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook After Fifty

9781137488374

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