Today marks the appearance of an exciting new collection of essays on Doris Lessing: Doris Lessing and the Forming of History, published by Edinburgh University Press. The volume, which had its genesis at the successful 2014 Doris Lessing conference in Plymouth, England, was edited by Kevin Brazil, David Sergeant, and Tom Sperlinger, and it features contributions from several Society members. The collection offers the first comprehensive, retrospective view of Lessing’s writings across her career, focusing specially on the innovations in literary form she made in response to the historical changes she lived to witness. This book will be a pivotal reference for Lessing scholars over the coming decade. More information at the publisher’s web site, here.
The breadth and freshness of these essays, introduced by the co-editors’ fine overview of Doris Lessing’s expressions of historical change through literary forms, reinforces the author’s undiminished appeal to contemporary scholars and readers. Exploring formal elements of Lessing’s work—characterization, humour, readership, and film and dream analogues—along with politics and history, human evolution, climate change, and time travel, these essays are timely, ambitious, and intellectually engaging.
– Roberta Rubenstein, American University
There’s a new page on the site, under the Resources tab: a short but substantial biography of Doris Lessing, written by Society member Linda E. Chown. This biographical essay focuses on the phases of the author’s life from her birth in 1919 to the early 1980s. Chown’s text is not just factual, but also richly sourced with extensive quotations from published Lessing interviews, some of them now rare. Therefore it should be a valuable resource to students and scholars as a serious introductory biography. For insight into the later years, we are all now awaiting the publication of the authorized biography, now being written!
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
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.