Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Lessing, Doris. (b. 1919).

W o r k

- early work: preoccupied with the growth of political awareness amongst native blacks and white settlers in colonial Africa

- later work: rejects conventional realism in favour of ‘inner space fiction’

> won the Nobel Prize for Literature (2007)

The Grass is Singing (1950):

- her first novel and an immediate sensation

- on political and social clashes between whites and blacks in Africa

Children of Violence (1952 - 1969):

- a 5-volume novel sequence

- on a young woman's developing political commitment and later disillusion

> The Four-Gated City (1969):

- the last and the most experimental novel in the sequence

- opens amid the political aspirations of British anti-nuclear campaigners

- concludes in the years 1995 and 2000 after a devastating atomic war

The Golden Notebook (1962):

- relates the concept of mental fragmentation to the disintegration of fictional form

- attempts to come to terms with an intelligent woman’s sense of private and public diffusion

- shapes the narrative around a series of notebooks kept by a woman writer trying to order different aspects of her life to fit in neat categories

- the protagonist's evolving perceptions of herself produce an inevitable but welcome formlessness: finds the private and public diffusion symptomatic not of social, mental, or ideological disease x but: of personal liberation

- conclusion: the protagonist fulfils her bids for freedom in a new value of a woman’s creativity

Canopus in Argos (1979 - 1983):

- a 5-volume novel sequence

- the novels qualify as science-fiction x but: emphasize social, cultural, and spiritual issues rather than details of scientific technology 

- examine different societies at different stages of development

- focus on ‘accelerated evolution’ aided by advanced societies for less advanced species

The Good Terrorist (1985):

- a novel on the life of a well-intentioned squatter drawn into organizing acts of violence

- includes an essay analysing the novel's protagonist, setting, and language

The Fifth Child (1988):

- a novel with Gothic elements

- on the abrupt change in a happy couple's life after the birth of their fifth child who possesses strange, unprecedented qualities


(Lessing in 2006. Source: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    Doris May Tayler. Married Lessing. (b. 1919). British.
  • Work

    Novelist. Short story writer. Nobel Prize winner (2007). Author of The Golden Notebook (1962).
  • Genres

    Modern fiction. Colonial writing. Psychological realism. Science-fiction.


Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.

Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.

Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.

Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.

Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.

Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.


"She was adolescent, and therefore bound to be unhappy: British, and therefore uneasy and defensive; in the fourth decade of the twentieth century, and therefore inescapably beset with problems of race and class; female and obliged to repudiate the shackled women of the past."

From Martha Quest (1952).


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