October 11, 2007

Doris Lessing wins the Nobel Prize.

For Literature... some of which I've read right through to the end and some of which I've read part of and then tossed aside, pursuant to advice I first read in Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook," the first book I tossed aside, pursuant to its own advice. I haven't been the same since. Doris Lessing changed my life, my book-reading life. Which books did I read through to the end? "The Fifth Child" — which I actually assigned in a class I used to teach called Women in Law and Literature — "The Summer Before the Dark," and "The Four-Gated City."

14 comments:

ricpic said...

Only another female could read Lessing through to the end.

Ann Althouse said...

Only women read novels anyway.

Richie D said...

JOHN UPDIKE, shafted again by the Nobel people.

P. Rich said...

Well now, let's see. Doris Lessing:

Former Communist
Feminist icon
Race activist

She even penned a work titled "The Good Terrorist". Certainly such factors explain the prize award. She fits the profile so revered amongst the leftist Nobel selectors who use the soft prizes to make political statements. Too bad you allowed some of the drivel into your head, Althouse. All those permanently damaged brain cells...

Gedaliya said...

Only women read novels anyway.

I read The Golden Notebook when I was in my 20s, and as I recall (I don't remember much about the book), I loved it.

Oh, just for the record, I'm not a woman, nor am I one of those trans-a-thing-a-ma-jiggies either.

Shiloh said...

P. Rich-- the key there is former communist, which she has been since the 50s. I always thought that would keep her from getting the Nobel.

Growing up in apartheid Rhodesia Lessing was a "race activist" at a time when to be otherwise was highly immoral. She is not much of a feminist icon these days either, having said "What I really can't stand about the feminist revolution is that it produced some of the smuggest, most unselfcritical people the world has ever seen. They are horrible."

She was always more of a humanist than a feminist, which is a distinction that should be made more often.

LarsPorsena said...

"Growing up in apartheid Rhodesia Lessing was a "race activist" at a time when to be otherwise was highly immoral."

All those 'moral' people have given Robert Mugabe to the world.

Ben said...

I seem to remember liking "The Golden Notebook", though I can't remember any of it.

I'm troubled by remembering liking a book memoirs in which she spends a good chunk of the book trying to defend Mugabe. Thought it was called "The Grass is Singing", but that seems to be one of her novels.

Interesting question: to what extent is a writer's work tainted by its morality? The Communists viewed all writers' work as being valuable only for what values it presented.

We don't want to go there, of course, but does it taint our enjoyment of it?

I tend to say not, but it troubles me that I spend time reading and enjoying the work of people I'd consider moral pygmies (I speak of their world-views, not of their personal lives) in real life.

Ben said...

(missing "of" == "book of memoirs")

Anyway, on second thought, we read the works of these sorts of writers to make us think -- not to then adopt them as our philosopher kings/queens.

So it's ok. :-)

Paddy O. said...

"Only women read novels anyway."

I'm thrust into a gender identity problem now. Only women read novels? Really? Dare I finish The Road knowing my man credentials are at stake?

Between my reading novels and not watching sports I suspect I've somehow transgendered.

Alas.

I need to barbecue something now. And maybe go out and pee on a tree and pick up a good non-fiction book about maximizing my assets to reassert my proper identity.

In my experience men and women read novels equally. But then I spend time around graduate students, seminary graduates and that ilk, who specialize in reading whatever's around.

I have noticed women tend to talk about reading novels more, often without actually reading them.

PatCA said...

Her Children of Violence series changed my life. I read it when I was 18 and re-read the series over the years. Four-Gated City is the last of the series and a bit too sci-fi for me, but maybe I shall read it again too and discover a fresh meaning.

COV is novel writing at its best, for my taste.

http://www.dorislessing.org/childrenof.html

P. D. "Bo" Steele said...

Professor A: what is your position on men and short stories?

JohnTaylor88 said...

I don't usually curse on here, but this is one of the shittiest picks for a Nobel Prize for Literature, ever, and an insult to women, let alone feminists, who can actually write. (Margaret Atwood, anyone? Ursula K. LeGuin?)

Absolutely disgusting. If fourth-tier no-talent hacks like Doris Lessing can win, then I should have won for my secret diary scribblin' at age 12.

PatCA said...

The NYT published an old op-ed of hers today. Hurray for her--it's quite critical of her old leftist ways.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/13/opinion/13lessing.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin