Doris Lessing: The Poetics of Change

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University of Michigan Press, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 285 pages
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In this readable and theoretically informed study, Gayle Greene sheds new light on the work of Doris Lessing, a complex and crucially important novelist whose works provide a chronicle of our age. Although Lessing is difficult to categorize, her work is always concerned with a search for "something new" against "the nightmare repetition" of history. Lessing's novel The Golden Notebook, together with such works as The Second Sex and The Feminine Mystique, raised the consciousness of a generation of women readers and played a major part in engendering the second wave of feminism. It is the power of Lessing's novels to change people's lives - the effect she had raising the consciousness of a generation of women and the impact she continues to have on young readers - that is the subject of Greene's book. The author brings a variety of approaches to Lessing's work, including psychoanalytic, Marxist, biographical, historical, intertextual, formalist, feminist. Greene's analysis is eclectic and essentially feminist, for she believes that Lessing is a feminist writer - feminist not in offering strong female role models who climb to the top of existing social structures but in envisioning, and indeed helping to bring about, a transformation of those structures.

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