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Doris Lessing


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#21 Ellen Stuttle

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 11:56 AM

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We are a jaded lot, we in our world ) our threatened world. We are good for irony and even cynicism. Some words and ideas we hardly use, so worn out have they become. But we may want to restore some words that have lost their potency.

We have a treasure-house ) a treasure ) of literature, going back to the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans. It is all there, this wealth of literature, to be discovered again and again by whoever is lucky enough to come on it. A treasure. Suppose it did not exist. How impoverished, how empty we would be.

We own a legacy of languages, poems, histories, and it is not one that will ever be exhausted. It is there, always.

We have a bequest of stories, tales from the old storytellers, some of whose names we know, but some not. The storytellers go back and back, to a clearing in the forest where a great fire burns, and the old shamans dance and sing, for our heritage of stories began in fire, magic, the spirit world. And that is where it is held, today.

Ask any modern storyteller, and they will say there is always a moment when they are touched with fire, with what we like to call inspiration and this goes back and back to the beginning of our race, fire, ice and the great winds that shaped us and our world.

The storyteller is deep inside everyone of us. The story-maker is always with us. Let us suppose our world is attacked by war, by the horrors that we all of us easily imagine. Let us suppose floods wash through our cities, the seas rise ... but the storyteller will be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us ) for good and for ill. It is our stories, the storyteller, that will recreate us, when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed. It is the storyteller, the dream-maker, the myth-maker, that is our phoenix, what we are at our best, when we are our most creative.

That poor girl trudging through the dust, dreaming of an education for her children, do we think that we are better than she is ) we, stuffed full of food, our cupboards full of clothes, stifling in our superfluities?

I think it is that girl and the women who were talking about books and an education when they had not eaten for three days, that may yet define us.


Ellen

#22 daunce lynam

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 01:53 PM

 

What a sublime talent, what a unique soul [Lessing] was.




Was?

Has she died? I'm not finding a death date on some sources I googled.

I found a site called "www.dorislessing.org".

Take a look at this photo and this one. Her eyes in the first one remind me of my "Aunt Em"s eyes. (Actually my first cousin once removed.) Aunt Em lived to be well along into her 90s. The other features are different -- Em, whose mother was an AmerIndian, looked a bit like Georgia O'Keefe in features. Stark lines, aquiline nose.

I've been reading Middlemarch in earnest, around some work projects I've been busy with. I'm up through the end of Book II.

I'm wishing I'd read Middlemarch years ago. I've been missing out on delicious pleasures of comparing/contrasting Eliot and Rand.

There's a sense in which I'd describe Eliot as "the Lessing of the Victorian era" -- the probing dissection.

Ellen

 

Yes, a pair that jumps out at me is Rosamund/Lilian as evil females.



#23 Brant Gaede

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 02:16 PM

 

link

We are a jaded lot, we in our world ) our threatened world. We are good for irony and even cynicism. Some words and ideas we hardly use, so worn out have they become. But we may want to restore some words that have lost their potency.

We have a treasure-house ) a treasure ) of literature, going back to the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans. It is all there, this wealth of literature, to be discovered again and again by whoever is lucky enough to come on it. A treasure. Suppose it did not exist. How impoverished, how empty we would be.

We own a legacy of languages, poems, histories, and it is not one that will ever be exhausted. It is there, always.

We have a bequest of stories, tales from the old storytellers, some of whose names we know, but some not. The storytellers go back and back, to a clearing in the forest where a great fire burns, and the old shamans dance and sing, for our heritage of stories began in fire, magic, the spirit world. And that is where it is held, today.

Ask any modern storyteller, and they will say there is always a moment when they are touched with fire, with what we like to call inspiration and this goes back and back to the beginning of our race, fire, ice and the great winds that shaped us and our world.

The storyteller is deep inside everyone of us. The story-maker is always with us. Let us suppose our world is attacked by war, by the horrors that we all of us easily imagine. Let us suppose floods wash through our cities, the seas rise ... but the storyteller will be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us ) for good and for ill. It is our stories, the storyteller, that will recreate us, when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed. It is the storyteller, the dream-maker, the myth-maker, that is our phoenix, what we are at our best, when we are our most creative.

That poor girl trudging through the dust, dreaming of an education for her children, do we think that we are better than she is ) we, stuffed full of food, our cupboards full of clothes, stifling in our superfluities?

I think it is that girl and the women who were talking about books and an education when they had not eaten for three days, that may yet define us.


Ellen

 

 

She certainly better explains this much better than Joseph Campbell. Stylistically at least.

 

--Brant


Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism


#24 Ellen Stuttle

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 10:55 AM

I was Googling to see how old Doris Lessing was when she died *, and I came across this article which I hadn't seen before:

On Doris Lessing and Not Saying Thank You, by Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, November 20, 2013.

I wondered why Lessing wasn't awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature years before 2007. The article says:

Her name had been floated for years; the Nobel committee had made it clear to her that she was never going to win.


Hmm.

Ellen

* Lessing was 94 when she died, dates 22 October 1919 - 17 November 2013.




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