Category Archives: Doris Lessing

The parent trap: can you be a good writer and a good parent?

Doris Lessing left her marriage and children to write. Seventy-five years on, Lara Feigel examines the author’s maternal ambivalence and explores her own struggle to balance motherhood and freedom

When I tell people that I’m writing a book about freedom and Doris Lessing, their first response is often the same. “Didn’t she abandon her children?” Implicit is the assumption that freedom, in whatever complex ways she sought it, came at too high a cost: she paid the price of unwomanliness, even of monstrousness. When I say I’m writing the book partly as a memoir, and that it began with a process of intense identification with Lessing, I feel implicated in the judgment. Defending her actions, stressing that they didn’t result from a straightforward absence of maternal love, it can feel as though I’m admitting to such a deficiency myself.

It’s partly because these questions are so difficult that I decided to write my book as a memoir and to investigate Lessing’s attempts to seek social, sexual, political and psychological freedom through the lens of my own life. The book began with a summer of going to too many weddings while reading The Golden Notebook, Lessing’s 1962 exploration of the artistic and sexual life of a “free woman” prepared to sacrifice happiness for liberation.

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Source: gad

Germaine Greer is wrong: women are yelling ‘stop’ because we want the world to hear | Emma Brockes

The women who say they just ‘got on with’ brushing off bothersome men are out of step with this moment, when real change feels possible

Many years ago, I interviewed Doris Lessing, and this is what she said: “It was a different attitude then. We just got on with it.” She was referring to a section of Walking in the Shade, the second volume of her autobiography, in which after cataloguing the tough things she’d gone through as a young woman, she upbraided young women of today, who, as she put it, “scream or swoon at the sight of a penis they have not been introduced to, feel demeaned by a suggestive remark, and send for a lawyer if a man pays them a compliment”.

Back in the day, said Greer, a leering man was considered by all sensible women to be less of a threat than a fool

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Source: gad