“We’ll Land Together on That Shore”: Sceptical Mind in Doris Lessing’s The Cleft
For many years the writing of Doris Lessing has been a focal point for those feminist critics who recognised in her a “spokesperson” for the second-wave feminist movement, after the publication of The Golden Notebook in 1962. Another and less significant component of Lessing studies has been associated with the writer’s left-wing politics.
Things started to change in 2007, long before Lessing’s winning the Nobel Prize for literature, when Susan Watkins made a statement in Feminist Review that the writer’s work is over-ripe for reassessment, and therefore outlined new areas of potential interest: in relation to post-colonial theory, or to the notions of memory and identity (2007: 97–115). This new approach promised not only a much broader spectrum of issues and methodologies, but was supposed to increase the interest in the study of Lessing’s writing in British academic circles. The Second International Doris Lessing Conference that followed proved that her writing is open to a variety of approaches, and not exclusively feminist. Since then Lessing panels have been a regular event at general conferences (the most recent in 2014 held by the Modern Language Association). While it is yet too early to talk about diversity in Lessing studies, strategically it is important, first, to adopt less restrictive ways of interpreting her writing, and, secondly, to draw attention to her recent novels which are in general being neglected. In this essay I argue that an effective way to approach her novels is from the perspective of...
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