Readersforum's Blog

November 18, 2013

Doris Lessing, Author Who Swept Aside Convention, Is Dead at 94

By HELEN T. VERONGOS

dorisDoris Lessing, the uninhibited and outspoken novelist who won the 2007 Nobel Prize for a lifetime of writing that shattered convention, both social and artistic, died on Sunday at her home in London. She was 94.

Her death was confirmed by her publisher, HarperCollins.

Ms. Lessing produced dozens of novels, short stories, essays and poems, drawing on a childhood in the Central African bush, the teachings of Eastern mystics and involvement with grass-roots Communist groups. She embarked on dizzying and, at times, stultifying literary experiments.

But it was her breakthrough novel, “The Golden Notebook,” a structurally inventive and loosely autobiographical tale, that remained her best-known work. The 1962 book was daring in its day for its frank exploration of the inner lives of women who, unencumbered by marriage, were free to raise children, or not, and pursue work and their sex lives as they chose. The book dealt openly with topics like menstruation and orgasm, as well as with the mechanics of emotional breakdown.

Her editor at HarperCollins, Nicholas Pearson, said on Sunday that “The Golden Notebook” had been a handbook for a whole generation.

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