Read The Black Madonna by Doris Lessing Free Online
Book Title: The Black Madonna|
ISBN 13: 9780586091111
The author of the book: Doris Lessing
Date of issue: February 6th 1992
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 24.64 MB
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Reader ratings: 6.2
Read full description of the books:
Collection of short stories published in the early 1960s, sadly no indication here when they were written. They are all set in southern Africa, in some kind of Rhodesia lightly flecked with the odd Afrikaans word.
I wondered, since a couple of the stories featured a girl, her gun and a couple of dogs wandering about, how far these tales were autobiographical.
Taken as a whole these stories are an excoriating portrayal of colonial life, spiritually and intellectually empty, patriarchal in the worst interpretation of the meaning of the word. It's not their land they are occupying through brute force and the knowledge of it gnaws away at them.
In one story the old chief, pulled up by a farmer on account of a wayward (but is there any other kind) herd of goats says via a translator"All this land, this land you call yours, is his land and belongs to his people" - such ingratitude will not stand! A word is had with the policeman who over tennis mentions it to the District Commisioner, whereupon the uppity natives are repatriated to some place several hundred miles away where they have never been before.
I dare not say too much about any of the stories since they are mostly of the punchline sort. All very short. There is a beauty juxtaposed with hostility in the landscape, in the settlers nothing positive, more or less hidden resentments, jealousy, anger, hatred maybe ultimately at themselves for going out to empire, just protected on to who or whatever is nearest.
No surprise really that Lessing turned up as an angry young woman in post war London.
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Read information about the authorBoth of her parents were British: her father, who had been crippled in World War I, was a clerk in the Imperial Bank of Persia; her mother had been a nurse. In 1925, lured by the promise of getting rich through maize farming, the family moved to the British colony in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Like other women writers from southern African who did not graduate from high school (such as Olive Schreiner and Nadine Gordimer), Lessing made herself into a self-educated intellectual.
In 1937 she moved to Salisbury, where she worked as a telephone operator for a year. At nineteen, she married Frank Wisdom, and had two children. A few years later, feeling trapped in a persona that she feared would destroy her, she left her family, remaining in Salisbury. Soon she was drawn to the like-minded members of the Left Book Club, a group of Communists "who read everything, and who did not think it remarkable to read." Gottfried Lessing was a central member of the group; shortly after she joined, they married and had a son.
During the postwar years, Lessing became increasingly disillusioned with the Communist movement, which she left altogether in 1954. By 1949, Lessing had moved to London with her young son. That year, she also published her first novel, The Grass Is Singing, and began her career as a professional writer.
In June 1995 she received an Honorary Degree from Harvard University. Also in 1995, she visited South Africa to see her daughter and grandchildren, and to promote her autobiography. It was her first visit since being forcibly removed in 1956 for her political views. Ironically, she is welcomed now as a writer acclaimed for the very topics for which she was banished 40 years ago.
In 2001 she was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in Literature, one of Spain's most important distinctions, for her brilliant literary works in defense of freedom and Third World causes. She also received the David Cohen British Literature Prize.
She was on the shortlist for the first Man Booker International Prize in 2005. In 2007 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
(Extracted from the pamphlet: A Reader's Guide to The Golden Notebook & Under My Skin, HarperPerennial, 1995. Full text available on www.dorislessing.org).
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