By Ruth Whittaker
An exam of Lessing's paintings and a dialogue of her significant subject matters - colonialism, politics, feminism, the character of artwork, insanity and goals, prophecy and sufism. the writer additionally discusses Lessing's serious reception and present prestige, in addition to her contribution to post-modernist fiction.
General Editor's Preface
1 heritage and Influences
2 The Colonial Legacy
3 the youngsters of Violence
4 The Golden Notebook
5 insanity, goals and Prophecy
6 Canopus in Argos: Archives
7 go back to Realism
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Additional resources for Doris Lessing (Modern Novelists)
A civilization is destroyed only when its gods are destroyed. The Christians, not daring to attack the Empire head on, waylaid its religion. They let themselves be persecuted only to be able to fulminate against it all the more effectively, in order to satisfy their irrepressible appetite for execration. How wretched they would have been had no one deigned to promote them to the rank of victims! Everything in paganism, including toleration, exasperated them. Strong in their certainties, they could not understand resignation to likelihood, in the pagan manner, nor adherence to a worship whose priests, mere magistrates appointed to the perfunctory forms of ritual, imposed upon no one the burden of sincerity.
More prudently, pagan antiquity put man in his place. When Tacitus wonders if events are ruled by eternal laws or if they come about by chance, he manages to avoid answering, he leaves the question open; and this indecision nicely expresses the general feeling of the ancients. More than anyone, the historian, faced with that mixture of constants and aberrations out of which the historical process is composed, is necessarily led to oscillate between determinism and contingency, accident and law, physics and fortune.
It is not likely he will never come forth again: there is no longer anyone to deliver on the surface or in the depths of the earth. ” Since it is granted that the gods are true without distinction, why stop halfway, why not preach them all? That would be, on the Church’s part, a supreme accomplishment: she would perish bowing before her victims. There are signs to indicate she is not unaware of the temptation. Thus, after the example of the ancient temples, the Church would make it a point of honor to collect the divinities, the derelicts, from everywhere.