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Lessing, Doris

  • By: Lamia Tayeb
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Doris Lessing is one of the most prominent English novelists of the 20th century; her recent writings and Nobel Prize Award in 2007 take her well into the 21st century with a long and rich fictional production. Motherhood is an almost-constant element of her character or characters' relationships; in particular, the agonistic mother-daughter relationship is a recurrent pattern in her novels and short stories. Apart from the influence of her own life experience (her embattled, acrimonious relationship with her mother, Emily Tyler, during her early life on an African farm in southern Rhodesia), Lessing's preoccupation with mother-daughter relationships is part of a feminist self-consciousness and a 20th-century female quest for freedom and self-fulfillment. The novels and short stories present different perspectives on motherhood, varying from ...

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