2007 : Doris Lessing

2007 : Doris Lessing

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“that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”



October 22, 1919

Place of birth


Kermanshah, Persia







Notable award(s)


Nobel Prize in Literature 2007


Doris May Tayler was born in Persia (Iran today) in 1919. His father, bank employee, was seriously wounded during the First World War and is reduced by one member. His mother, a nurse, lost the man she loved [ref. necessary]. She is only six years old when his family settled in 1925, Southern Rhodesia (then British colony) in the hope of instant wealth through the cultivation of corn, tobacco and grains. Inmate of an institute run by Catholic nuns on it wrong, it is also in constant opposition with his mother. She is leaving school at fifteen years working as an au pair then eighteen years as switchboard operator at Salisbury (the ancient capital of Southern Rhodesia). In 1938, she began to write novels while exercising several jobs to earn a living. She also prepares parallel new very short and small stories. It also sells some two to magazines in South Africa. At 19 the following year, she marries an official: Frank Wisdom, which she has two children: John and Jean leave it in 1943 after meeting a German citizen, Communist and Jewish exile: Gottfried Lessing that she married in second wedding in 1945. In 1947, the couple gave birth to a son, Peter. Again divorced, she left for London in 1949 with her young son and the manuscript of won from the bush (The Grass is singing) in his luggage, accepted by the first publisher to which it applies. The success of the book, published in 1950, allows him to give up a job as a secretary found to meet his needs. In 1951, she published a collection of short stories from his African experience: New African (This was the Old Chief’s Country) followed by five autobiographical works of inspiration, published between 1952 and 1969 and grouped under the title: Les Enfants de la violence. Like many intellectuals, artists and British writers of his generation, Lessing was politically engaged and active. In 1952 it adheres to the Communist Party leaves it in 1956 following the intervention of Soviet tanks in Budapest and after the twentieth congress. His political disillusionment read in Retreat to Innocence (1956) and especially in The Golden Book (1962), now recognized as his masterpiece. She talks about the different phases of its revolutionary hopes dashed. The book is also the writer of an icon of feminism world without it “has never wanted”. In 1956, after a stay in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland where it interrogates journalist as the premier South Rhodesian Garfield Todd and the Prime Minister Godfrey Huggins, she was finally forbidden to stay in the federation and South Africa. The descent into hell (Briefing for a descent into Hell, 1971) heralds a new direction in career Lessing who abandons the kind of autobiographical testimony to approach the banks of a visionary literature, understanding the concept of “faith” and the mystery of the human psyche. Buoyed by an imaginary dark, tinged with mysticism and occultism, the book focuses on Sufism, religion that the author had begun to study in the 60s. In this novel, it moves away from the real world to explore the mental and psychological world of a man suffering from amnesia, Charles Watkins, which puts into question the future of humanity and the future of the planet. This question leads logically to science fiction and the theme of human survival and evolution of the Earth, pushed to its climax in Shikasta and in the four volumes that follow, grouped under the title General: Canopus in Argos: Archives (Canopus in Argos: Archives, 1979-80). In 1983 and 1984, it engages in a fraud literary publishing under the pseudonym Jane Somers two novels rejected by his publisher usual: Diary of a neighbor (Diary of a Good Neighbor) and if old age could (If the Old Could), focusing on the problems of old age, loneliness, melancholy, of nostalgia, disease and death. Both mark his return to realism, confirmed a year later by The Terrorist (1985). The Fifth Child (The Fifth Child, 1986) is a veiled critique of contemporary society: in families “normal” consists of a couple who loves relatively low, a child born terribly violent. Parents and other kids are torn between devotion and repulsion for this kid. The end of the book – uncertain – is an open question on the fate of violence in our societies. In 1982, 1988 and 1991, Lessing was returned to Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe become. During his first trip, she found her brother before it n’emigre permanently in South Africa [6]. In 1995, she noted the deteriorating social situation of the country, but is still confidence in President Robert Mugabe. In 1995, aged 76 years, she visited South Africa to see her daughter, her grandchildren and promote his autobiography. In the early 2000s, it would take for the first time the brutal regime of Mugabe. It is then again declared “undesirable” in Zimbabwe. In 2001, at a conference at the Festival of the Book of Edinburgh, she engages in a violent charge against feminists who had yet celebrated years ago. She describes indeed women become horrible with men “. Thus, as it “after a revolution, many women have fourvoyees have in fact nothing. By dogmatism. For lack of historical analysis. By renouncing the thought. For lack dramatic comedy “. Author of a work of considerable nearly sixty titles concentrating novels, plays, poems, stories and autobiographical stories, Doris Lessing especially fascinated by the variety of topics that explores the diversity of genres in which she illustrated. Prolific and eclectic writer has always refused to be trapped in straitjacket somewhere whatsoever and is of first order in contemporary British literature where it appears as the privileged witness of his time and as a moral, pointing Finger society in which it scans tirelessly excesses, shortcomings and abuses both in the political, ideological and ethical. On 11 October 2007, it is assigned, almost 88 years, the Nobel Prize in Literature. It therefore becomes the eleventh woman and the oldest writer to receive this honor. Often cited on lists of the Swedish Academy where she was, before they disappear, as a favorite, Doris Lessing was shopping when the announcement of his coronation and was prevented by the mass of journalists who had ameutee outside his home.


Works in English:

  • The Grass is Singing – London : M. Joseph, 1950 ; New York : Crowell, 1950

  • This was the Old Chief’s Country – London : M. Joseph, 1951 ; New York : Crowell, 1952

  • Martha Quest – London : M. Joseph, 1952 – (Children of Violence; 1)

  • Five : Short Novels – London : M. Joseph, 1953

  • A Proper Marriage – London : M. Joseph, 1954 – (Children of Violence; 2)

  • A Retreat to Innocence – London : M. Joseph, 1956 ; New York : Prometheus, 1959

  • The Habit of Loving – London : MacGibbon & Kee, 1957 ; New York : Crowell, 1958

  • Going Home – London : M. Joseph, 1957 ; New York : Ballantine, 1968

  • A Ripple from the Storm – London : M. Joseph, 1958 ; New York : Simon & Schuster, 1966 – (Children of Violence; 3)

  • Fourteen Poems – Northwood : Scorpion Press, 1959

  • In Pursuit of the English : a Documentary – London : MacGibbon & Kee, 1960 ; New York : Simon & Schuster, 1961

  • Play with a Tiger : a Play in Three Acts – London : M. Joseph, 1962

  • The Golden Notebook – London : M. Joseph, 1962 ; New York : Simon & Schuster, 1962

  • A Man and Two Women – London : MacGibbon & Kee, 1963 ; New York : Simon & Schuster, 1963

  • Martha Quest and A Proper Marriage – New York : Simon & Schuster, 1964

  • African Stories – London : M. Joseph, 1964 ; New York : Simon & Schuster, 1965

  • Landlocked – London : MacGibbon & Kee, 1965 ; New York : Simon & Schuster, 1966 – (Children of Violence; 4)

  • A Ripple from the Storm and Landlocked – New York : Simon & Schuster, 1966

  • The Black Madonna – London : Panther, 1966

  • Winter in July – London : Panther, 1966

  • Particularly Cats – London : M. Joseph, 1967 ; New York : Simon & Schuster, 1967

  • The Four-Gated City – London : MacGibbon & Kee, 1969 ; New York : Knopf, 1969

  • Briefing for a Descent into Hell – London : Cape, 1971 ; New York : Knopf, 1971

  • The Story of a Non-Marrying Man and Other Stories – London : Cape, 1972 – Republ. as The Temptation of Jack Orkney and Other Stories – New York : Knopf, 1972

  • Collected African stories. Vol. 1, This was the Old Chief’s Country – London : M. Joseph, 1973

  • Collected African stories. Vol. 2, The Sun Between Their Feet – London : M. Joseph, 1973

  • The Summer Before the Dark – London : Cape, 1973 ; New York : Knopf, 1973

  • The Memoirs of a Survivor – London : Octagon, 1974 ; New York : Knopf, 1975

  • Stories – New York : Knopf, 1978

  • To Room Nineteen : Collected Stories Volume One – London : Cape, 1978

  • The Temptation of Jack Orkney : Collected Stories Volume Two – London : Cape, 1978

  • Shikasta : Re: Colonised Planet 5 – London : Cape, 1979 ; New York : Knopf, 1979 – (Canopus in Argos: Archives; 1)

  • The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five – London : Cape, 1980 ; New York : Knopf, 1980 – (Canopus in Argos: Archives; 2)

  • The Sirian Experiments – London : Cape, 1981 ; New York : Knopf, 1981 – (Canopus in Argos: Archives; 3)

  • The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 – London : Cape, 1982 ; New York : Knopf, 1982 – (Canopus in Argos: Archives; 4)

  • Documents Relating to the Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire – London : Cape, 1983 ; New York : Knopf, 1983 – (Canopus in Argos: Archives; 5)

  • The Diary of a Good Neighbour – London : M. Joseph, 1983 ; New York : Knopf, 1983

  • If the Old Could – London: M. Joseph, 1984 ; New York : Knopf, 1984

  • The Diaries of Jane Somers – London : M. Joseph, 1984 ; New York : Knopf, 1984

  • The Good Terrorist – London : Cape, 1985 ; New York : Knopf, 1985

  • Prisons We Choose to Live Inside – London : Cape, 1987 ; New York : Harper & Row, 1987

  • The Wind Blows Away Our Words – London : Picador, 1987 ; New York : Vintage, 1987

  • The Fifth Child – London : Cape, 1988 ; New York : Knopf, 1988

  • The Real Thing : Stories and Sketches – Republ. as London Observed : Stories and Sketches – London : HarperCollins, 1992

  • African Laughter : Four Visits to Zimbabwe – London & New York : HarperCollins, 1992

  • Shadows on the Wall of the Cave : a talk by Doris Lessing delivered 19 January 1994 – London : The British Library, 1994

  • Conversations / edited by Earl G. Ingersol – Princeton, N.J. : Ontario Review Press, 1994

  • A Small Personal Voice : Essays, Reviews, Interviews / Edited by Paul Schlueter – London : Flamingo (HarperCollins), 1994

  • Under My Skin : Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949 – London & New York : HarperCollins, 1994

  • Spies I Have Known and Other Stories – Glasgow : Collins Educational, 1995

  • Playing the Game – London : HarperCollins, 1995

  • Love, Again – London : Flamingo, 1996 ; New York : HarperCollins, 1996

  • Play with a Tiger, and Other Plays – London : Flamingo, 1996

  • Walking in the Shade : Volume Two of My Autobiography, 1949-1962 – London & New York : HarperCollins, 1997

  • Mara and Dann : an Adventure – London & New York : HarperCollins, 1999

  • Ben, in the World – London & New York : HarperCollins, 2000

  • The Sweetest Dream – London : Flamingo (HarperCollins), 2001 ; New York : HarperCollins, 2002

  • On Cats – London : Flamingo (HarperCollins), 2002

  • The Grandmothers : Four Short Novels – London : Flamingo (HarperCollins), 2003 ; New York : HarperCollins, 2004

  • Time Bites : Views and Reviews – London : Fourth Estate, 2004 ; New York : HarperCollins, 2004

  • The Story of General Dann and Mara’s Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog – London : Fourth Estate (HarperCollins), 2005 ; New York : HarperCollins, 2006

  • The Cleft – London : Fourth Estate (HarperCollins), 2007 ; New York : HarperCollins, 2007

  • Alfred & Emily – London : Fourth Estate, 2008


  • Brewster, Dorothy, Doris Lessing – New York : Twayne, 1965

  • Schlueter, Paul, The Novels of Doris Lessing – Carbondale : Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1973

  • Doris Lessing : Critical Studies / ed. by Annis Pratt and L.S. Dembo – Madison : Wisconsin Press, 1974

  • Thorpe, Michael, Doris Lessing’s Africa – London : Evans, 1978

  • Holmquist, Ingrid, From Society to Nature : a Study of Doris Lessing’s Children of Violence – Goteborg : Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 1980

  • Notebooks/Memoirs/Archives : Reading and Rereading Doris Lessing / ed. by Jenny Taylor – Boston, Mass. : Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982

  • Doris Lessing / edited by Eve Bertelsen – Johannesburg : McGraw-Hill, cop. 1985

  • Fishburn, Katherine, The Unexpected Universe of Doris Lessing : a Study in Narrative Technique – Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1985

  • Doris Lessing / edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom. – New York : Chelsea House, 1986

  • Doris Lessing : the Alchemy of Survival / edited by Carey Kaplan and Ellen Cronan Rose – Athens, Ohio : Ohio Univ. Press, cop. 1988

  • Greene, Gayle, Doris Lessing : the Poetics of Change – Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, cop. 1994

  • Rowe, Margaret Moan, Doris Lessing – London : Macmillan, 1994

  • Galin, Muge, Between East and West : Sufism in the Novels of Doris Lessing – Albany, NY: State Univ. of New York Press, 1997

  • Putting the Questions Differently : Interviews with Doris Lessing 1964-1994 / Edited by Earl G. Ingersoll – London : Flamingo, 1996

  • Klein, Carole, Doris Lessing : a Biography – London : Duckworth, 2000

  • Lessing, Doris, Doris Lessing : Conversations / edited by Earl G. Ingersoll. – Princeton, N.J. : Ontario Review Press, 2000

  • Bucher, Britta, A Wordless Statement : die Rolle der Darstellung in Doris Lessings Space-fiction – Frankfurt am Main : Peter Lang, 2002


1954: Somerset Maugham Award.

1976: Prix Medicis etranger.

1981: Austrian State Prize for European Literature.

1982: Shakespeare-Preis der Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F. V. S., Hamburg.

1986: W. H. Smith Literary Award.

1987: Palermo Prize.

1987: Premio Internazionale Mondello.

1989: Premio Grinzane Cavour.

1995: James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography.

1995: Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

1999: Premi Internacional Catalunya.

1999: Order of the Companions of Honour.

2000: Companion of Literature of the Royal Society of Literature.

2001: David Cohen British Literary Prize.

2001: Premio Principe de Asturias.

2002: S.T. Dupont Golden PEN Award.

2007: Nobel Prize in Literature.


Excerpt from The Grass is Singing

Mary Turner, wife of farmer Richard Turner in Ngesi, was found murdered yesterday morning on the porch of his home. The family’s houseboy, who admitted guilty of the crime, have been arrested. The motive has not yet been established. We suspect that he tried to get over valuables. It was not more. People across the country who read the notice with its sensational title must have felt a shock of anger, mixed with something that most closely resembled satisfaction, as if they had received confirmation of a belief that if something they long expected had occurred. When the natives steal, murder or rape, as whites feel that way. Browse the further in the newspaper and read something else. But people in the neighborhood, who knew the spouses Turner in appearance or by all who heard rumors about them for many years, read the notice again. Many must have been clipped from it, put it among old letters or between the leaves of a book and saved it as an omen or as a warning, and sometimes looked at the yellowed paper with the closed, secretive faces. For they spoke not of the murder with neighbors and acquaintances, it was the weirdest with it. It was as if they had a sixth sense which informed them of everything they needed to know, despite the fact that the three persons who were able to tell not said anything. The murder is simply not discussed. “What a dismal history”, could anyone complain, and some party faces became cautious and vigilant. “Yes, indeed, obeyed the answer – and that was all. It was as if there was a tacit agreement that case, Turner would be hushed up, that there was gossip about it. Yet it was a rural district where the white families lived dispersed and rarely met and hung the following contact with their white neighbors. They wanted to talk and discuss, all in their mouths at each other, and get the most of an hour’s companion before they returned to their farms, where the weeks on end just saw the family and the black servants faces. It is normal that the murder had been discussed for months, it should have been a subject that people gratefully taken advantage of. For an outsider, it could perhaps look as if the energetic Charlie hay had traveled from farm to farm in the district to tell people to shut up, but it was something that would never have occurred to him in. He seems to have acted instinctively, without conscious planning (and he killed not a single error). The most interesting of the whole thing was this silence, oblivious agreement. All behaved like a flock of birds which communicate with each other – in each case, it seems so – through some kind of telepathy. Long before the murder accused people on Mary and Dick Turner with the hard indifferent voices that you use when talking about ORIGINAL, lawlessness and those who have gone into voluntary exile. Mr and Mrs Turner was unpopular, even though few of their neighbors had met them or even seen them on hold. What was there to dislike about? They were simply for themselves, it was everything. They never were seen on some of the local dance events or major festivals and bazaars or ridtavlingar. They must have had something to the joke to, so sensing. They had no right to isolate itself in this way, it was a slap in the face of all the other; what had been the way to be so proud of? It could be really wonder! As they lived! And that little box to the house – it could possibly excuse them if they lived there temporarily, but as usual residence … Even with some natives (fixed, thank God, not many) had as good house, it was not a good impression if they saw white people live that way. And so it was that someone used the phrase “poor white”. That caused concern. At this time, there were no insurmountable gap between rich and poor – it was before the tobacco barons – but it was made clear distinction between the different ethnic groups. The small circle of africa undertake lived his own life, and the Brits did not care about them. “Poor white” South Africa was committed, never Britons. But anyone who said that the spouses Turner was “poor white” was on it. What was the difference? What was a poor white? It was about how you lived, what standard they had. The one who was taken to the couple Turner would belong to the category of poor whites was a crowd of kids. There were arguments that did not respond, but people still thought of them as poor whites. To do so would have been to betray their own. Mr and Mrs Turner was, after all, British. People in the neighborhood saw them, therefore, in accordance with the esprit the corps, which is the primary rule in all social life in South Africa, but Dick and Mary themselves did not bother. They realized clearly not need esprit the corps, it was the real reason why they were unpopular. The more you think about the case, the more the more it becomes. Not the murder but people’s feelings about it, the way they feel sorry for Dick Turner and feel indignation to Mary, as if she were something unpleasant and UNAPPETIZING, and as if it had been right for her to be murdered. But they ask no questions. They must, for example, have wondered who the “special employee” was. Someone in the neighborhood must have sent the notice, for it was not written in newspaper language. But who?

Presentation Speech:

Presentation Speech by Per Wastberg, Writer, Member of the Swedish Academy, Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Literature, 10 December 2007.

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Esteemed Nobel Laureates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Doris Lessing belong to both literary history and to the living literature. She has helped to change the way we look at the world. Probably has no award winner had an extensive richer works behind. We roam with her in a large library where the sections are unmarked and any breakdown in genres are meaningless. Where there is life behind the wide and thin bokryggar who plot against each cataloging and try to order. She is linked to the 1800s tells the powerful tradition, but it is as textbooks in 1900-century patterns of behavior we can use her works – not least to ascertain how many thought and thought wrong during one of history’s most turbulent periods since the war succeeded each other, colonialism unmask and communism in Europe was defeated. She has revealed the totalitarian temptations and demonstrated the strength of an undogmatic humanism. She has proved an almost limitless sentiments in the odd fate and an open-mindedness before any form of human behavior. Early hit her alarm about global environmental threats and poverty and corruption in third world. She has spoken highly of the quiet and for those in our century are refugees and the homeless – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. And that few, she embodied the role of women in the 1900s. She leads us to exclaim: “How could she know?” Because she was often the first to talk about what others have not talked about. Nothing is for her insignificant and petty. Therefore beat her in our hearts. But she resembles a continent that is not the first time, allow themselves to be explored, she has never found itself in the idea that the world is too complicated to be explained. She boldly highlights on mice stones and moldy linoleum rugs, skyggar not for nothing and, therefore, was the help and support for an infinite number. Like Frances in The Sweetest Dream she takes care of all, a hospitable jordemor, which subsequently opportunity to establish transparent medical records over their visitors. Doris Lessing writes that she breathes – to get closer to life trials and revelations. Without gloves she anticipates about our reality around an earthy root crop and baring experience we have not liked us to have access to. Through thousands of intimate details and lowercase – absolutely nothing to call them female? – She formulates the eternal questions of why and how we live. The autobiographical novels completed in the memoir from Rhodesia and London, Under My Skin and Walking in the Shade. They vibrate the sensuous life and has an unusual sharpness of the telescopic sight back, a disrespectful Examining social criticism and a fearless ability to look inwards. Lessing grappling with their parents, especially mother, into old age and ruthless images of motherhood. From the outset flows of ideas, movements and emotions through the girl and make her into a mercilessly time witness and a auktoritetstrotsare who sees that the emperor is naked. Walking in the Shade ending in 1962 when The Golden Notebook was a revival of a whole generation of women. In this Lessing’s most experimental novel is an ongoing battle between intellect and body, between the desire to create and lust to love. And identified barriers to the woman seeking both independence and closeness, because her freedom is, paradoxically incomplete without love, which in turn undermines it. Lessing shows how the conventions and other depressions on the road makes it difficult for sensitive and passionate women to live authentic and full, to discern the fifth truth. Emotional blind and vilsefor Lessing’s heroine and threaten their free will. Children of Violence called the five elements of Martha Quest, Lessing’s alter ego, which is on its way from a colonial existence to the British class hierarchy swept away by their dreams and primary drives. Mainly female readers have identified themselves with Martha Quest for freedom and hatred of hypocrisy and forljugenhet. As the poor in a rich society, as a woman among men, as white among blacks worked in Doris Lessing forward to becoming an independent intellectual. She reveals the temptation to make themselves refer to a utopia and reach a collective, and she is shaped the way a victory certain ideology can fool us with false doctrines of salvation. She became disillusioned CARTOGRAPHER who subscribed dystopier and disasters frightening clear. Lessing has an ability to ease going into and out of itself, intrude upon and make themselves invisible intrinsic. She often begins to regard their characters from the inside in order to move beyond them and on objective distance stripping them of their illusions. We can observe this eerie process in The Summer before the Dark, in the allegorical psycho-thrillern on monster child The Fifth Child and The Good Terrorist, a deep dive in the husockuperande extremvanster as parasites on the female victim will. In his late works unravel Lessing a wide range of values. Detention is friends and family networks, of course, cats and these group mothers and children nurses in every sense, taking responsibility, ever too much responsibility. And with this year’s novel The clefts lend her an PARABOLA from the dawn of humanity – before love was invented. There seems she ideally like to be, among hunters and gatherers, remote on contemporary culture that heralds disintegration and collapse. Doris Lessing’s epic landscape switches from honest realism to the symbolic fable, from sjalvinsiktens psychology to the fable and myth. With intuitions kameraoga, she has registered change nedgangstid from empire to the future karnvapenskovlade globe. Mara and Dann in ekofabeln of the same name escaping from a new ice age to an uncertain foothold in what was Africa. In its vast Canopus in Argos-suite lets her observer from another solar system to report on our civilization’s final phase. She moves freely across the imaginary of open space without raising its voice. Doomsday Sermon’s rhetoric, she refrains from. Since its African debut in 1950 with odesdramat The Grass Is Singing Lessing does not feel at any borders, moral, gender, habitual. Loneliness and social ostracism will remain a uniting theme. But when she occasionally draws a parallel between love and politics, it is because both represent a hope, we must seek to keep alive, whether it be worthwhile to live. Dear Doris Lessing, Age is no issue in literature. You are forever young and wise, old and rebellious. You are the least ingratiating of novelists. Your Bout with destiny and reality is heavy-weight class; nothing has induced you to leave the ring. Throughout the world, over the last 58 years, people have been warmed, provoked and part hand-in-hand by your books. You have helped us COPE with some of our time’s important concerns and you have created a document for the future Thursday carry forward the flavor of an age, its Prejudice and survival strategies, its everyday trifles and delights. Your life work and your great peony ring effort are not fulfilled today but crowned with a prize you have long deserved. The Swedish Academy sends you its warmest Congratulations.

Nobel Lecture:

December 7, 2007

On not winning the Nobel Prize

Posted on the doorstep, I look at, among clouds of dust flying in the direction where there is still forest on foot, is what I am told. Yesterday, I traveled by car miles of tree stumps and traces of fire-charred, where in 1956 the forest covered most beautiful I have ever seen. Completely destroyed. People need to eat, they must find fuel for their fires. This happens in the north-west of Zimbabwe in the early eighties, I visit a friend who was a school teacher in London. It is there to “help Africa”, according to the expression. It is a noble soul and idealistic; what he found here in this school, was shocked to the point of provoking him depression which he has struggled to recover. This school is no different from all schools built after Independence. It consists of four large cubes of brick, planted side by side directly into the dust, one two three four, with a half room at one end, the library. These classrooms have blackboards, but my friend keeps the chalks in his pocket or on the fly. There is no atlas, no earth in the establishment, no textbooks, no notebooks or pens ball, the library does not contain the kind of book What students read, only d huge cobblestones of American universities, even difficult to handle, discarded books libraries white police novels, or titles like A weekend in Paris or Felicity finds love. There is a goat trying to find enough to eat in a vestige of old grass. The director misappropriated funds from school and was suspended, raising the issue too familiar to us all, but usually in larger contexts: how is it that these people behave and then they need to know that everyone has an eye on them? My friend has no money because everyone – pupils and teachers – it borrows when it affects his salary and that nobody probably never repay. Students have between six and twenty-six years, because some who were not enrolled earlier are there to catch up. Some students go every morning many kilometers, it rain or shine, even crossing rivers. They can not do their homework because the villages have no electricity, and that does not easily in the light of embers. The girls are fetching water and cooking at home from school and then left the morning. While I am with my friend in his room, people come timidly, and all, all begging books. “Please, send us books when you go to London”. A man said: “We were taught to read, but we have no books.” Anyone without exception that I encountered begged me books. I was there a few days. The dust was flying, there was no water because the pumps had fallen down and women would again draw water from the river. Another idealistic teacher come to England was somewhat disgusted after seeing what it was like this “school”. The last day was the end of the quarter, villagers slaughtered their goat and they have charged in a pile of pieces and put in a baking dish large. This is the banquet of the long-awaited end of the quarter: a goat stew topped with semolina. While the party was in full swing, I took the road by car, retraversant traces and charred stumps of the old forest. I doubt that many of these students will be awarded prizes. The next day, I must give a lecture in a school in north London, a very good school, we all know the name. It is a school for boys, with beautiful buildings and gardens. These children are visited weekly personality. It is in the order of things that it may be the father, a parent or even the mother of a student. The arrival of a celebrity is normal for them. While I spoke, the school wrapped dust flying north-west of Zimbabwe is present in my memory. I look at these faces slightly strange to me face and tries to tell them what I saw the week before. Classrooms without books, without textbooks or atlases, or even a map pinned to the wall. A school where teachers beg that they send books to explain how to teach themselves with only ten or ten-eight-nine years I explain to these young English that everyone begs for books: S it pleases you, send us books. ” The person who gave a speech I am sure, must have known that when the faces he or she looks become inexpressive. His listeners do not hear what he or she says: no mental picture did not match what he or she explains. In this case, no picture of a school veiled by clouds of dust where water is in short supply and where the feast of quarter-end comes down to a freshly slaughtered goat and cooked in stew in a large fact – everything. Is it really impossible for these privileged students to imagine a poverty also naked? I do my best, they are polite. I am sure that in the batch, there will be that prices will one day. The conference is over. I then asked if teachers walk the library, if students read. And here in this privileged school, I always what I mean when I go to schools or universities. “You know how it happens, says a teacher. Many of our students have never read anything, and the library works only half. ” Yes, indeed, we know how it happens. We all know that. We are in a “culture fragmentation”, where our certainties estimated to be only a few decades are being questioned, and where it is common for young men and young women who received grades not know nothing in the world, did not read, do a specialty or another, computers, for example. This has happened to us, it is an amazing invention: computers, Internet and television. A revolution. This is not the first revolution that we, the human species, face. The revolution of printing, which was not only a matter of decades but has spread over much longer, transformed our world view and our ways of thinking. Reckless, we have accepted without reservation, as always, never ask: “What will it happen to us now with the invention of printing? “Similarly we never thought to ask:” How our lives, how our ways of thinking are they going to evolve with the newness of the Internet, which has seduced a whole generation to convert its nonsense, at point that even human beings all that is more reasonable to say that once hung, it is difficult to disconnect, and they are away to spend a whole day blogging, and so on. ? Very recently, all those grown tantinet was a respected knowledge, education and our general fund literature. While we all know that during this state of grace, people were often pretend to read, pretending to respect knowledge. But it is an established fact that the workers wanted to read. Libraries, institutes and faculties of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are there to give us proof. The reading, the books were formerly part of the general culture. Speaking to young people, their elders must measure how reading contributed to education of the individual, especially as the younger generations know so much less. And if children can not read because they do not read. This sad story is familiar to us all. But we do not know the end. We believe the old adage: “Reading gives fullness to man.” Forget the jokes about overeating – reading allows a man or a woman to fill, to be full (e) information, stories, all kinds of knowledge. However, we Westerners are not the only people in the world. Not so long ago, a friend who had visited Zimbabwe me about a village whose people had not eaten for three days but books and discussing ways to acquire them. On education. I am myself a small organization that started with the project to introduce books in the villages. A group of people, moreover, had gone on the ground in Zimbabwe. I reiterated that all the villages, unlike what was said, were full of people, teachers retired, others leave, children on holiday, old people. Having myself funded a small study on what Zimbabweans want to read, I discovered that the results were comparable to those of a Swedish study which I did not know existed. People want to read the same books that we Europeans novels of all kinds, science fiction, poetry, novels, plays, books practices, such as how to open a bank account. Not to mention the complete works of Shakespeare. The problem with the supply of villagers pounds just what they do not know what is available, so a book on the program as The Mayor of Casterbridge is popular because they know it is in store. Animal Farm, for obvious reasons, is the most popular of all novels. From the outset, our organization has been supported by Norway, then Sweden. Without such support, our reserves would be drained books. We have recovered books of all places and ways. You should know that a good paperback imported from England then the cost of one month’s salary in Zimbabwe: it was before the reign of terror instituted by Mugabe. Today, with inflation, it would amount to several years’ wages. But if we file a case of books in a village – keep in mind that a terrible shortage plaguing fuel – I can assure you that this fund will be greeted with tears. The library can be summed up in a plank on bricks underneath a tree. In less than a week flower literacy classes – those who can read mentor those who do not know – class citizenship. In a remote village, as there was no language novels in Tonga, two young people have attempted to writing novels in Tonga. There are six or seven major languages in Zimbabwe, and there are novels written in these languages. Novels violent, incestuous, full of crimes and murders. It is said that a people has the government it deserves, but I do not think this is true of Zimbabwe. And then we must remember that this respect and the desire for books comes, not the Mugabe regime, but one that preceded that of whites. It is an amazing phenomenon, this desire for books, and it manifests itself everywhere from Kenya to Cape of Good Hope. This has a link – unlikely – with a fact: I grew up practically in a mud hut with a thatched roof. This type of housing has always existed, wherever there are reeds or grass, a clay, pickets could serve as walls. In Saxon England, for example. That where I lived consisted of four parts, next to each other, and it was full of books. Not only my parents had carried books with them from England to Africa, but my mother commanded in England for his children. Books, who arrived in large packages wrapped in brown paper, made the joy of my youth. A mud hut, but full of books. Even today I receive letters from people living in villages that may not have electricity or running water, like our family in our mud hut in any length: “I will be writer too, they tell me, because I have the same kind of house you had. ” But the difficulty is there. No, this is not true. Writing, writers do not leave home empty of books. That difference is the challenge. I consulted the speeches of some of your recent winners. Take the magnificent Orhan Paumuk. He said that his father had five hundred pounds. His talent does not therefore came out of nothing, it was rooted in the great tradition. Take also V. S. Naipaul. He said that the Indian Vedas were close to the family memory. His father encouraged him to write. And when he settled in England, he attended the British Library. Thus, it has moved closer to the great tradition. Take John Coetzee yet. It was not only close to the great tradition, it was the tradition: he taught literature in Cape Town. And as I regret never having attended one of his lectures: not having been filed by this bold spirit and a wonderful courage. To write, to engage in literature, there must be an intimate relationship with libraries, books, with the Tradition. I have a friend originally from Zimbabwe. A black writer. He learned to read alone, the labels on jars of jam and boxes of canned fruit. He grew up in an area that I traveled by car, a black rural areas. The land is a mixture of sand and gravel, planted a few bushes down. The huts are poor, nothing comparable to good well-maintained huts of the richest. A school, but similar to the one I just described. He was educated by reading an old encyclopedia for children found on a garbage heap. At independence in 1980, there were a group of good writers in Zimbabwe, a nest of songbirds. They had been trained in the former Southern Rhodesia under white: for mission schools, the better. Zimbabwe does not writers. Not easily, not under Mugabe. All these writers did not have an easy way to be literate, much less to become writers. Learning to read labels on jars of jam and discarded encyclopaedias was not uncommon, I would say. And we are talking about people who thirst for culture at levels above their means and living in huts whipped children: an overworked mother, a daily struggle for food and clothing … Authors are born despite these difficulties. And then we must not forget that we were in Zimbabwe, a country conquered materially less than a century earlier. The grandparents of these people may have been storytellers for the oral tradition. In less than one or two generations, it is past stories included in the popular memory and transmitted orally to the printed text books. What feat! Books, literally torn to piles of garbage and litter the world of the white man. But a sheaf of papers is one thing, a book is another. I was sent several reports on the African scene editorial. Even in more privileged countries such as North Africa, with its different tradition, talk of a publishing scene is a dream of possibilities. Here I talk about books that were never written, writers who could not penetrate because publishers are absent. I spoke inaudible voice. It is impossible to estimate this great waste of talent, potential. But even before that stage of creating a book that demands a publisher, an advance, encouragement, something else is missing.

It is often asked to authors: “How do you write? With a word processor? An electric typewriter? a feather? by hand? “But the key question is:” Do you have space, this free space that should surround you when you write? “Within this space, which is close to a form of listening, attention, you will be words, words that tell your characters, ideas: inspiration. If a writer can not find this space, then poems and stories may be stillborn. When writers talk to each other, the object of their mutual issues has always related to this imaginary space, that other time: “You have found? You want? ” Now jumping to a scene apparently very different. We are in London, one of megacities. There is a new author. Cynically, we wonder whether it is beautiful. And if a man is he charismatic? Beautiful boy? We plaisantons, but this is not a joke. The new or revised course (e) in the world of letters is welcomed (e) all awash in perhaps the advances. The “buzz” of paparazzi fulfills his poor ears. The now celebrated or (e), applauded (e), walked (e) illico in the world. We, seniors, who have already seen, complain or the neophyte who has no idea what’s really going on. He or she is flattered (e) happy (e). But ask him after one year what he or she thinks. I already hear: “It’s the worst thing that could happen.” Some new authors who have received a great launch have stopped writing or not writing what they wanted, had intended to write. And the seniors, want to whisper those innocent ears: “Have you always your space? Your soul, only “place” is whom you need staff and where your inner voice can speak and where you can dream. You cling to it, do not let go! ” My mind is full of beautiful memories of Africa, I can revive and contemplate at leisure. The sunsets, gold, purple and orange, that invade the sky at night! The aromatic bushes of the Kalahari desert, flowers butterflies, moths and the bees! Or me sitting in the pale grass on the banks of the Zambezi River flowing dark and shiny, above which off all birds from Africa. Yes, elephants, giraffes, lions and the rest, there were plenty, but what about the night sky of a beautiful black, still virgin pollution, riddled with effervescent stars! Other memories come yet. A young African eighteen years perhaps, was in tears, planted in what will, he hopes his “library”. An American of way, having seen his empty library books, had sent a fund. The young man had taken out one by one with respect prior to repack in plastic. “But we object, these books have been sent to be read, see! – No, he answers. They saliraient. And where can I get others? “. This young librarian would like us to send books to England to serve as teaching material. “I have not gone further than college, argues he said. But I was never taught to teach. ” In a school where there were no textbooks, not even a stick of chalk to write on the blackboard, I saw a teacher to class to students aged six to eighteen years by moving rocks in the dust and chanting: “Two times two four …” and so on. I saw a girl of only twenty years perhaps, also devoid of textbooks, exercise books and ballpoint pens, my eyes I saw her teach the BA-BA by tracing letters in the ground with a stick, under a blazing sun and mid-dust. With these two examples, we witness the great thirst for education in Africa this anywhere in the Third World, or whatever name we give to the regions of the world where parents dream of a education for their children away from the misery. I imagine that you are somewhere in South Africa in an Indian store in an area poor in times of severe drought. People, especially women, are the tail, fitted with all kinds of receptacles for water. All afternoon, the store receives from nearby tanker truck of water, that precious commodity, and people waiting there. The Indian stands with the palms of hands flat on his counter he observed a black woman leaning over a large package of leaves that seem to have been ripped from a book. She reads Anna Karenina. She reads slowly, forming the words with his lips. The book seems to be difficult. It is a young woman with two young children clinging to her legs. She is pregnant. The Indian is distressed because the veil of his visit, normally white, yellow dust. From the dust still covers her breasts and her arms. This man suffers from these files buyers, all thirsty. There is not enough water for them, he is angry because he knows that people are dying of thirst there, behind the clouds of dust. His older brother had the time before, but he claimed vacation and went to the city, in fact quite bad shape because of drought. This man is curious. He asked the young woman: – What are you reading? – It spoke of Russia, “she says. – Do you know where is Russia? He barely knows himself. The young mother looks good in the face with dignity, even if it has eyes reddened by dust. – I was the best in my class. My teacher said I was the best. The young woman returns to its reading, she wants to finish his paragraph. The Indian postpones his gaze on both toddlers and tends to catch the arm of Fanta, but the mother stops net – The Fanta gives them even more thirsty. The Indian knows he should not, but it lowers the hand towards a large plastic bottle beside him, behind the counter and pouring water in two cups, it offers small. It does not escape him that their mother watching her children drink stirring mouth, it gives him a cup of water. Seeing him drink hurts the heart, as it is painfully thirsting. Now it tends his plastic bottle, it fills with water. The young mother and her children watch carefully so it does not waste a drop. She looks back on his book. The paragraph fascinates, who already reads slowly, and it reads. “With its sharp white scarf on his black hair in the middle of this band of children she shared the good heart joyful frolics, Varinka, while moved at the thought that a man who disliked him would probably not ask his hand, seemed more attractive than ever. In walking alongside him, Serge Ivanovich could not defend admire, to remember all the good he had heard say this charming person: it definitely felt for her this feeling that he had known that ‘once, once, in his early youth. The impression of joy that he caused the presence of Varenka was still growing: it had discovered a monster bolet whose hat was its huge edge over a foot very thin, he wanted to put it in the trash of the young daughter, but their eyes met, he noticed his cheeks on the redness of the joyful excitement, so it becomes cloudy and in turn sent him without a word, a smile too expressive. “* This strip of text printed on behind the counter with some old copies of magazines, newspapers mismatched pages filled with photos of girls in bikini. It is time for her to leave the haven of Indian shop and get started to travel eight kilometers separating from his village. Outside, the queues of women vociferent and complain. But the Indian press does not. He knows what it will cost this girl to go home with the children clinging to her skirts. It would give what piece of prose that seems both fascinate, but it can not take this match with his big belly understand there really something. And why a third perhaps Anna Karenina he failed here on the counter of a store India declined? That’s how things went. Some high-United Nations official, in this case, had bought a copy of the novel in a bookstore before you travel beyond seas and oceans. On board the plane, wedged in his seat business class, he tore the book into three parts. By this gesture, he watched his traveling companions, knowing he would be entitled to looks shocked, curious, but perhaps also fun. Once installed, his safety belt fastened, he launched the Cantonada: “I always do that when I’m a long journey. No one wants to take up a huge pad! The novel was a pocket, but we can not deny that this is a big book. Our man used to being listened when he spoke. “I do it, travel, confided he said. It is already difficult enough, today. “And as soon as the other passengers had settled in turn, he opened his piece of Anna Karenina to read it. When they looked at his hand, indiscreetly or not, they say, “No, but really it’s the only way to travel.” He knew the novel, he loved, and this mode of reading original pimenta pleasantly what was after all a classic. After arriving after a fragment of the book, he called the hostess to allocate chapters read his secretary, who was traveling in economy class. This small carousel raised great interest and convictions, certainly of curiosity, whenever a flap of the great Russian novel arrived in the rear of the aircraft, mutilated, but readable. After all, this clever way to read Anna Karenina produces its effect. Nobody should probably forget. Meanwhile, in our store Indian, the woman clinging to counter her young children suspended its skirts. She wears jeans, is a modern woman, but she donned above the heavy wool skirt, part of the traditional costume of his people: her children can easily grasp it, clinging to its thick folds. It takes a look grateful to the Indian, aware that he likes and complained, then clear the clouds of dust flying. Children have moved beyond tears, anyway its gorges are filled with dust. It’s hard, oh yes it’s hard to walk, not after not in the form of dust mounds misleading light under his feet. Hard, but she is accustomed to the harsh, right? The story she read in the Indian occupied his mind. She thinks: “Varinka like me with his white scarf, and she cares for children too. I could be this young girl. And the Russian, he likes and will ask him to marry her … – she had finished reading that single paragraph. Yes, does it, a man will get me too and take me away from that, he takes me with children, yes, he loves me and take care of me. ” She continues to walk. The bottle of water weighs on his shoulders. It still works. The children hear the water lap. At halfway, it marks a break, poses its burden. His children pleurnichent touching the bottle. She said she can not open it under penalty to let the dust. Unable to open before arriving at the house. – Wait, “she said to her children. Wait. It must pull itself together to resume its journey. It remains absorbed in thought. “My teacher told me that there was a library larger than the supermarket, a large building full of books. Despite the dust that flies in the face, the young woman smiles while walking. “I’m smart, does it. My teacher told me I was smart. The brightest of the school, she said. My grandchildren will be smart like me. I take them to the library, this house full of books, and they go to school, they are teachers … My teacher told me that I could be a professor too. My children go far from here to earn money. They live near the library and enjoy life. ” You can always wonder how this flap Russian novel has been able to finish the race on the counter of the store Indian. But that is another story, perhaps one day someone continuity there. Our poor young woman, she continues her way, supported by the thought of the water it will give her children once to itself in a little drink. It continues its path in the dust of a terrible drought in Africa. We are jaded, we in our world – this world if threatened. We are the champions of irony and cynicism. We hesitate to use certain words and ideas, as they are worn until the rope. But why not restore some words that have lost their power of expression? We have a wealth – a treasure – of literature, dating back to the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Everything is there, this wealth of literature, ready to be continually rediscovered by anyone who has the chance of getting it. A treasure. Imagine it had never existed. As we empty poor! We received share a legacy of languages, poems, stories, and it is not the type to risk of collapse. It is there, always. We have a legacy of stories, storytelling, transmitted by the old storytellers – we know the names of some but not all. This line of storytellers back to a clearing in the middle of the forest where a large fire burns and where the old shamans dance, singing, as our heritage of stories was born in fire, magic, the spirit world. And that is where he still kept today. Ask any modern storyteller, and he will tell you that there is always a time when it is affected by the fire of what we like to call inspiration, enthusiasm, and it goes back to birth of our species, fire, ice and high winds that have shaped us, we and our world. The storyteller is responsible for all of us, the maker of stories “still lurks in us. Suppose that our world is ravaged by war, the horrors that we can all imagine easily. Suppose floods submerge our cities, that sea level rises … The story will always be there because it is our imaginations which shape us, we are living, we create, for better or for worse. These are our stories we recreate – which we recreate – when we are torn, bruised and even destroyed. It is the storyteller, the maker of dreams, the maker of myths, which is our phoenix: it represents the best of ourselves and at the height of our creativity. This poor young woman who walks in the dust while dreaming of an education for his children, we believe it be better – we who are force-fed food with our cupboards full of clothes, and suffocating under the superfluous? Therefore, I am convinced this young girl and women who talked about books and education while they had not eaten for three days can still define us today.


The Good Terrorist

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