"Alone in a landscape": Lessing's African stories remembered

Walder, Dennis (2008). "Alone in a landscape": Lessing's African stories remembered. Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 43(2) pp. 99–115.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0021989408091234


In many colonial and post-colonial writers there is a dialectic between different forms of nostalgia that avoids the bad faith assumed by those (like Fredric Jameson) who denounce nostalgia as a de-historicising trend. From Doris Lessing's first 'African Stories' onwards, she suggests that the mythic Africa of her childhood, is at once a place of pain and suffering, and yet also th source of something that transcends, as it helps to put inot perspective, the human condition. As Mara and Dann shows, a nostalgia for the future appeasrs in her later work, as part of a sometimes fruitless search for new perspectives upon her past evident in The Grass is Singing and the Martha Quest series, as it is in The Golden Notebook and, most poignantly, 'The Old Chief Mshlanga'.

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