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Original Essays | August 21, 2014

Richard Bausch: IMG Why Literature Can Save Us



Our title is, of course, a problem. "Why Literature Can Save Us." And of course the problem is one of definition: what those words mean. What is... Continue »
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Time Bites: Views and Reviews

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Time Bites: Views and Reviews Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The only collection of literary essays and criticism
by one of the most distinguished writers of our time

Toward the end of his long life, Goethe said that he had only just learned how to read. In this collection of the very best of Doris Lessing's essays — never before published in book form — we are treated to the wisdom and keen insight of a writer who has herself learned, over the course of a brilliant career spanning more than half a century, to read the world differently. From imagining the secret sex life of Tolstoy to the secrets of Sufism, from reviews of classic books to commentaries on world politics, these essays span an impressive range of subjects, cultures, periods, and themes, yet they are remarkably consistent in one key regard: Lessing's clear-eyed vision and clearly expressed prose. This is a book about books and writers — Stendhal and Muriel Spark, Pride and Prejudice, de Beauvoir and Ecclesiastes, Virginia Woolf — but in its breadth and precision, Time Bites is also a map of the human spirit, of our hopes, fears, and basic needs; and on a more personal level, a map of the wonderful, searching mind of one of our greatest living writers.

Review:

"Arguably the grande dame of English letters — the list of her published works comes to 60-plus — Lessing has always been outspoken about literature, politics and social issues. The 65 essays and book reviews collected here range over those topics and others, all declaimed in Lessing's brisk, wry voice and articulated with pragmatic intelligence. Her literary reviews always amplify the book at hand; the pieces on Virginia Woolf, Leo Tolstoy and Jane Austen resonate with fresh insight. Her enthusiastic reconsiderations of authors who are little read today, including Olive Schreiner, George Meredith, A.E. Coppard and Walter de la Mare, may pique readers' curiosity. Another obscure book, about an American prostitute, comes to light in the fascinating 'The Maimie Papers.' Six essays discuss the writer Idries Shah and his books about the mysteries and consolations of Sufism, which, Lessing claims, were 'like a depth charge' and fulfilled all her philosophical and spiritual needs. Not every reader will be convinced. There's a tirade against Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (Rhodesia was Lessing's homeland) and a coruscating indictment of American complacency before 9/11. The main theme, whether addressed overtly or underlying her literary criticism, is the indispensable place of books in the life of an educated person and an enlightened culture. Hers is a clarion call." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Doris Lessing is one of the most celebrated and distinguished writers of our time. Her most recent books include The Sweetest Dream, The Grandmothers, and the two volumes of her autobiography, Under My Skinand Walking in the Shade. She has recently been awarded the David Cohen Memorial Prize for British Literature, Spain's Prince of Asturias Prize, and the S. T. Dupont Golden PEN Award for a Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature, as well as a whole host of other prestigious international awards. She lives in north London.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060831400
Subtitle:
Views and Reviews
Author:
Lessing, Doris
Author:
Lessing, Doris May
Author:
Lessing, Doris
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
General
Subject:
Books
Subject:
Literature
Subject:
Books & Reading
Subject:
General Literary Criticism & Collections
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20051129
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.21 in 22.56 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Time Bites: Views and Reviews Used Hardcover
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Product details 384 pages HarperCollins Publishers - English 9780060831400 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Arguably the grande dame of English letters — the list of her published works comes to 60-plus — Lessing has always been outspoken about literature, politics and social issues. The 65 essays and book reviews collected here range over those topics and others, all declaimed in Lessing's brisk, wry voice and articulated with pragmatic intelligence. Her literary reviews always amplify the book at hand; the pieces on Virginia Woolf, Leo Tolstoy and Jane Austen resonate with fresh insight. Her enthusiastic reconsiderations of authors who are little read today, including Olive Schreiner, George Meredith, A.E. Coppard and Walter de la Mare, may pique readers' curiosity. Another obscure book, about an American prostitute, comes to light in the fascinating 'The Maimie Papers.' Six essays discuss the writer Idries Shah and his books about the mysteries and consolations of Sufism, which, Lessing claims, were 'like a depth charge' and fulfilled all her philosophical and spiritual needs. Not every reader will be convinced. There's a tirade against Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (Rhodesia was Lessing's homeland) and a coruscating indictment of American complacency before 9/11. The main theme, whether addressed overtly or underlying her literary criticism, is the indispensable place of books in the life of an educated person and an enlightened culture. Hers is a clarion call." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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