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Time bites : views and reviews /

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: HarperCollins, 2005
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SUMMARY

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 by Booklist Review

Lessing has been prolific for decades, writing diverse novels, short stories, plays, nonfiction, and autobiographies. She is also a superb essayist: lucid, wise, knowledgeable, and witty. Most of her conversational, fast-moving, often wry inquiries into literature, politics, and ethics were originally published in England, hence little known in America, a lack redressed in this generous and pleasurable collection. Knowing books as intimately as she does, and caring deeply about reading and writing, Lessing pens critical essays that are vibrant and illuminating, with quotable lines on every page. She writes of cats, censorship, Sufism, the exhilaration of rereading Stendhal, book hunger in African villages, and the nature of memory. Lessing revs up readers' love for books, observes that the voices of common sense are always softer than the noisy rhetorics of extremism, and, in one of her more contemplative pieces, Problems, Myths, and Stories, considers how intrinsic storytelling is to humanness, even as education loosens its connection to great literature, and the art of reading is altered by new technologies and expectations. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2005 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly 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. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Could this really be the first collection of literary essays from the redoubtable Lessing, as it's billed? Tune in for a brilliant reading of everything from Tolstoy to Sufism. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
AUTHOR NOTES

Doris Lessing was born in Kermanshah, Persia (later Iran) on October 22, 1919 and grew up in Rhodesia (the present-day Zimbabwe). During her two marriages, she submitted short fiction and poetry for publication. After moving to London in 1949, she published her first novel, The Grass Is Singing, in 1950. She is best known for her 1954 Somerset Maugham Award-winning experimental novel The Golden Notebook. Her other works include This Was the Old Chief's Country, the Children of Violence series, the Canopus in Argos - Archives series, and Alfred and Emily. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 2001 Prince of Asturias Prize in Literature, the David Cohen British Literature Prize, and the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature. She died on November 17, 2013 at the age of 94.

(Bowker Author Biography)


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