That a work of the imagination has to be really about some problem is, again, an heir of Socialist Realism. To write a story for the sake of storytelling is frivolous, not to say reactionary.

Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: British

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There were occasional cold moments when she thought that she must somehow, even now, check herself on the fatal slope towards marriage, somewhere at the back of her mind was the belief that she would never get married, there would be time to change her mind later. And then the thought of what would happen if she did chilled her.

A writer is the conscience of the world.

They have not yet evolved into an understanding of their individual selves as merely parts of a whole, first of all humanity, their own species, let alone achieving a conscious knowledge of humanity as part of Nature; plants, animals, birds, insects reptiles, and all these together making a small chord in the Cosmic Harmony.

I'm compulsive.

I do not think writers ought ever to sit down and think they must write about some cause, or theme, or something. If they write about their own experiences, something true is going to emerge.

But all the pressures go the other way, towards learning only what is immediately useful, what is functional. More and more the demand is for people to be educated to function in an almost certainly temporary stage of technology. Educated for the short term.

Anna directed the silent, compassionate thought towards her daughter: Well my poor girl, you'd better get used to it early, because you're going to have to live in a world full of it.

I stood looking down out of the window. The street seemed miles down. Suddenly I felt as if I'd flung myself out of the window. I could see myself lying on the pavement. Then I seemed to be standing by the body on the pavement. I was two people. Blood and brains were scattered everywhere. I knelt down and began licking up the blood and brains.

Sometimes I dislike women, I dislike us all, because of our capacity for not-thinking when it suits us; we choose not to think when we are reaching our for happiness.

You know, when I was a girl, the idea that the British Empire could ever end was absolutely inconceivable. And it just disappeared, like all the other empires.

Our old friend maturity again! Well, I'm not going to be bullied by that one.

The worst of a woman is that she expects you to make love to her, or to pretend to make love to her. —BARON CORVO.

I do have a sense, and I've never not had it, of how easily things can vanish.

I remember someone saying that the importance of any public man can be gauged by the number of mellifluous young men he has about him.