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Authors: Doris Lessing Quotes, Famous Doris Lessing Quotes, Quotations, Sayings
Related Quotes:  The Grass is Singing  The Golden Notebook
Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.
Doris Lessing
The Times, London, November 2003.
There is only one real sin, and that is to persuade oneself that the second-best is anything but the second-best.
Doris Lessing
The Golden Notebook.
All sanity depends on this: that it should be a delight to feel heat strike the skin, a delight to stand upright, knowing the bones are moving easily under the flesh.
Doris Lessing
The Golden Notebook.
It is terrible to destroy a person's picture of himself in the interests of truth or some other abstraction.
Doris Lessing
The Grass Is Singing.
When old settlers say 'one has to understand the country,' what thety mean is, 'You have to get used to our ideas about the native.'
Doris Lessing
The Grass is Singing.
What of October, that ambiguous month, the month of tension, the unendurable month.
Doris Lessing
Martha Quest.
In university they don't tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools.
Doris Lessing
Martha Quest.
If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.
Doris Lessing
Particularly Cats.
What is charm then? The free giving of a grace, the spending of something given by nature in her role as spendthrift ...something extra, superfluous, unnecessary, essentially a power thrown away.
Doris Lessing
Particularly Cats.
We do not know which of our silver products will be judged as gold by our successors, nor does it matter.
Doris Lessing
Accepting David Cohen prize for lifetime of excellence in writing, March 2001.
This world is run by people who know how to do things. They know how things work. They are equipped. Up there, there's a layer of people who run everything. But we — we're just peasants. We don't understand what's going on, and we can't do anything.
Doris Lessing
The Good Terrorist.
Parents should leave books lying around marked "forbidden" if they want their children to read.
Doris Lessing
The Times, London, November 2003.
The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.
Doris Lessing
The Sunday Times, London, May 1992.
Political correctness is the natural continuum from the party line. What we are seeing once again is a self-appointed group of vigilantes imposing their views on others. It is a heritage of communism, but they don't seem to see this.
Doris Lessing
The Sunday Times, London, May 1992.
That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way.
Doris Lessing
The Four-Gated City.
Literature is analysis after the event.
Doris Lessing
The Golden Notebook.
Laughter is by definition healthy.
Doris Lessing
The Summer Before the Dark.
Space or science fiction has become a dialect for our time.
Doris Lessing
The Guardian, London, November 1988.
What matters most is that we learn from living.
Doris Lessing
Quoted in Permission to Play: Taking Time to Review Your Smile (2003) by Jilly Murphy Long.
Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.
Doris Lessing
Quoted in Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing (2006) by Larry Chang.
Nonsense, it was all nonsense: this whole damned outfit, with its committees, its conferences, its eternal talk, talk, talk, was a great con trick; it was a mechanism to earn a few hundred men and women incredible sums of money.
Doris Lessing
The Summer Before the Dark.
You know, whenever women make imaginary female kingdoms in literature, they are always very permissive, to use the jargon word, and easy and generous and self-indulgent, like the relationships between women when there are no men around. They make each other presents, and they have little feasts, and nobody punishes anyone else. This is the female way of going along when there are no men about or when men are not in the ascendant.
Doris Lessing
New York Times Book Review, March 1980..
It can be considered a rule that the probable duration of an Empire may be prognosticated by the degree to which its rulers believe in their own propaganda.
Doris Lessing
The Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire.
In the writing process, the more the story cooks, the better. The brain works for you even when you are at rest. I find dreams particularly useful. I myself think a great deal before I go to sleep and the details sometimes unfold in the dream.
Doris Lessing
The New York Times, April 1984.
You can only learn to be a better writer by actually writing. I don't know much about creative writing programs. But they're not telling the truth if they don't teach, one, that writing is hard work and, two, that you have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life, to be a writer.
Doris Lessing
The New York Times, April 1984.
There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.
Doris Lessing
Quoted in Writers on Writing (1986) by Jon Winokur.
All one's life as a young woman one is on show, a focus of attention, people notice you. You set yourself up to be noticed and admired. And then, not expecting it, you become middle-aged and anonymous. No one notices you. You achieve a wonderful freedom. It's a positive thing. You can move about unnoticed and invisible.
Doris Lessing
Quoted in An Uncommon Scold (1989) by Abby Adams.
What they [critics of Lessing's switch to science fiction] didn't realize was that in science fiction is some of the best social fiction of our time.
Doris Lessing
Boston Book Review interview 1998.
With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one — but no one at all — can tell you what to read and when and how.
Doris Lessing
Index on Censorship March/April 1999.
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.
Doris Lessing
Quoted in NPR (National Public Radio) interview, October 2007, when she won Nobel Literature Prize.
This has been going on for 30 years. I've won all the prizes in Europe, every bloody one, so I'm delighted to win them all. It's a royal flush.
Doris Lessing
BBC, London, October 2007, on winning Nobel Literature Prize.
Oh Christ. I couldn't care less. ... I can't say I'm overwhelmed with surprise. I'm 88 years old and they can't give the Nobel to someone who's dead, so I think they were probably thinking they'd probably better give it to me now before I've popped off.
Doris Lessing
The Toronto Star, October 2007, on her Nobel Literature Prize win.
The Golden Notebook for some reason surprised people but it was no more than you would hear women say in their kitchens every day in any country. ... I was really astounded that some people were shocked.
Doris Lessing
Quoted in undated profile at BBC World Service.
Doris Lessing is a Persian-born British writer. She was born on October 22, 1919, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007.


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