chapter  Chapter One
38 Pages

The Tellers

WithLinda E. Chown

Doris Lessing is assessing for herself the political differences with her father, the “fight to the death” with her mother over conduct and being a woman. Most likely Lessing went to London to escape being asphixiated in the personal and a one-dimensional “masculine protest.” Though she shuns political involvement, then she set out for London with hopes of experiencing on a large scale the vitality and intense purity of ideas already experienced in Salisbury. Lessing confronted the pervasive influence of what she calls the “contemporary ‘package’” or “packet” and looked at what that focus leaves out of living. Lessing and Martin Gaite’s backgrounds echo each other’s uncannily. To write about Lessing and Martin Gaite means tackling the thorny issue of freedom; doing so means first agreeing about what the term might mean. Lessing and Martin Gaite’s relations with and understanding of language reveal more than anything who they are as people and artists.