Yay Doris Lessing!
Great news about Doris Lessing being named this year's Nobel Laureate in Literature. She's a true champion writer, and it's heartening to see this recognition finally, finally come her way.
I first came across Lessing in a graduate class at Indiana University, actually the last class taught by Dr. Mary Gaither. In that British novel survey, we finished up with The Golden Notebook, and even though, punk that I was, I thought the narrative could use some tightening (I so didn't get it), the really smart students did get her. Here, I'm thinking of Robyn Wiegman, my MFA buddy who didn't get that much respect in the creative writing program (not nearly as much as she deserved). But Mary figured out that Robyn was the real deal, and Robin proved it with a brilliant and beautiful treatment of the novel that was beyond me, truly. Of course, Robyn is now the kick-ass Director of Womens Studies at Duke University. My other favorite memory of Robyn was when she heckled me at a reading and I flipped her off--we were both pretty drunk. Sweet memories!
Anyway, I like to think of Robyn as being the kind of thinker that Lessing would admire, and if Lessing can touch someone as brilliant as Robyn back then, I knew Lessing was something. I didn't come back to Lessing until about 15 years later, reading her riveting, troubling, and troubled stories.