Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949

Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949

by Doris Lessing

"I was born with skins too few. Or they were scrubbed off me by...robust and efficient hands."The experiences absorbed through these "skins too few" are evoked in this memoir of Doris ing's childhood and youth as the daughter of a British colonial family in Persia and Southern Rhodesia Honestly and with overwhelming immediacy, ing maps the growth of her consciousness, her sexuality, and her politics, offering a rare opportunity to get under her skin and discover the forces that made her one of the most distinguished writers of our time.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Biography
  • Rating: 4.06
  • Pages: 448
  • Publish Date: September 1st 1995 by Harper Perennial
  • Isbn10: 0060926643
  • Isbn13: 9780060926649

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As might be expected, the first volume of Nobel-Prize-winning author Doris Lessings autobiography (covering her birth in Kermanshah, Persia, and her childhood, youth, and early adult yearsto the age of 30in Southern Rhodesia) is a stimulating read, often rewarding and wise, but occasionally frustrating, too. It considers the time before Lessings involvement with the Rhodesian Communist Party and her early, rather strangely cobbled marriages (to men she didnt love and who, likewise, had no great feeling for her). Lessing observes that children and grown-ups do not live in the same sensory world. Time passes differently for children, and what one experiences when young leaves the greatest impression. I think I was expecting more intensity in Lessings account of her adolescencei.e., a description of a burgeoning life of the mind (à la Simone de Beauvoir). Throughout the book she regularly returns to The Great War, which, she says, ruined her parents lives. Maude McVeagh, Lessings ferociously energetic, capable mother, who had defied her controlling and aspirational father to become a nurse, lost her great love, a doctor to the war. Maude nursed Alfred Tayler, Lessings father, in the London Free Hospital. After the war, Lessings father worked as a banker in Kermanshah and then Tehran for about five years, providing his status-conscious wife and two young children with something approximating a middle-class way of life. While I had a vague idea of the outline of Lessings life before reading this first volume of her autobiography, Ill admit that I was surprised by what she reveals about her marriages. Before long, knowing she was not going to stay in this life, Lessing ended up leaving him and her two young children. Lessing acknowledges that he was a generous and mostly reasonable man, albeit one with little tolerance for the subjects that engaged her: psychology, psychoanalysis, and the world of dreams, myths, and fairy tales. I was surprised to read of Lessings cavalier (even careless) attitude to conceiving and bearing children. When she tells her father she is having a third baby (with Gottfried, whom she has every intention of divorcing), Alfred wonders why shed do this, given that shes already abandoned two young children. As a healthy, fertile young woman living at a time when the population was still recovering from The Great Wars decimation, she did as Nature bid. Throughout the book, Lessing regularly takes the time to link key people and incidents in her life to the characters and events in her fiction.

Therefore, I found it formidable to write on her memoir since Ive been one of her readers living in another country who read it as my first encounter, in other words, time flies so I would like to say something to share with my Goodreads friends. 399-400) As for us common readers, I think, we could read to survive by means of how we should keep going on with the daily life, safe and sound. Incidentally, I came across and liked some unique sentences she wrote and, as far as I could recall, it was my first time to read them happily; I thought such sentences could be the outcome of her reflective/intuitive thinking, for instance: Words indeed have wings. These sentences are quite rarely heard or read anywhere, we can accept them for granted, at face value, and think they look simple with their own meanings. Therefore, reading for some unique sentences or even words would be satisfactorily sufficient for those who love reading.

Early in the book she discusses the problems of telling the truth about other people in her life: "I have known not a few of the famous, and even one or two of the great, but I do not believe it is the duty of friends, lovers, comrades, to tell all.

Gut gefallen hat mir dagegen, wie sie die Wahrhaftigkeit ihrer Autobiografie, die sich wandelnde Sichtweise auf Ereignisse ihres Lebens zu verschiedenen Zeitpunkten, reflektiert.

It was fascinating for me to read the story of a proper young girl who would later grow up to be a world-renowned author and Nobel laureate.

Kyydissä on vaikea pysyä mutta onneksi se ei ole tarpeenkaan, vaikutelmat, tunnelmat, ajatukset, mielipiteet, ajankuvat ja ihmiskuvaukset ovat aivan riittävästi. Odotan jatkoa mutta en taida jaksaa tarttua siihen aivan heti.

This autobiography feels very honest by the Nobel Laureate author, Doris Lessing. I have only read one book by Lessing before - the Golden Notebook - which I absolutely loved. And I remember as I read that, I thought, I bet this woman has had a life that is really interesting.

Soon she was drawn to the like-minded members of the Left Book Club, a group of Communists "who read everything, and who did not think it remarkable to read." Gottfried Lessing was a central member of the group; shortly after she joined, they married and had a son. During the postwar years, Lessing became increasingly disillusioned with the Communist movement, which she left altogether in 1954. In 2001 she was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in Literature, one of Spain's most important distinctions, for her brilliant literary works in defense of freedom and Third World causes. She also received the David Cohen British Literature Prize.