Canopus in Argos by Doris Lessing - review by C W E Bigsby

C W E Bigsby

Canopus in Argos

Canopus in Argos



Though born in what was then Persia, Doris Lessing was raised in Rhodesia, not leaving until she was twenty-five. In revolt against the political and racial assumptions of those around her, she, and a group of others who shared her view, mythicised her own youthful indignations against prejudice and privilege into a private communist party. Bearing little relationship to the real thing, it was an expression of her revolt against both a destructive individualism, historically rooted in principles of ownership, and a coercive conformity, which vilified the deviant on a political plane as it did on the racial, the social and the sexual. It had all the energy of a moral crusade in which good and evil obligingly shaped themselves into social forms. And realism seemed the natural style with which to engage such a subject.

These were convictions which she carried with her to England where, as a double ex-patriate, she felt alienated from the economic and class distinctions which underpinned a British social system which had imposed itself across half the globe and. which seemingly believed that some kind of cultural energy was generated

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