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Problems, Myths and Stories

Doris Lessing

Once stories of all kinds were used in instructing the young and as a part of general education and traces of this can be observed in many cultures. In some parts of the world they are still used in this way. Tales cross boundaries, change like chameleons, become acclimatised. For instance, stories from Kalila and Dimna, which originated in India, are considered to be Spanish. In our western culture stories are usually used for entertainment or for ideological purposes. This great treasure-house of literature is taken so much for granted, but it is hard to imagine what we would be without it

Doris Lessing was born in Persia, now Iran, brought up in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and has lived in London since 1949. She has written novels, short stories, essays and plays. Her best known books are probably The Golden Notebook, The Children of Violence sequence and the Canopus in Argos sequence. She has won major literary prizes in Austria, France, Germany, Italy and in this country. The second volume of her autobiography, Walking in the Shade, came out in October 1997.