Eva Hunter


Over the past fifteen years there has been a burgeoning of literary criticism on the writing of Doris Lessing, above all in the United States. But there has not as yet been any research into her work that entails the use of methods developed from reader response theory or reception aesthetics. Nor, with the exception of a single article by Jenny de Reuck on the Alita short stories by Sarah Gertrude Millin, has any criticism of Southern African writing been published that employs techniques that are influenced by this important branch of modern theory.' And yet, over

the past ten years, literary journals on both sides of the North Atlantic have featured regularly, sometimes in entire special issues, articles dealing with the process of reading, the nature and limits of interpretation, the confrontation, transaction, or interrogation between texts and readers. Furthermore, even though the content of each of the Lessing titles produced over the past three and a half decades has attracted much debate, Lessing's style has been relatively neglected. Indeed, it may be said that she has been regarded by many as a writer worthy of academic study despite her style, which is usually treated as a medium inferior to the message it carries. A noteworthy exception is the excellent full-length study of the form of the writer's work, Betsy Draine's Substance under Pressure: Artistic Coherence and Evolving Form in the Novels of Doris Lessing.^



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