The Best English-Language Fiction of the Twentieth Century
A Composite List and Ranking
by Brian Kunde


<- Lessing, Doris, 1919-2013.
         Birth name: Doris May Taylor. British author born in Kermanshah, Iran (then Persia) to English parents and raised in Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia); later lived in London. Married twice, to Frank Wisdom and Gottfried Lessing. Her first stories were published in South Africa when she was a teen. Her writings focused successively on social, psychological and Sufi themes, and are marked by a shift from mainstream fiction to science fiction. and are often semiautobiographical in nature. While best known for The Golden Notebook, her most developed works are the five novel sequences The Children of Violence (1952-1969) and Canopus in Argos (1979-1983). Recipient of numerous honors and literary awards, culminating in the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • <- The Golden Notebook. 1962.
             The life of writer Anna Wulf, complexly structured in extracts from the colored themed notebooks in which she has recorded it -- black for her time in Southern Rhodesia, red for her role as a Communist Party member, yellow for a novel based on the breakup of a love affair, and blue for material on her memories, dreams and personal thoughts. These are interspersed with portions of Free Women, a narrative on her and her actress friend Molly Jacobs; all five strands are brought together in the titular golden notebook, in which Anna attempts to construct an integrated account. Exploring mental breakdown and healing, and both women's and societal issues, the novel is often regarded as a feminist classic, a characterization not shared by the author.

Posted Nov. 18, 2013, and last updated Nov. 18, 2013.
Please report any errors to the compiler.
Published by Fleabonnet Press.
The source list data is public domain.
Additional material © 1999-2013 by Brian Kunde.