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Sex, lies and communism: finding freedom through Doris Lessing

From the freedom to write to her flamboyant sexual freedom, Lessing provided academic and writer Lara Feigel with a roadmap for her own exploration

By Ruth Scurr   April 2018

After Doris Lessing’s death in 2013, Lara Feigel reread The Golden Notebook (1962). Her older friends had begun to reminisce about how it had changed their lives. When Feigel first read it as a student, it had left little impression, but in her mid-thirties it proved revolutionary. Free Woman tells Feigel’s story, blending literary criticism, biography and memoir: “this book emerged as an attempt to understand freedom as Lessing conceived it and as we might apprehend it now—politically, intellectually, emotionally and sexually.”

This…

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