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Free Woman: Life, Liberation and Doris Lessing
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A superb achievement - praise for 'A Bitter Taste of Victory' -- Frances Wilson * Daily Telegraph * Well researched and beautifully written - praise for 'A Bitter Taste of Victory' -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times * [A] panoramic book, which manages to blend a grand historical sweep with fascinating personal detail ... Feigel does a brilliant job of shining a spotlight on this complicated moral universe - praise for 'A Bitter Taste of Victory' -- Kathryn Hughes * Mail on Sunday *
About the Author
Lara Feigel is a Reader in Modern Literature and Culture at King's College London. She is the author of Literature, Cinema and Politics, 1930-1945 and the editor (with Alexandra Harris) of Modernism on Sea: Art and Culture at the British Seaside and (with John Sutherland) of the New Selected Journals of Stephen Spender. She has also written journalism for various publications, including the Guardian, the Financial Times and Prospect. The Love-charm of Bombs (2013) and her most recent book, The Bitter Taste of Victory (2016), were both published to critical acclaim. Lara lives in West Hampstead, London. larafeigel.com @larafeigel
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I found the opening sections weak (almost naïve) and the references to Lessing’s work very basic. Feigel seemed surer of her ground in later sections where she reverts to an analytical, literary studies’ approach - I enjoyed her discussion of De Beauvoir versus Lessing, for example. Although this then made the analogies from her own life seem incongruous- I just couldn’t stir up any enthusiasm for the juxtaposition of certain elements such as the lengthy discussion of her orgasms versus Lessing’s fictional ones. Overall, it’s a well-written and researched work and quite brave in its frank detailing of Feigel’s life but it wasn’t for me. I felt it lacked the sophistication of writers like Rebecca Solnit or the accessibility of ‘Tracks’ or ‘Wild’. It’s possible/probable that I am just the wrong reader for this, maybe if I were struggling with the same issues as Feigel, or hadn’t read a lot of feminist texts before, I would have found this more engaging or illuminating.