Sites of Personal and Cultural Memories in Doris Lessing’s Writings of Africa
This paper aims to map sites of personal and cultural memories and the way they are interwoven in some of Doris Lessing’s writings of Africa from the perspective of Cultural Memory Studies. The concepts of ‘home’, ‘memory’ and‘re-memory’, as well as ‘nostalgia’ will be analyzed in Going Home, one of the accounts of the author’s return to Africa, in order to demonstrate that cultural memory and memory in general are indicative of the shaping of Lessing as a writer with multiple identities. The study will also focus on the novel Alfred and Emily, where Doris Lessing uses another aspect that is part of cultural memory studies, which is the creation of an alternative history and story of her parents and post-war England. The main argument here is that Lessing blends factual and fictional writing in her most recent half fiction, half memoir to construct alternative personal and cultural ‘hi(-stories)’. This viewpoint – that a human individual is always intertwined with other individuals and further with history – is an undercurrent that permeates Lessing’s writings. The analysis demonstrates that in the novels under scrutiny, and not only these, Lessing has used her own personal memories to create fiction that fits into a bigger frame, that of cultural memory studies.
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