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African Writing in English

  • Date Submitted: 02/20/2014 06:49 AM
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African Writing in English
Dinesen, Isak, pseudonym of Baroness Karen Christence Blixen-Finecke, née Dinesen (1885-1962), Danish writer, born in Rungsted. She studied painting in various European cities. In 1914 she married her cousin, Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, and went to live in British East Africa (now Kenya) on a coffee plantation. After her divorce in 1921 she remained in Africa, returning to Denmark in 1931. Her first book of stories, Seven Gothic Tales (1934), dealt in highly polished and subtle prose with the world of the supernatural, as did most of her later fiction. Out of Africa (1937), which was made into a movie released in 1985, was based on her experiences on the plantation. Her only novel, The Angelic Avengers (1944; trans. 1947), was published under the name Pierre Andrézel; it describes in allegorical terms the plight of Denmark during the German occupation in World War II. Dinesen's later works include Winter's Tales (1943); Last Tales (1957), another collection of stories of the supernatural; and Shadows on the Grass (1960), Sketches of African life. She wrote both the Danish version and the English version of all her works.
Doris Lessing is one of the most prolific and celebrated authors writing in English today. Her work ranges from realistic early novels, many of which draw directly from her African childhood, to later books that experiment with literary genre (including science fiction) and form. In addition, Lessing has written poetry, drama, nonfiction, and a series of memoirs. Deeply influenced by her early exposure to racial, class, and sexual inequality, Lessing raises in her writing questions about politics, society, religion, work, and family—meditations at the heart of her most influential work, The Golden Notebook (1962).After two marriages and two divorces, in 1949 Lessing moved from Salisbury (the Southern Rhodesian capital, now Harare, Zimbabwe) to London, England, taking with her only the youngest of her three children. She...

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