Doris May Lessing, The Memoirs of a Survivor

Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error
The Memoirs of a Survivor

(Octagon Press, 1974) is a pivotal novel. It marks a transition from Doris Lessing's earlier preoccupation with psychological inner space (most apparent in

Briefing For a Descent into Hell

, 1971) to her space fiction series (

Canopus in Argos: Archives

, 1979-83, featuring benevolent alien colonisation of earth).

The Memoirs of a Survivor

is set in the near future at “a time of savagery and anarchy” (p.54), although it is never made clear what kind of global crisis brought about such anarchic conditions. In this respect,


is less explicit than the final dystopian section of the earlier novel,

The Four-gated City

(1969), which describes planet Earth as contaminated by the aftermath of war and radiation. In


, the degradation of the atmosphere, the…

2777 words

Citation: Scullion, Val. "The Memoirs of a Survivor". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 October 2003 [, accessed 21 June 2024.]

3669 The Memoirs of a Survivor 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.