Doris Lessing Quotes

Most popular Doris Lessing Quotes

Is there any delight as great as the child's discovering ability?

ability children

Laughter is by definition healthy.
— Doris Lessing


Literature is analysis after the event.


Envy has always hidden behind moral indignation.


An interim report—that is what an autobiography is.


A fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape.


Women often get dropped from memory, and then history.


Nicknames are potent ways of cutting people down to size.
Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.

thinking conformity individuality

Dreams have always been my friend, full of information, full of warnings.

dreams (during sleep)

One certainty we all accept is the condition of being uncertain and insecure.


Charity has always been an expression of the guilty consciences of a ruling class.

charity cynical

Capable people do not understand incapacity; clever people do not understand stupidity.

stupidity understanding others

People who love literature have at least part of their minds immune from indoctrination.


You have to be grown up, really grown up, not merely in years, to understand your parents.

parents understanding others

If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.


It is terrible to destroy a person's picture of himself in the interests of truth or some other abstraction.


That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way.

learning understanding

There's only one real sin, and that is to persuade oneself that the second-best is anything but the second-best.


Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty—and vice versa.


You are young, and then you are middle-aged, but it is hard to tell the moment of passage from one state to the next.  Then you are old, but you hardly know when it happened.

youth & age

With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one—but no one at all—can tell you what to read and when and how.


Children can't be a center of life and a reason for being. They can be a thousand satisfying things that are delightful, interesting, satisfying, but they can't be a wellspring to live from. Or they shouldn't be.
— Doris Lessing


When a white man in Africa by accident looks into the eyes of a native and sees the human being (which it is his chief preoccupation to avoid), his sense of guilt, which he denies, fumes up in resentment and he brings down the whip.