Sufi Novels and Parables: A Significant Change in Doris Lessing's Writing

Shahram Kiaei


Doris Lessing, the Persian-born, African-raised and London-residing novelist enjoys a writing career which has spanned more than 50 years. Critics have labeled her as Marxist, feminist, Sufist and even psycho-analyst. It is my contention to prove that latent Sufi characteristics are inherent in her works, and this premise marks a difference between my study and other research on Lessing. To prove that even Lessing’s early works contain Sufi characteristics, this paper looks at her early fictions which lend themselves to Sufistic interpretation. The theoretical framework used in this paper proves the manifestations of Sufism in her early works which involve different Sufistic concepts. The methodology appropriated entails tracing some of these concepts in these novels which are overtly Sufistic. I would also show how Lessing invites a Sufi reading of her novels and whether there are direct signs or changes in her choices of genre, mode, and style that suggest a new vision and a changed worldview and outlook. By revisiting her writing life to show that Sufism has always been present in her works, I depart from other critics and researchers who examine Lessing’s works in more general terms. This departure is significant because the use of a non-western perspective actually enriches our understanding of Lessing who is mainly read from eurocentric points of view.

Full Text:



Copyright (c)

Asian Culture and History   ISSN 1916-9655(Print)   ISSN 1916-9663 (Online)   Email:

Copyright © Canadian Center of Science and Education 

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.