Quotation by Doris Lessing

The true novel wrestles on the edge of understanding, lying about on all sides desperately, for every sort of experience, pressing into use every flash of intuition or correspondence, trying to fuse together the crudest of materials, and the humblest, which the higher arts can't include. But it is precisely here, where the writer fights with the raw, the intractable, that poetry is born. Poetry, that is, of the novel: appropriate to it. The Story of an African Farm is a poetic novel; and when one has done with the "plot" and the characters, that is what remains: an endeavor, a kind of hunger, that passionate desire for growth and understanding, which is the deepest pulse of human beings.
Doris Lessing (b. 1919), British novelist. Originally published 1968. The Doris Lessing Reader, afterword to The Story of an African Farm, p. 614, Knopf (1988).
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