London and New York: Fourth Estate, (2004). Single volume, measuring 9 x 6 inches: viii, 376. Original pale grey paper boards lettered in gilt, pale blue endpapers, original unclipped photographic dust jacket. Signed and dated on the title page: “Doris Lessing / 19th October 04.”.
First edition of this collection of critical essays by Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing, most dealing with the unpredictable aftershocks of reading: “I do not believe that one can be changed by a book (or by a person) unless there is already something present, latent or in embryo, ready to be changed.” Lessing’s subjects range from classic authors (Richardson, Stendhal, Austen, Tolstoy) to contemporaries (Anna Kavan, Nirad Chaudhuri, Christabel Bielenberg, Niccolò Tucci). A fine copy, signed by Lessing in the year of publication.