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African Stories

Year First Published: 1964
First Published by:Michael Joseph
Category:Short Stories
This Edition:British first edition

From the book jacket:

Doris Lessing spent twenty-five years in Southern Rhodesia, for the most part on a farm. This was very different from the English idea of a farm, being 3,000 acres of unfenced scrub bush, kopjes, vleis, of which a couple of hundred acres were cultivated, and the rest left empty, but populated with all kinds of game - buck of many varieties, wild pig, jackals, wild cats, snakes, birds. The district was Lomagundi, not far south from Zambesi, hundreds of miles of empty bush where a couple of dozen white farmers grew tobacco and maize, where a small handful of miners dug for gold.

It was from this experience - perhaps best summed up, in her words, as Africa give you the knowledge that man is a small creature, among other creatures, in a large landscape - that a good part of her work has come.

The stories in this volume are a collection of four new ones and the whole of This Was The Old Chief's Country, together with four tales from Five. These two books, probably the most popular of Mrs. Lessings work, are much reprinted and translated.

Of the new stories Mrs Lessing says she particularly likes The Black Madonna which is full of the bile she feels for white society as she knew and hated it. Traitors, another new one, owes its appeal to that particular quality or atmosphere which she says is Africas chief gift to writers... an inexplicable majestic silence lying just over the border of memory or thought.

About The Pig and The Trinket Box she comments in a preface which sums up her ideas on writing from Africa.

Also see:

In this Edition:

    The Black Madonna
    The Trinket Box
    The Pig
    The Old Chief Mshlanga
    A Sunrise on the Veld
    No Witchcraft for Sale
    The Second Hut
    The Nuisance
    The De Wets Come to Kloof Grange
    Little Tembi
    Old John's Place
    'Leopard'" George
    Winter in July
    A Home for the Highland Cattle
    The Antheap

Note: The American edition contained more stories. The complete British edition of Doris Lessing's African short stories was published by Michael Joseph in 1973 in two volumes: