Nobel Prize winning novelist Doris Lessing died yesterday at age 94. This 1969 article by Roger Ebert reveals that Lessing had a healthy degree of skepticism about the world and the place of the novelist within it. (Photo by Ida Kar)
About her own work, Ms. Lessing is less expansive. "I keep on writing," she said. "I consider that professionalism. But I don't see the use of it sometimes. I really do believe there's no use. Sometime in the next few years it's all going to end. It will be the bomb, or bacterial warfare, or we'll simply foul our environment beyond help. We're too stupid to make the decisions we have to make, and so we'll commit suicide. Sometimes I think man is programmed to destroy himself. So writing novels is a useless occupation. I wonder if small groups of us—of mankind, that is—will survive here and there and be able to carry on. I wonder what the conditions of survival would be. You see, these are absolutely the most important questions but nobody cares about them."