‘Comrade’ Doris Lessing

Attractive, dangerous and ruthless – per MI5

Attractive, dangerous and ruthless: MI5’s verdict on ‘Comrade’ Doris Lessing in declassified files from the 1950s.

She was one of the most admired and respected novelists of the 20th century and won a Nobel Prize. [Doris Lessing lived in Rhodesia from 1925 to 1949]

Lessing, who died aged 94 in 2013, was active in Left-wing politics, joining the Left Book Club in Southern Rhodesia – regarded by MI5 as a ‘subsidiary of the Communist Party’. There she met her second husband Gottfried Lessing – also a suspected communist. A 1952 report describes her as ‘certainly pro-communist’ It accused her of being ‘irresponsible in her statements’, almost thinking ‘everything black is wonderful and that all men and all things white are vicious’. In correspondence she was addressed as Comrade Lessing.

Doris Lessing - communist party application form

The above extract is taken from The Daily Mail, London.