The Paradise Dream

The Paradise Dream depicts a paradise in which all beings live in harmony, as described in Doris Lessing’s book The Four-Gated City.

The Paradise Dream. 2017, ink on parchment, 60 x 66 cm.

Letters about the City is an account of the different developments of the City as they have been portrayed in Doris Lessing’s work. In the novel Martha Quest, the young Martha Quest dreams of a white city in the mountains while walking around her family’s estate. Later in adulthood, Martha has dreams where humans and all animals live together in perfect harmony. The idea of the Four-Gated City is born, assuming its final form in the eponymous volume of the Children of Violence series. In the novel, Martha’s employer, Mark Coldridge, writes first a short story and then a novel on the birth, growth and destruction of the city. A similar description of a utopian Round City can be found in the novel Shikasta, where Lessing recounts how the Round City was built and what finally became of it. Other accounts of mythical cities can be found, for example, in the novel Briefing for a Descent into Hell and the short story The Reason for It.

Letters about the City is comprised of Martha and Usbek’s imaginary correspondence about a City, the various developments of which Doris Lessing included in several of her works. Martha Quest is Doris Lessing’s alter ego in her novel series Children of Violence. Usbek the Isfahanian is one of the correspondents in Montesquieu’s Persian Letters.

The Paradise Dream drawing is based on Martha Quest’s dream, which she had while moved to London. In her dream, all beings were lived in peace and harmony.

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