The Golden Notebook

Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing was born in Iran, and grew up in Africa and Rhodesia. She was a passionate communist fighting against all kinds of oppression and colonialism. She has written short stories, non-fiction, and fiction. Doris' most influential book is The Golden Notebook published in 1962, which is aptly described as: "An experimental book exploring the destructive relationships between men and women that mirror the lack of coherence and order in our fragmented, materialistic century." In 1966, in an interview with Florence Howe, Doris Lessing said, "The Golden Notebook is more truthful because it is more complex the same people occur again and again in our lives. Situations do. And any moment of time is so complicated and the ideas we live with are complex"
The Golden Notebook was published in 1962. Over the next several years, feminism became a significant movement in the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of the world.The Golden Notebook was seen by many feminists of the 1960s as an influential work that revealed the experience of women in society. This is the longest and the

most ambitious work Doris Lessing has ever attempted to write. It is a masterpiece in portraiture of the manners, aspirations, anxieties and the particular problems of the times in which we live. Mrs. Lessing says: 'About five years ago I found myself thinking about that novel which most writers now are tempted to write at some time or another - about the problems of a writer, about the artistic sensibility. I saw no point in writing this again: it has been done too often; it has been one of the major themes of the novel in our time. Yet, having decided not to write it, I continued to think about it, and about the reasons why artists now have to combat various kinds of narcissism. I found that, if it were to be written at all, the subject should be, not a practising artist, but an artist with some kind of a block which prevented him or her from creating. In describing the reasons for the block, I would also be making the criticisms I wanted to make about our society. I would be describing a disgust and self-division which afflicts people now, and not only artists. 'Simultaneously I was working out another book, a book of literary criticism, which I would write not as critic, but as practising writer, using various literary styles in such a way that the shape of the book and the

living in the middle of a whirlwind. who in turn creates another Anna Wulf in the chapter "Free Women" in a Golden notebook section of the novel. I found I did not believe some of the things I thought I believed: or rather. are faced with a protagonist Anna Wulf that Doris Lessing creates in The Golden Notebook. which symbolize the four aspects of Anna Wulf. "her efforts of imagination" in the Yellow notebook. We. The fifth notebook called the "Golden notebook" is about the successful self-healing from fragmentation and blocked creativity. and this book enables Anna Wulf the writer to begin her new book called "Free Women". that I hold in my mind at the same time beliefs and ideas that are apparently contradictory. 2 . In fact. The Feminist Art Movement considered rigid form to be a representation of patriarchal society. is an attempt to break a form. The structure of The Golden Notebook also intertwines the political conflicts and emotional conflicts in the characters' lives. after all.¶ The novel consists of four notebooks.Feminists also responded to the consciousness-raising aspect of the book. and her experiences lead to a larger statement about flawed society as a whole.juxtaposition of the styles would provide the criticism. Feminism and feminist theory often rejected traditional form and structure in art and literature. a male-dominated hierarchy. gold-colored notebook in which Anna's sanity is questioned as she weaves together the other four notebooks. Why not? We are. The Blue Notebook has a structure of a diary where she "attempts" to keep a factual account of her life. the personal experiences of women reflect the political state of society. is a novelist who experiences alienation and fragmentation of her consciousness in the disintegrated world. The novel tells the story of Anna Wulf and her four notebooks of different colors that narrate aspects of her life. both theoretical viewpoints can be seen in analysis of The Golden Notebook. Dorris Lessing¶s book has both a postmodern structure and autobiographical layers: the character Anna reflects elements of author Doris Lessing's own life. then. The notebook of the title is a fifth. Anna Wulf. and quest for identity as a writer in the Blue notebook. and her loss of creative power. political activist (Red notebook). to break certain forms of consciousness and go beyond them. 'Thinking about these two books I understood suddenly they were not two books but one. while Anna writes an autobiographical novel about her imagined Ella. who writes autobiographical stories. 'This novel. Since I hold that criticism of literature is a criticism and judgement of life. The highlight of the novel is . Each of Anna's four notebooks reflects a different area of her life. It is a µconsciousness-raising¶ novel. the theme of division of self. I understood that the shape of this book should be enclosed and claustrophobic . it would make implicitly. Feminism and postmodernism often overlap. While writing it. thus. We see her diverse representations as a novelist (Black notebook). and its excruciating consequences. Anna's dreams and diary entries appear throughout the novel. The dominant theme of The Golden Notebook is the fragmentation of life and consciousness.the structure of the narrative reflects the theme and content of the book. It is a story of an artist. a statement about what Marxists call narcissistic that the subject matter must break through the form.The idea behind consciousness-raising is that the personal experiences of women should not be separated from the political movement of feminism. Anna Wulf. the protagonist. this book would say what I wanted of life. they were fusing together in my mind.

a novel into which she has poured every experience she had ever had into her characters. Her rejection of a feminist reading of The Golden Notebook is not the same as rejecting feminism. She is able to speak plainly and intelligently on any subject. a young novelist whose life is falling apart. this is Doris Lessing¶s most autobiographical novel. women in the 1950¶s is sumptuously detailed. but had anyone been listening? Although The Golden Notebook is often hailed by feminists as an important consciousness-raising novel. Men are all philandering. emotionally stunted and childlike. but the intensely individual story of one woman¶s struggle to reconcile her own life with the political and philosophical atmosphere of her age. Doris Lessing said that she was a feminist because women were second-class citizens. on the other side it shows extraordinary disdain for everything outside Anna¶s field of experience. This novel is a far cry from the prim and proper 1950¶s world we are accustomed to reading about. Those who say Ian McEwan¶s recent novel On Chesil Beach accurately conveys the sexual inadequacies of the British populace pre-1966 would do well to read this and note how Anna dissects the emotional and physical side of sex both intelligently and erotically. I chose to see it as the latter. The Golden Notebook was both groundbreaking and controversial. The worse they behave towards her. the exhilarating joy one minute and the periods of guilt and manic depression the next. Doris Lessing has notably downplayed a feminist interpretation of her work. And there are few more universal subjects in the world as that. However. and in America Senator McCarthy¶s µRed Terror¶ is decimating the left wing intelligentsia. to make sense of the chaos she feels all around her. So it is unclear whether this is really a social commentary or a personal story about one very rounded and believable character whose vision of the world is blinkered by her social and political station. And because of this The Golden Notebook has an air of honesty which has few equals anywhere in literature. Doris Lessing is on the same level as Milan Kundera in her awareness of the psychological intricacies of her characters. Her account of life and psychology as a young.The Golden Notebook is not a feminist treaty. into a time which seems so like our own and yet is not. In short Anna is a fascinatingly self destructive character and in the analysis of the world through her mind the novelis a fascinating and powerful novel about a woman fighting to stay sane in a truly crazy world. Never have I read a book and come away from it more certain that I knew nothing about myself. her work does illustrate ideas that were relevant to the feminist movement. from sex to society and her insight is often astounding. She also expressed surprise that while women had long been saying these things. their shifts in mood are examined with subtlety and experience. for she sees it as giving in to all that feminine sentimentality that she wishes to be above. Women had obviously been saying these things. nor a political diary of the break up of British communism. 3 . the more sexually excited she becomes. The impossible contradictions of her life. she said. It seems that more than any other of her books. because otherwise I resent these one dimensional portraits greatly. Through her perceptive and articulate eyes we are taken on a journey into the 1950¶s. repressed and politically naive. Several years after The Golden Notebook was published. It is a world in which Anna excels in her bohemian lifestyle and affairs with married men but feels increasingly empty and hates herself for craving the security of love. While she may not have set out to write a political novel. We watch on as she struggles to reconcile her political and moral beliefs with the world around her: a world in which Stalin is being exposed for his crimes in the Soviet Union. sexual predators. bohemian. It dealt with women's sexuality and questioned assumptions about their relationships with men. it made all the difference in the world that someone wrote them down. It is a spectacularly intimate journey through the mind of Anna Wulf. But Anna is obsessed with them treating her terribly. Doris Lessing has often stated that the thoughts expressed in The Golden Notebook should not have come as a surprise to anyone. communist. The middle classes are seen in the typical stereotype as boring. the British Communist Party is collapsing under the weight of its members disillusionment. particularly in the sense that the personal is political.

and the startling use of persona in Doris Lessing's novel The Golden Notebook often leave readers puzzled and perplexed. the problem of her blocked creativity. the intricate content. Bibliography:  Michael Joseph. and understanding of the novel. The Golden Notebook . and the final psychic integration that restores the creative power in the A must read for a serious reader. 1960 4 .The novel thus exemplifies the fragmentation of Anna's mind and personality. these characteristics also make Lessing unique and awe-inspiring as her book opens avenues for new insights. the thin line between art and reality.nytimes. interpretations. The Golden Notebook is the best known and most widely acclaimed of all the works that went to earning Doris Lessing the 2007 Nobel Prize for literature.html  In Pursuit of the English (a documentary) MacGibbon & Kee. 1962  www. Yet. The structural complexity.

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