The Golden Notebook
Perennial Classics Edition
Publication Date: February 1999
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Anna is a writer, author of one very successful novel, who now keeps four notebooks. In one, with a black cover, she reviews the African experience of her earlier year. In a red one she records her political life, her disillusionment with communism. In a yellow one she writes a novel in which the heroine reviles part of her own experience. And in the blue one she keeps a personal diary. Finally, in love with an American writer and threatened with insanity, Anna tries to bring the threads of all four books together in a golden notebook.
Doris Lessing was born of British parents in Persia, in 1919, and moved with her family to Southern Rhodesia when she was five years old. She went to England in 1949 and has lived there ever since. She is the author of more than thirty books--novels, stories, reportage, poems, and plays. In 2007, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Lessing's 1962 novel, The Golden Notebook, is considered one of the great works of the 20th Century. It's been called by many the first feminist novel, a distinction Lessing always rejected. More at NPR.org
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- Lessing has written that the central theme of The Golden Notebook is of "'breakdown, that sometimes when people 'crack up' it is a way of self-healing." In what ways does this theme find expression in the novel? How does Anna Wulf try to deal with her inner self-divisions? What part is played by each of Anna's four notebooks in her struggle to integrate her fragmented inner world and personality? What enables the notebooks to come together in the golden notebook at the end of the novel? How do her relationships to others, especially to Saul Green, contribute to her "crack-up" and "self-healing"?