Monday, November 08, 2021

Novels as philosophy, journalism, and fragmentation in Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook"

In the first excerpt from her "black notebook" in Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook", Anna Wulf privileges novels like Thomas Mann's with "the quality a novel should have to make it a novel – the quality of philosophy" over novels as "an outpost of journalism" providing "information about areas of life we don't know" and as "a function of the fragmented society, the fragmented consciousness". Lessing's novel, though, is all three: it offers information about women's experiences otherwise absent from novels, breaks its story into the "fragmented consciousness" of the notebooks and Anna's "conventional" novel "Free Women", and makes broad "philosophical statements about life" between aesthetics, politics, and history in 1950s London. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 8 November 2021)

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