Fenixbird SandS's Reviews > Golden Notebook

Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
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Mar 27, 11

bookshelves: nobel-prize-winners, controversial-innovative, disabilities-fiction, cultural-awareness, womens-issues, rights-of-passage, currently-reading
Recommended to Fenixbird by: NY Times Book Review
Recommended for: women, men, relationship-interested

Setting 1950's London. "Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: 'You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.' "
— Doris Lessing Introduction (The Golden Notebook)

Just starting this book...which was written after her wonderful look (from a mid-life crisis talented woman's viewpoint) The Summer Before the Dark." On the cover of my dated paperback copy (1968), her book earlier work, The Golden Notebook, is promoted.

Quoting NY Times Reporters on author Doris Lessing's recent Nobel literature prize: "Ms. Lessing’s strongest legacy may be that she inspired a generation of feminists with her breakthrough novel, “The Golden Notebook.” In its citation, the Swedish Academy said: “The burgeoning feminist movement saw it as a pioneering work, and it belongs to the handful of books that informed the 20th-century view of the male-female relationship.”

Ms. Lessing wrote candidly about the inner lives of women and rejected the notion that they should limit their lives to marriage and children. “The Golden Notebook,” published in 1962, tracked the story of Anna Wulf, a woman who wanted to live freely and was, in some ways, Ms. Lessing’s alter ego.

Because she frankly described anger and aggression in women, she was attacked as “unfeminine.” In response Ms. Lessing wrote, “Apparently what many women were thinking, feeling, experiencing came as a great surprise.”

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Quotes Fenixbird Liked

Doris Lessing
“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: 'You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”
Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook


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