Author: Doris Lessing
Translator: Jae-young Ahn, Eun-jeong Lee
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About This Book
Congratulations to Doris Lessing on winning the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature!
"I am so happy to be communicating with people on this newest of new wavelengths which to some older people must seem like a kind of magic."--Doris Lessing
The Golden Notebook 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 juxtaposition of the styles would provide the criticism. Since I hold that criticism of literature is a criticism and judgement of life, this book would say what I wanted of life; it would make implicitly, a statement about what Marxists call alienation.
'Thinking about these two books I understood suddenly they were not two books but one; they were fusing together in my mind. I understood that the shape of this book should be enclosed and claustrophobic - so narcissistic that the subject matter must break through the form.
'This novel, then, is an attempt to break a form; to break certain forms of consciousness and go beyond them. While writing it, I found I did not believe some of the things I thought I believed: or rather, that I hold in my mind at the same time beliefs and ideas that are apparently contradictory. Why not? We are, after all, living in the middle of a whirlwind.'
This book received the 1976 French Prix Medicis for Foreigners.
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