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Approaches to Teaching Lessing's The Golden Notebook

Editor(s): Carey Kaplan, Ellen Cronan Rose

Pages: vii & 147 pp.
Published: 1989
ISBN: 9780873525220 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873525213 (hardcover)

"Kaplan and Rose have collected a wealth of historical, biographical, and pedagogical material not available elsewhere. This Approaches volume is a necessity for students and for Lessing scholars."
Lisa Alther, author of Kin-Flicks and Bedrock

When The Golden Notebook was published in 1962, Irving Howe called it "the most exciting piece of new fiction" produced in the decade. Throughout this complex novel, Doris Lessing invites the reader to contemplate the fragmentation of modern life, to grapple with conflicting elements in order to see the world anew. The novel touches on a variety of themes--including African history, leftist politics before Stalin's death, trends in psychoanalysis, the effects of war, male-female relations, and madness--and has attracted a wide range of critical and pedagogical approaches.

This volume, like others in the MLA's Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, is divided into two parts. The first, "Materials," evaluates the corpus of scholarly and critical material published on the novel and recommends background reading. In the second part, "Approaches," seventeen essays place the novel historically, politically, philosophically, and aesthetically--examining it in such contexts as Lessing's life, Jungian psychology, modernism and postmodernism, feminism, film theory, and musical forms--and discuss the teaching of The Golden Notebook in different times, circumstances, and classrooms.

Table of Contents

Approaches to Teaching Lessing's The Golden Notebook


Carey Kaplan and Ellen Cronan Rose



Lessing Criticism

Additional Resources



In Pursuit of Doris Lessing
Dee Seligman

The Golden Notebook: The African Background
Eve Bertelsen

Politics and The Golden Notebook
Frederick C. Stern

Philosophical Contexts for The Golden Notebook
Jean Pickering

The Principal Archetypal Elements of The Golden Notebook
Lorelei Cederstrom

The Golden Notebook as a Modernist Novel
Marjorie Lightfoot

A Spectrum of Classrooms

A Sixties Book for All Seasons
Joseph Hynes

The Golden Notebook in an Introductory Women's Studies Course
Roberta Rubenstein

The Golden Notebook: In Whose or What Great Tradition?
Claire Sprague

The Golden Notebook in a Graduate Seminar on Contemporary Experimental Fiction
Molly Hite

The Golden Notebook and Creative Writing Majors
Ruth Saxton

Pedagogical Challenges and Opportunities

The Golden Notebook and Undergraduates: Strategies for Involving Students
Sharon Hileman

Illusions of Actuality: First-Person Pronoun in The Golden Notebook
Virginia Tiger

The Golden Notebook: A Feminist Context for the Classroom
Mona Knapp

The Golden Notebook's Inner Film
Sharon R. Wilson

"Where words, patterns, order, dissolve": The Golden Notebook as Fugue
Sandra Brown

The Golden Notebook: A Challenge to the Teaching Establishment
Katherine Fishburn

Works Cited


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© 2015 Modern Language Association. Last updated 02/24/2015.