Approaches to Teaching Lessing’s The Golden Notebook

  • Editors: Carey Kaplan, Ellen Cronan Rose
  • Pages: vii & 147 pp.
  • Published: 1989
  • ISBN: 9780873525213 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9780873525220 (Paperback)
Approaches to Teaching Lessing's The Golden Notebook Cover

“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.