Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Golden Notebook: Introduction
The Golden Notebook: Plot Summary
The Golden Notebook: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Golden Notebook: Themes
The Golden Notebook: Quotes
The Golden Notebook: Characters
The Golden Notebook: Terms
The Golden Notebook: Symbols
The Golden Notebook: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Doris Lessing
Historical Context of The Golden Notebook
Other Books Related to The Golden Notebook
- Full Title: The Golden Notebook
- When Written: 1950s-1960s
- Where Written: London, UK
- When Published: 1962
- Literary Period: Postmodernism
- Genre: Novel, Metafiction, Postmodernism
- Setting: London and Colonial Central Africa
- Climax: During her relationship with Saul Green, Anna slips into madness.
- Antagonist: The compartmentalization of life and fragmentation of society, unfulfilling relationships and rigid gender roles, communist and anti-communist orthodoxy
- Point of View: First-person (Anna’s notebooks), third-person (Free Women)
Extra Credit for The Golden Notebook
Reception and Response. Doris Lessing was famously unsatisfied with the early critical response to The Golden Notebook, which focused intensely on Anna and Molly’s attitude toward men but neglected the novel’s structural innovations and central theme of mental breakdown, as well as the book’s eventual acclaim, which the author thought unfairly overshadowed the rest of her work.
Semi-Autobiographical. Not only does The Golden Notebook leave any serious reader uncertain as to what, precisely, is fact and fiction in the protagonist Anna Wulf’s life, it also blurs the boundaries between the author and her subject. Anna is a loosely fictionalized version of Doris Lessing herself, just as Anna fictionalizes herself into the character Ella and the version of herself who appears in Free Women.