The Golden Notebook

The Golden Notebook

by

Doris Lessing

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Also known as a lobotomy, a neurosurgical procedure that cuts the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain largely responsible for what psychologists call “executive function,” which includes decision-making, complex cognition and self-control, and personality. The procedure, exceptionally popular in the 1940s and 1950s, effectively incapacitated patients, the vast majority of whom were women deemed hysterical or unruly by their families. One of its most famous advocates, the American doctor Walter Freeman, even called it “surgically induced childhood” because it gave people an “infantile personality.” The Soviet Union banned lobotomies in 1950, but they were common in Western capitalist countries through the 1970s.
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