Is The Golden Notebook a feminist novel?


For all the suffering its women endure at the hands of men, it’s not hard to see why Doris Lessing disliked her book’s polemical reputation

The New York Times critic Ernest Buickler once wrote that “a firkinful of scorching aphorisms” could be culled from nearly every page of The Golden Notebook. An exaggeration, of course – but only just. Doris Lessing’s 1962 novel is eminently quotable:

“For with my intuition I knew that this man was repeating a pattern over and over again: courting a woman with his intelligence and sympathy, claiming her emotionally; then, when she began to claim in return, running away. And the better a woman was, the sooner he would begin to run.”

“The real revolution is women against men.”

And so this man spent a second night with Julia. With no better results.

“Naturally he left at four, so that the little woman could believe he had been working late. Just as he left he turned on me and said: ‘You’re a castrating woman, I thought you were from the moment I saw you.’”

He sauced her with his eye; sitting up broad, solid, pink-cheeked; very sure of himself and his world in this house.

“Why haven’t you put on the dress you said you were going to wear?”

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