Read Kuldne märkmeraamat (Eesti Päevalehe romaaniklassika, #51) by Doris Lessing Free Online
Book Title: Kuldne märkmeraamat (Eesti Päevalehe romaaniklassika, #51)|
The author of the book: Doris Lessing
Edition: Eesti Päevaleht
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 471 KB
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Loaded: 2600 times
Reader ratings: 4.1
Date of issue: 2008
ISBN 13: 9788498199529
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"It is the storyteller, the dream-maker, the myth-maker, that is our phoenix, that represents us at our best, and at our most creative."
Maybe 50 or 100 pages into the novel, I knew (and felt it as a physical sensation, a shiver going down my spine) that Doris Lessing had written the perfect description of the compartmentalised psyche of the modern world. The myth of my times!
I don't share each political view she demonstrated in the red notebook, but I can certainly see myself writing a political diary that is forcibly separated from other notebooks, depicting my emotional or intellectual or casual everyday worries. My approach to emotional matters and to education and literature may also be of a different kind, and my everyday life is clearly different from the 1950s London that serves as a backdrop for The Golden Notebook. But it doesn't matter, I still recognise the golden thread leading through all those different, confusing strands of life that are carefully cut off from each other by the writer's abstract intellectual power.
My golden notebook would probably look like a rainbow, mixing up various notes that belong to two or three books at the same time, making a big mess of emotions, intellectual and political challenges. It would show my helpless attempts at writing down the chaos that invades my life each day. I would need notebooks for teaching, for parenting, for art, for... Modern life is rich, complicated, and full of confusing information.
But it doesn't really matter that the details of my imaginary notebooks would be different from the major story lines in Lessing's masterpiece. When I read this novel, I felt for the first time that someone had been brave enough to dare to open up the compartments of complicated, contradictory thoughts and feelings, that someone dared to ask the questions that others ignored because the answers were either too painful and depressing or simply too nonsensical: Pandora's box ripped wide open, and one question mark after the other pouring out, leaving hope for an answer lonely at the bottom:
The question of race.
The question of entitlement.
The question of gender.
The question of sexuality.
The question of power.
The question of indoctrination.
The question of dissidence.
The question of love.
The question of submission.
The question of community.
The question of solitude.
The question of responsibility.
The question of freedom.
The question of slavery.
The question of humankind - divided into different compartments that consistently meet, fight, attract, and eat each other.
Ten years ago, Lessing was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the argument was that she was "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny."
That sentence, including the "female experience", made me angry. What is wrong with a world that needs to define her writing as that of "female experience", when men writing about their personal perspective speak for "humanity"? Why not award - to use a random example - Coetzee's presumably "male experience", as shown in his outrageously misogynistic meditations on male Youth?
Men, apparently, still have "universal" experience while women have "female" experience? In my perception, Lessing wrote as much about male as about female experience, and she spoke of the challenges women and men face in the world. Just like Coetzee. She is a writer of "human experience", I hope, for I wouldn't want to believe only one half of humanity is capable of conducting four diaries simultaneously and of combining them to the golden notebook of their existence. Weaving by day, unweaving by night, thus we carry on until the end, whether our shroud is finished or not. Men and women, with their "individual and collective experience".
Lessing is a must-read for men and women who are interested in finding the various facets of their emotional and intellectual patterns. The Golden Notebook is her masterpiece, a classic, an odyssey told by a modern woman instead of an ancient man.
And just like the ancient epic, it speaks to all of us who love and cherish storytelling as a means to combine the different threads of our lives to a meaningful rainbow pattern.
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Read information about the authorBoth of her parents were British: her father, who had been crippled in World War I, was a clerk in the Imperial Bank of Persia; her mother had been a nurse. In 1925, lured by the promise of getting rich through maize farming, the family moved to the British colony in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Like other women writers from southern African who did not graduate from high school (such as Olive Schreiner and Nadine Gordimer), Lessing made herself into a self-educated intellectual.
In 1937 she moved to Salisbury, where she worked as a telephone operator for a year. At nineteen, she married Frank Wisdom, and had two children. A few years later, feeling trapped in a persona that she feared would destroy her, she left her family, remaining in Salisbury. Soon she was drawn to the like-minded members of the Left Book Club, a group of Communists "who read everything, and who did not think it remarkable to read." Gottfried Lessing was a central member of the group; shortly after she joined, they married and had a son.
During the postwar years, Lessing became increasingly disillusioned with the Communist movement, which she left altogether in 1954. By 1949, Lessing had moved to London with her young son. That year, she also published her first novel, The Grass Is Singing, and began her career as a professional writer.
In June 1995 she received an Honorary Degree from Harvard University. Also in 1995, she visited South Africa to see her daughter and grandchildren, and to promote her autobiography. It was her first visit since being forcibly removed in 1956 for her political views. Ironically, she is welcomed now as a writer acclaimed for the very topics for which she was banished 40 years ago.
In 2001 she was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in Literature, one of Spain's most important distinctions, for her brilliant literary works in defense of freedom and Third World causes. She also received the David Cohen British Literature Prize.
She was on the shortlist for the first Man Booker International Prize in 2005. In 2007 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
(Extracted from the pamphlet: A Reader's Guide to The Golden Notebook & Under My Skin, HarperPerennial, 1995. Full text available on www.dorislessing.org).
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