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Doris Lessing and the Forming of History$
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Kevin Brazil, David Sergeant, and Tom Sperlinger

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474414432

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474414432.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Readers of Fiction and Readers in Fiction: Readership and The Golden Notebook

Readers of Fiction and Readers in Fiction: Readership and The Golden Notebook

(p.71) Chapter 5 Readers of Fiction and Readers in Fiction: Readership and The Golden Notebook
Doris Lessing and the Forming of History

Sophia Barnes

Edinburgh University Press

Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook is peopled by fictional readers who interpret and challenge the texts of others within a layered and ontologically unstable narrative frame. While the novel’s innovative portrayal of authorship and its implications for authority have long been a rich source of critical debate, the equally intriguing if less studied correlative of this portrayal is the particular pressures Lessing’s depictions of readership place on her readers. The Golden Notebook not only includes multiple types of readers but also invites, anticipates and critiques conflicting responses. The cumulative effect of the many acts of readership which take place within the novel is to challenge its readers to question the presuppositions upon which their own reading practice rests; the modes of reading they employ; and the ways in which these modes of reading are implicated in particular beliefs about the function of literature. This chapter examines how readership is depicted in The Golden Notebook to ask the question: what kinds of readers does Lessing want us to be?

Keywords:   Doris Lessing, authorship, reading, The Golden Notebook

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