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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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From The Grass is Singing to The Golden Notebook: Film, Literature and Psychoanalysis

From The Grass is Singing to The Golden Notebook: Film, Literature and Psychoanalysis

(p.84) Chapter 6 From The Grass is Singing to The Golden Notebook: Film, Literature and Psychoanalysis
Doris Lessing and the Forming of History

Laura Marcus

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses the place of cinema in Lessing’s early work, focusing in particular on The Golden Notebook (1962). Cinema first appears in Lessing’s work as a gendered site of communal spectatorship and distraction in The Grass is Singing (1950), in common with the work of other mid-century women writers such as Jean Rhys. But in The Golden Notebook, cinema and filmic consciousness increasingly acts as a privileged metaphor for the description of dreams and visions, influencing the novel’s striking descriptions of dreams and dreaming – a formal achievement of Lessing’s work often over-looked. This chapter suggests that this conflation of dreaming and cinematographic consciousness bears comparison with the work of psychoanalytic theorists such as Ella Freeman Sharpe, Bertram Lewin, and Didier Anzieu, and their concepts such as the ‘dream screen’ and ‘projection,’ and with the work of psychoanalytically-inflected feminist film theorists such as Laura Mulvey. Additionally, it explores the resonances of the descriptions of some of The Golden Notebooks imagined films with the techniques of postwar nouvelle vague directors such as Jean-Luc Godard and Michelangelo Antonioni.

Keywords:   Doris Lessing, cinema, psychoanalysis, The Golden Notebook, The Grass is Singing

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