A novel by D. Lessing published in 1962. Regarded as one of the key texts of the women's movement of the 1960s, it opens in London in 1957 with a section ironically entitled ‘Free Women’, a realistic account of a conversation between two old friends. The novel then fragments into the four sections of Anna's ‘Notebooks’. This pattern of five non‐chronological overlapping sections is repeated four times, as it tracks both the past and the present; and although one of Lessing's concerns is to expose the dangers of fragmentation, she also builds up through pastiche and parody, and through many refractions and mergings, a remarkably coherent and detailed account of her protagonists and the world they inhabit. Women who take responsibility for their own lives are seen grappling independently with the conflicts of work, sexuality, maternity, and contemporary politics. The conventional narrative ends more prosaically with Anna's declaration that she is about to join the Labour Party.
Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).
Related content in Oxford Index
Doris Lessing (b. 1919) British novelist and short-story writer, brought up in Rhodesia