Commodifying the past: Doris Lessing's the golden notebook as nostalgic narrative

Bazin, Victoria (2008) Commodifying the past: Doris Lessing's the golden notebook as nostalgic narrative. The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 43 (2). pp. 117-131. ISSN 0021-9894

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0021989408091235

Abstract

This article focuses on the realist fragment embedded within Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook concerning Anna Wulf's life in Rhodesia as a member of the Communist Party and, more specifically, the events that take place at the Mashopi Hotel. In this fragment Lessing critically interrogates the nostalgic glance backwards, thereby offering a dialectical understanding of the past as an image of the present. Responding to the post-war impulse to "look back", a gesture embodied by Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger , Lessing's realist fragment reveals the extent to which the past is always already commodified by the present. The Mashopi Hotel embodies an idea of Englishness that is at once comforting but ultimately destructive. Lessing's analysis of the nostalgia for a lost Englishness is, I argue, a response to post-war anxieties concerning English identity, anxieties attributable to the collapse of the British Empire and the influx of new immigrants from Commonwealth countries.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nostalgia, Imperialism
Subjects: Q200 Comparative Literary studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 21 May 2010 08:56
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2015 11:14
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1457

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