Vivian Gornick

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Vivian Gornick (born 14 June 1935)[1] is an American critic, essayist, and memoirist. For many years she wrote for the Village Voice. She currently teaches writing at The New School. For the 2007-2008 academic year, she was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. She caused a controversy when she said that she had created composite characters re street encounters and reconstructed conversations with her mother based on her best recollections in Fierce Attachments, her largely autobiographical work.


"[Y]ou cannot teach people how to write--the gift of dramatic expressiveness, of a natural sense of structure, of making language sink down beneath the surface of description, all that is inborn, cannot be taught--but you can teach people how to read, how to develop judgment about a piece of writing: their own as well as that of others." From The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative (2001)

"Penetrating the familiar is by no means a given. On the contrary, it is hard, hard work." From The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative (2001)

"Being a housewife is an illegitimate profession... The choice to serve and be protected and plan towards being a family-maker is a choice that shouldn't be. The heart of radical feminism is to change that." From The Daily Illini (25 April 1981)

Partial bibliography[edit]

  • In Search of Ali Mahmoud: an American Woman in Egypt (1973, Saturday Review Press)
  • The Romance of American Communism (1977)
  • Essays in Feminism (1978)
  • Women in Science: 100 Journeys into the Territory (1983)
  • Fierce Attachments: A Memoir (1987, FSG)
  • Approaching Eye Level (1996)
  • The End of the Novel of Love (1997, Beacon Press)
  • The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative (2001, FSG)
  • The Solitude of Self: Thinking About Elizabeth Cady Stanton (2005, FSG)
  • The Men in My Life (2008, MIT Press) [National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for criticism]
  • Women in Science: Then and Now (2009, The Feminist Press at CUNY)
  • The Ancient Dream (Sep/Oct 2010, Boston Review)
  • Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life. (2011, Yale University Press)


  1. ^ Library of Congress authority file (accessed 2 June 2013).

External links[edit]