The Men in My Life
Vivian Gornick, one of our finest critics, tackled the theme of love and marriage in her last collection of essays, The End of the Novel of Love, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. In this new collection, she turns her attention to another large theme in literature: the struggle for the semblance of inner freedom. Great literature, she believes, is not the record of the achievement, but of the effort.Gornick, who emerged as a major writer during the second-wave feminist movement, came to realize that "ideology alone could not purge one of the pathological self-doubt that seemed every woman's bitter birthright." Or, as Anton Chekhov put it so memorably: "Others made me a slave, but I must squeeze the slave out of myself, drop by drop." Perhaps surprisingly, Gornick found particular inspiration for this challenge in the work of male writers -- talented, but locked in perpetual rage, self-doubt, or social exile. From these men -- who had infinitely more permission to do and be than women had ever known -- she learned what it really meant to wrestle with demons. In the essays collected here, she explores the work of V. S. Naipaul, James Baldwin, George Gissing, Randall Jarrell, H. G. Wells, Loren Eiseley, Allen Ginsberg, Hayden Carruth, Saul Bellow, and Philip Roth. Throughout the book, Gornick is at her best: interpreting the intimate interrelationship of emotional damage, social history, and great literature.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
acter alive Allen Ginsberg American Andre Dubus anxiety Auden Augie March Barfoot Beats became began born Brenda brilliant character comes culture depression Dubus Dubus’s Edith emotional essays experience extraordinary eyes fantasy feel felt Frank friends George Gissing Gissing Gissing’s Harry Bogen hated Herzog human imagine inner inside insight intellectual James Baldwin Jane Jarrell’s Jewish Jewish-American writing Jews Kerouac kind knew language literary literature lives loneliness looking Loren Eiseley marriage marry metaphor Monica Moura Moura Budberg Naipaul narrator ness never novel once one’s passion Philip Roth piece poems poet politics Portnoy Portnoy’s Complaint prose protagonist Randall Jarrell Raymond Carver reader realize Rhoda Nunn Richard Ford Roth’s Saul Bellow says seems sense sentence sexual social speaking spirit story struggle talk tells There’s things thought tion turn V. S. Naipaul voice W. H. Auden wanted Wells’s Widdowson wife woman women wrote