Author: Vivian Gornick

  • On the Progress of Feminism

    The light of liberation can be blinding The women’s movement has been under fire from the moment it drew its first breath. It’s enemies and detractors are many, though often they pose, in their own minds, as supporters — “Yes, yes, there is much justification in what you are saying, but good God! those awful women […]

  • A Fierce Attachment

    A Mother and Daughter, Living Their Lives I’m eight years old. My mother and I come out of our apartment onto the second­-floor landing. Mrs. Drucker is standing in the open doorway of the apartment next door, smoking a cigarette. My mother locks the door and says to her, “What are you doing here?” Mrs. […]

  • An Ofay’s Indirect Address to LeRoi Jones

    The Press of Freedom: An Ofay’s Indirect Address to LeRoi Jones March 4, 1965 Four men — each a well-known practitioner of one of the arts — appeared on a recent Monday night in the small basement room of the Village Vanguard to address an overflowing crowd on the grandly entitled subject “Art vs. Politics.” […]

  • Jack Kerouac: ‘The Night and What It Does to You’

    Jack Kerouac: ‘The Night And What It Does to You’ October 30, 1969 LOWELL, Massachusetts­ — Jack Kerouac, the man who unwillingly named a generational sensibility and wrote an American classic, died on Tuesday, October 21. He was buried here on Friday, October 24, and I went up with mingled feelings (warmth, regret, a patronizing […]

  • Pop Goes Homosexual: It’s a Queer Hand Stoking the Campfire

    Andy Warhol in front of Cow Wallpaper in Vivian Gornick article

    Pop Goes Homosexual: It’s a Queer Hand Stoking the Campfire Last August there appeared on the cover of the magazine One a photograph of a young man dressed as an ancient Roman warrior in a toga and thonged sandal-shoes; on the floor beside his chair there stand a sword, a helmet, a shield. His hair […]

  • A Ride on the New York Subway

    December 21, 1972The New York subways are, and always have been, a kind of Kafkaesque parallel to the life that is lived above ground on the streets of the most quintessential city in the world. Each working day of their lives, millions of New Yorkers “willingly” descend hundreds of feet, through huge manholes in the […]

  • Toward a Definition of the Female Sensibility

    Not so very many years ago educated and talented women were pleased to be told they wrote or thought like men, and often — in mixed company — they argued hotly that there was no such thing as a “female” mind or a “female” sensibility: there were only writers or non-writers, thinkers or non-thinkers.… Today, […]

  • Rosa Luxemburg’s Theory of Revolution

    Rosa Luxemburg’s Theory of Revolution March 1987 When I was a child, and Rosa Luxem­burg’s name was spoken, I heard a thrill of awe in the speaker’s voice. Who was she? I asked. A great socialist, I was told. She criti­cized Lenin, she was assassinated. For years I thought the Soviets had murdered her. I […]

  • Women’s Liberation: The Next Great Moment in History Is Theirs

    One evening not too long ago, at the home of a well-educated and extremely intelligent couple I know, I mentioned the women’s liberation movement and was mildly astonished by the response the subject received. The man said: “Jesus, what is all that crap about?” The woman, a scientist who had given up 10 working years […]