Vivian Gornick Quotes

Enjoy the top 60 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Vivian Gornick.

Vivian Gornick Quotes

Psychoanalysis showed me that I might be neurotic because I was a girl but, as Chekhov might have put it, I alone had to squeeze the slave out of myself, drop by drop.
— Vivian Gornick —

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

— Vivian Gornick

The point of women's liberation is not to stand at the door of the male world, beating our fists, and crying, 'Let me in, damn you, let me in!' The point is to walk away from the world and concentrate on creating a new woman.

— Vivian Gornick

The older I grow, the more I realize how unfit we are for relationships. We are all such antagonists. It's part of the human condition to be deeply unfaithful to constancy. I do believe that.

— Vivian Gornick

Love can't be a metaphor anymore. If you try to make literature out of it, it doesn't work.

— Vivian Gornick

The difference between me in my work and the me who is here in front of you is that on the page I create a consistency, a voice that must sound really reliable; whereas in person I am free - obviously! - to sound every which way.

— Vivian Gornick

Before I knew that I was Jewish or a girl I knew that I was a member of the working class. At a time when I had not yet grasped the significance of the fact that in my house English was a second language, or that I wore dresses while my brother wore pants, I knew
and I knew it was important to know
that Papa worked hard all day long.

— Vivian Gornick

How dominating is appetite, how enveloping immediate experience! Even the philosophically minded among us capitulate, ultimately, to the narrowest sense of personal need. Political time moves at a snail's pace because it is only with nearly insurmountable difficulty that moral discomfort takes root in the best of people, forcing an imperative out of a complaint; so viscerally repugnant is it for a critical mass to find the prevailing system unbearable, much less prepare to take up arms against it.

— Vivian Gornick

Self-possession is the ability to face without fear life in all its contradictions.

— Vivian Gornick

The whole sickening trickery in life
the idea that one cannot fight for one's humanity without, ironically, losing it ... that trickery is the real enemy and the very essence of the thing we must continually be on our guard against.

— Vivian Gornick

When cafe life thrives, talk is a shared limberness of the mind that improves appetite for conversation: an adequate sentence maker is then made good, a good one excellent, an excellent one extraordinary.

— Vivian Gornick

I once wrote a book on women in science. I realized when I was interviewing them that they were the equivalent of writers, or anyone else who tries to make art out of life. Through science they had reached the expressive.

— Vivian Gornick

You are the instrument of your own illumination.

— Vivian Gornick

Whatever a scientist is doing - reading, cooking, talking, playing - science thoughts are always there at the edge of the mind. They are the way the world is taken in; all that is seen is filtered through an everpresent scientific musing.

— Vivian Gornick

Women occupy, in great masses, the 'household tasks' of industry. They are nurses but not doctors, secretaries but not executives, researchers but not writers, workers but not managers, bookkeepers but not promoters.

— Vivian Gornick

Widowhood provided Mama with a higher form of being. In refusing to recover from my father's death she had discovered that her life was endowed with a seriousness her years in the kitchen had denied her. She remained devoted to this seriousness for thirty years. She never tired of it, never grew bored or restless in its company, found new ways to keep alive the interest it deserved and had so undeniably earned.

— Vivian Gornick

We cannot depend on change, but we can depend on surprise. However, we cannot always depend on surprise either. This keeps us on our toes.

— Vivian Gornick

For the integrated human being there is no past: there is only the continual transformation of original experience.

— Vivian Gornick

Just as once upon a time you could make the experience of religion or nature a great metaphor, so now it is with love. It's just not the kind of thing you can put at the center of a work of literature and have it really reveal us to ourselves.

— Vivian Gornick

It seems that fiction no longer produces work that makes one feel the human condition deeply.

— Vivian Gornick

The desire for narration keeps on reasserting itself, so that since modernism and fiction brought narration to an end, it is sought in memoirs.

— Vivian Gornick

We all grew up so utterly vulnerable, enthralled by romantic love as we knew it. First of all, it was pounded into you every which way that you've got to get married and you've got to have babies. That you're not a natural woman if you don't. So that led to a lot of sitting by the telephone and waiting for a call. And that led you into a culture in which you were always in a subordinate position without realizing it; hamstrung, not able to take action. That was the most important thing: you were always waiting to be desired.

— Vivian Gornick

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