Taking a Long Look: Essays on Culture, Literature and Feminism in Our Time

Vivian Gornick. Verso, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-78873-977-1
This parade of greatest hits from Gornick (Unfinished Business) spans the essayist’s career as a literary and cultural critic. The pieces, organized from newest to oldest, cover 40 years and are organized into four sections: literature, culture, “Two New York Stories,” and “Essays in Feminism.” Gornick’s writing on literature covers such figures as “iconized” Herman Melville, “frighteningly clever” Mary McCarthy, and Kathleen Collins, whose voice in her posthumous Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? “explore[d] the astonishment of human existence.” The essays on culture unite around themes of justice, including Hannah Arendt’s writing on Jewish persecution, the environmentalist awakening led by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and how Uncle Tom’s Cabin proves “that politics and literature are inextricably bound.” The concluding section revisits Gornick’s work from the 1970s on “the earliest stages of feminist formulation,” such as an essay on early consciousness raising groups. Gornick skillfully reads authors’ lives and work, observing “how good writing struggles to emerge from the inner chaos with which we all live,” and she writes with precision and a voice that is dry yet deeply humane. Gornick’s collection is illuminating­ and a welcome addition to the astute critic’s oeuvre. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 11/06/2020
Release date: 03/16/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-78873-979-5
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