“Put on the Diamonds,” with Vivian Gornick and Sigrid Nunez | Harper's Magazine

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On the act of eating one’s words (and worse): Vivian Gornick and Sigrid Nunez discuss the experience of humiliation

Memoirist and critic Vivian Gornick joins Violet Lucca to discuss Gornick’s essay “Put on the Diamonds” with novelist Sigrid Nunez, whose review of Italo Svevo’s A Very Old Man also runs in the October issue. Together Gornick and Nunez consider the inescapable evil that is humiliation; the unevenness of power; its connections to vulnerability and vengefulness; and the dire need to think well of ourselves. Later they unpack the concept of “sturdiness” in one’s voice and discover the lines in storytelling through a surrogated versus an unsurrogated self.

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