Paul Goodman (1911–1972) was an American social critic, psychologist, poet, novelist, and anarchist. His writings appeared in Politics, Partisan Review, The New Republic, Commentary, The New Leader, Dissent, and The New York Review of Books. He published several well-regarded books in a variety of fields—including city planning, Gestalt therapy, literary criticism, and politics—before Growing Up Absurd, cancelled by its original publisher and turned down by a number of other presses, was brought out by Random House in 1960.

IN THE REVIEW

Politics Within Limits

  1. My social ideas are temperamentally mine—I have not really changed them in forty years—but they do not derive logically from my biases, as a doctrine. I would abhor a politics, pedagogy, or town-planning that was deduced from metaphysics or epistemology, or even scientifically deduced, rather than being pragmatic …

The Sweet Style of Ernest Hemingway

It is an exaggeration to say that the language determines the metaphysics of the tribe and what people can think—the so-called “Whorfian hypothesis.” Language is checked by unverbalized experience. Language itself is plastic and says new things when necessary. People do manage to communicate across the barrier of language and …

What Rights Should Children Have?

Children are an awkward subject for politics. Essays “toward the liberation of the child,” the subtitle of the well-rounded collection of essays on Children’s Rights, always take contradictory tacks. Children should have “rights as full human beings,” no different from those of adults: they should be able to vote, make …

On Not Speaking

It makes a difference whether people don’t speak or speak. I don’t agree with the remark of Sapir, If one says, “Lend me a dollar,” I may hand it over without a word or I may give it with an accompanying “Here it is.” Each of these responses is structurally …