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Drawing the Line Once Again

Paul Goodman et al.

Paul Goodman’s Anarchist Writings

In this new PM Press initiative, Paul Goodman’s literary executor Taylor Stoehr has gathered together nine core texts from his anarchist legacy for future generations.

Five years after his death in 1972, Paul Goodman was characterized by anarchist historian George Woodcock as “the only truly seminal libertarian thinker in our generation.” In this new PM Press initiative, Goodman’s literary executor Taylor Stoehr has gathered together nine core texts from his anarchist legacy to future generations.
Here will be found the “utopian essays and practical proposals” that inspired the dissident youth of the Sixties, influencing movement theory and practice so profoundly that they have become underlying assumptions of today’s radicalism. Goodman’s analyses of citizenship and civil disobedience, decentralism and the organized system, show him Drawing the Line Once Again, mindful of the long anarchist tradition, and especially of the Jeffersonian democracy that resonated strongly in his own political thought. This is a deeply American book, a potent antidote to US global imperialism and domestic anomie.

“Paul Goodman has been one of the few integrated and hence liberated people of our age… He may well have been the only truly seminal libertarian thinker in our generation.”
– George Woodcock, historian of anarchism

“Paul Goodman brought a new invigorating stream into American anarchism, simply through his insistence that in all the problems of daily life we are faced with the possibility of choice between authoritarian and libertarian solutions. Taylor Stoehr’s sympathetic editing introduces Goodman’s social criticism to a new generation.”
– Colin Ward, community planner and public intellectual

“When I get confused about what is happening and what to do about it, I miss Paul’s eager and perceptive counsel… The important thing about Paul is that he raises the right questions. The fact that most of his answers are brilliant gives the reader an extra bonus.”
– Dave Dellinger, peace activist and founder of Liberation magazine

“The core of Goodman’s politics was his definition of anarchism…look not to the state for solutions but discover them for yourselves…He most passionately believed that man must not commit treason against himself, whatever the state—capitalist, socialist, et al—commands.”
–Nat Hentoff, The Village Voice

Paul Goodman, known in his day as “the philosopher of the New Left,” set the agenda for the youth movement of the Sixties with his best-selling Growing Up Absurd. He produced new books every year throughout that turbulent decade, while lecturing to hundreds of audiences on the nation’s campuses, covering subjects that ranged from movement politics to education and community planning; from psychotherapy and religion to literature, language theory, and media. There was little that did not fall within his purview as an old-fashioned “man of letters.” During this same heady period of his fame he also published his public letters and his journals, the Living Theatre performed his plays, his poems were set to music, and his fiction was chosen for book club distribution. America’s most celebrated public intellectual at the time of his death in 1972, his work still resonates for our own times of national crisis.

Taylor Stoehr, Paul Goodman’s friend and literary executor, has edited many volumes of his fiction, poetry, and social commentary. He has published numerous studies of Goodman’s writings on community planning, media, literature, psychotherapy, and radical politics; and his book Here Now Next tells the story of how today’s widespread Gestalt movement grew out of cross-fertilizing conversations between Goodman, the theorist, and Fritz and Lore Perls the practitioners, of a daring new therapeutic experiment. A professor of English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Stoehr is also the author of half a dozen other books of literary and cultural criticism, and translator of two collections of poetry.

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