Paul Goodman gave the 24th and final lecture in the Wimmer Memorial Lecture Series in 1970. The book, Silence, Speaking and Language was published the following year. A very limited number of original hardcover editions (fewer than 20) of this 52-page book was discovered during a building renovation and are now available.
Goodman (1911–1972) was an American writer and intellectual best known for his 1960s works of social criticism.
He was prolific across numerous literary genres and non-fiction topics, including the arts, civil rights, decentralization, democracy, education, media, politics, psychology, technology, urban planning, and war. As a humanist, his works often addressed a common theme of the individual citizen’s duties in the larger society, and the responsibility to exercise autonomy, act creatively, and realize one’s own human nature.
Born to a Jewish family in New York City, Goodman was raised by his aunts and sister and attended City College of New York. As an aspiring writer, he wrote and published poems and fiction before receiving his doctorate from the University of Chicago. He returned to writing in New York City and took sporadic magazine writing and teaching jobs. He co-wrote the theory behind Gestalt therapy based on Wilhelm Reich’s radical Freudianism and held psychoanalytic sessions through the 1950s while continuing to write prolifically.
His 1960 book of social criticism, Growing Up Absurd, established his importance as a mainstream cultural theorist. Goodman became known as “the philosopher of the New Left” and his anarchistic disposition was influential in 1960s counterculture and the free school movement. Despite being the foremost American intellectual of non-Marxist radicalism in his time, his celebrity did not endure far beyond his life. Goodman is remembered for his utopian proposals and principled belief in human potential.