Paul Goodman Quotes

Here we have the beautiful British compromise: a man can say anything, he mustn't do anything; a man can listen to anything, but he musn't be roused to do anything. By freedom of speech is meant freedom to talk about; speech is not saying-as-an-action.
Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. literary author, critic. "Censorship and Pornography on the Stage."
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There is such a thing as food and such a thing as poison. But the damage done by those who pass off poison as food is far less than that done by those who generation after generation convince people that food is poison.
Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. author, poet, critic. "Ireland, Spring 1958," sct. 2, Five Years (1966).
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Comedy deflates the sense precisely so that the underlying lubricity and malice may bubble to the surface.
Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. literary critic, author. repr. In Creator Spirit Come (1977). "Obsessed by Theatre," Nation (New York, Nov. 29, 1958).
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Faced with even a temporary delay or absence, children pound and scream and bawl; but as soon as the situation changes, they are bafflingly sunny, and take their gratification with relish, or feel secure again when mother returns. It is said that "children cannot wait," but just the contrary is true. It is children who can wait, by making dramatic scenes (not otherwise than religious people get through hours of stress by singing hymns). They have a spontaneous mechanism to cushion even minor troubles. Rather it is the adults who have inhibited their spontaneous expression, who cannot wait; we swallow our disappointment and always taste what we have swallowed. For where the occasions of passion occur, where there is actual frustration and misery, and yet anger and grief are not explosively released, then the disposition itself is soured, and such happiness as follows is never full and unclouded.
Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. poet, critic. "On the Intellectual Inhibition of Explosive Grief and Anger," Utopian Essays and Practical Proposals, Random House (1962).
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What the devil to do with the sentence "Who the devil does he think he's fooling?" You can't write "Whom the devil—"
Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. author, poet, critic. "September to December 1958," sct. 2, Five Years (1966).
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When the Devil quotes Scriptures, it's not, really, to deceive, but simply that the masses are so ignorant of theology that somebody has to teach them the elementary texts before he can seduce them.
Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. author, poet, critic. "Spring and Summer 1956," sct. 6, Five Years (1966).
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To translate, one must have a style of his own, for otherwise the translation will have no rhythm or nuance, which come from the process of artistically thinking through and molding the sentences; they cannot be reconstituted by piecemeal imitation. The problem of translation is to retreat to a simpler tenor of one's own style and creatively adjust this to one's author.
Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. author, poet, critic. "Summer 1957, in Europe," sct. 8, Five Years (1966).
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For mankind, speech with a capital S is especially meaningful and committing, more than the content communicated. The outcry of the newborn and the sound of the bells are fraught with mystery more than the baby's woeful face or the venerable tower.
Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. author, poet, critic. "Summer 1957, in Europe," sct. 3, Five Years (1966).
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The important thing about travel in foreign lands is that it breaks the speech habits and makes you blab less, and breaks the habitual space-feeling because of different village plans and different landscapes. It is less important that there are different mores, for you counteract these with your own reaction- formations.
Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. author, poet, critic. "Summer 1957, in Europe," sct. 3, Five Years (1966).
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When a village ceases to be a community, it becomes oppressive in its narrow conformity. So one becomes an individual and migrates to the city. There, finding others likeminded, one re- establishes a village community. Nowadays only New Yorkers are yokels.
Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. author, poet, critic. "Winter and Spring 1956-1957," sct. 8, Five Years (1966).
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