Growing Up Absurd: Problems of Youth in the Organized Society

Growing Up Absurd: Problems of Youth in the Organized Society

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Overview

Paul Goodman’s Growing Up Absurd was a runaway best seller when it was first published in 1960, and it became one of the defining texts of the New Left. Goodman was a writer and thinker who broke every mold and did it brilliantly—he was a novelist, poet, and a social theorist, among a host of other things—and the book’s surprise success established him as one of America’s most unusual and trenchant critics, combining vast learning, an astute mind, utopian sympathies, and a wonderfully hands-on way with words.

For Goodman, the unhappiness of young people was a concentrated form of the unhappiness of American society as a whole, run by corporations that provide employment (if and when they do) but not the kind of meaningful work that engages body and soul. Goodman saw the young as the first casualties of a humanly re­pressive social and economic system and, as such, the front line of potential resistance.

Noam Chomsky has said, “Paul Goodman’s impact is all about us,” and certainly it can be felt in the powerful localism of today’s renascent left. A classic of anarchist thought, Growing Up Absurd not only offers a penetrating indictment of the human costs of corporate capitalism but points the way forward. It is a tale of yesterday’s youth that speaks directly to our common future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590175965
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 12/13/2011
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 521,374
File size: 360 KB

About the Author

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.

Casey Nelson Blake is Professor of History and American Studies at Columbia University and the author of several studies in American intellectual and cultural history. He writes regularly for Commonweal, Dissent, Raritan, and other publications.

Susan Sontag (1933–2004) was a novelist, playwright, filmmaker, and one of the most influential critics of her generation. Her books include Against Interpretation, On Photography, Illness as Metaphor, and The Volcano Lover.

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