Personal Independence

So strongly do I believe in the freedom to read and the freedom to write that never have I tried to censor myself or anyone else. Nothing is ipso facto “unpublishable”—just unpublished, only temporarily, may I hope. I've never forewarned that anything written or said by me was “off the record.” May I hope, and this is more important, that I never withheld a truth.

“Telling the Truth” (2010)

[George P.] Elliott may have spent too much time among careerists to believe what I shall now say; but I happen to be a writer not particularly affiliated with any point-of-view, magazine, or clique; and I can easily escape from any pigeonhole he would use to confine me. Although I have contributed to the Partisan, Sewanee, Hudson and Kenyon reviews, as well as Midstream and Commonweal, and other magazines besides, I find it rather difficult to get my dearest pieces published and impossible to develop any continuous arrangements. I enormously resent the cliquish character of the American literary scene and, to judge from my recent mail, so do many of my contemporaries. Indeed, an antipathy to all exclusive and self-aggrandizing coteries, rather than to the Jewish-American movement alone, was the ultimate origin of my attack. Got it?

Hudson Review (Winter 1966-67)

With few professional cemeteries to defend, I can from an independent position expose people and institutions of all kinds for failing to realize what they pretend to be or are commonly understood to be. I'm still the snotty little kid, too big for my age, noticing not that this emperor is too conservative or too radical but that, look, he has no clothes.

Skeptical Essays (2010)