“I go along with Albert Camus, who famously said, ‘The responsibility of the writer is to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,’ ” Matthiessen said. “And that’s always been kind of my informal motto.”
Listening to the soundtrack of my life this weekend (Yes. NPR. I am that person.) I caught the above quote from Peter Mattheissen, who died on Saturday, on a replay of his 1989 Fresh Air interview. He was fascinating for many reasons—for instance, when he founded The Paris Review (with George Plimpton) it was tied in with his stint at the CIA, using the magazine as a cover for his spying activities. Then, he moved dramatically to the left politically.