Jun 24, 2023

to have the last word

Adam Shatz, on his collected essay collection called Writers and Missionaries: Essays on the Radical Imagination:

Mary-Kay Wilmers, who edited many of these pieces for the London Review of Books, once told me she did not publish a certain writer I admired because he wrote to have the last word on a topic, rather than to open it up. A good essay, she said, should make room for another one on the same subject. With her guidance, I learned to resist the temptation to have the last word.