LIONEL TRILLING THE LIBERAL IMAGINATION PDF

Add to Cart About The Liberal Imagination The Liberal Imagination is one of the most admired and influential works of criticism of the last century, a work that is not only a masterpiece of literary criticism but an important statement about politics and society. Only the imagination, Trilling argues, can give us access and insight into these realms and only the imagination can ground a reflective and considered, rather than programmatic and dogmatic, liberalism. Writing with acute intelligence about classics like Huckleberry Finn and the novels of Henry James and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but also on such varied matters as the Kinsey Report and money in the American imagination, Trilling presents a model of the critic as both part of and apart from his society, a defender of the reflective life that, in our ever more rationalized world, seems ever more necessary—and ever more remote. About The Liberal Imagination The Liberal Imagination is one of the most admired and influential works of criticism of the last century, a work that is not only a masterpiece of literary criticism but an important statement about politics and society.

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In , he graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School , and, at age 16, entered Columbia University , thus beginning a lifelong association with the university. In he married Diana Rubin, and the two began a lifelong literary partnership. In he returned to Columbia to pursue his doctoral degree in English literature and to teach literature. He earned his doctorate in with a dissertation about Matthew Arnold that he later published. He was promoted to full professor in In , he was selected by the National Endowment for the Humanities to deliver the first Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, described as "the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

In his preface to the essays collection, Beyond Culture , Trilling defended the New York Intellectuals: "As a group, it is busy and vivacious about ideas, and, even more, about attitudes.

Its assiduity constitutes an authority. The structure of our society is such that a class of this kind is bound by organic filaments to groups less culturally fluent that are susceptible to its influence. Trilling later acknowledged that the character was inspired by his Columbia College compatriot and contemporary Whittaker Chambers [6] [7].

His short stories include "The Other Margaret. Critic David Daiches said of Trilling, "Mr. Trilling likes to move out and consider the implications, the relevance for culture, for civilization, for the thinking man today, of each particular literary phenomenon which he contemplates, and this expansion of the context gives him both his moments of his greatest perceptions, and his moments of disconcerting generalization.

Forster , both written in response to a concern with "the tradition of humanistic thought and the intellectual middle class which believes it continues this tradition. In Sincerity and Authenticity , he explores the ideas of the moral self in post- Enlightenment Western civilization. In , Columbia University Press published an unfinished novel that Trilling had abandoned in the late s. Of ideologies, Trilling wrote, "Ideology is not the product of thought; it is the habit or the ritual of showing respect for certain formulas to which, for various reasons having to do with emotional safety, we have very strong ties and of whose meaning and consequences in actuality we have no clear understanding.

For it is the plain fact that nowadays there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation. This does not mean, of course, that there is no impulse to conservatism or to reaction. Such impulses are certainly very strong, perhaps even stronger than most of us know. But the conservative impulse and the reactionary impulse do not, with some isolated and some ecclesiastical exceptions, express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.

The extent to which Trilling may be identified with neoconservativism continues to be contentious, forming a point of debate. An absolute responsibility — that much of a divine or metaphysical essence none of us is. Along the same lines, in reply to a taunt by Richard Sennett , "You have no position; you are always in between," Trilling replied, "Between is the only honest place to be.

New York: Viking Press.

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Lionel Trilling

In , he graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School , and, at age 16, entered Columbia University , thus beginning a lifelong association with the university. In he married Diana Rubin, and the two began a lifelong literary partnership. In he returned to Columbia to pursue his doctoral degree in English literature and to teach literature. He earned his doctorate in with a dissertation about Matthew Arnold that he later published. He was promoted to full professor in In , he was selected by the National Endowment for the Humanities to deliver the first Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, described as "the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities. In his preface to the essays collection, Beyond Culture , Trilling defended the New York Intellectuals: "As a group, it is busy and vivacious about ideas, and, even more, about attitudes.

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Lionel Trilling and The Liberal Imagination

I love that Trilling insists on the social, political and moral mission of literature out of a love for art, out of a feel for its centrality, and without ever scolding writers, as is the tic of too many social-minded critics, for disdaining bald polemic and the other artless travesties of true engagement. On the contrary, the idiosyncratic perceptual sophistication of the Jamesian novel, its "moral realism" about the cost and complexity of any action, are What a subtle and scrupulous intellect! There are times when, as the method of Perseus with Medusa suggests, you do well not to look straight at what you are dealing with but rather to see it in the mirror-shield that the hero carried. The task Trilling undertakes in so many of these essays is to clear a space for imaginative literature amidst the ideological allegiances of the educated classes.

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