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Trilling, Lionel (1905–75)


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


American literary critic and essayist. A Columbia professor linked to the Partisan Review group of “New York intellectuals,” he expressed the cultural anxieties of a rational L iberalism under threat from modern irrationalisms, seeking reasonable compromises between self and society. Like L eavis , but far less dogmatically, he engaged in M oral criticism and placed L iterary criticism at the center of liberal C ulture . His critical studies of A rnold and Forster admire their flexibly tolerant attitudes. His essays, notably in The Liberal Imagination ( 1950 ), explore the relationships between literature, morality, and politics; some also consider subtly the cultural implications of F reud's work. 1977 : Lionel Trilling: Negative Capability and the Wisdom of Avoidance . 1980 : Lionel Trilling Criticism and Politics . ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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