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eBook The Liberal Imagination (New York Review Books Classics) ePub

by Louis Menand,Lionel Trilling

eBook The Liberal Imagination (New York Review Books Classics) ePub
Author: Louis Menand,Lionel Trilling
Language: English
ISBN: 1590172833
ISBN13: 978-1590172834
Publisher: NYRB Classics; Main edition (September 23, 2008)
Pages: 320
Category: History & Criticism
Subcategory: Literature
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 336
Formats: txt rtf doc mbr
ePub file: 1413 kb
Fb2 file: 1416 kb

Louis Menand is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of English at Harvard University, and a staff writer at The New Yorker.

The author "shows that literature is relevant to politics not because it affirms any political doctrine but because it provides a corrective to any political ideology whatsoever. Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). Louis Menand is the Anne T. He is the author of Discovering Modernism, The Metaphysical Club and American Studies.

Lionel Trilling was so compelling that he mesmerized many of his Columbia students for life, away from what he regarded as the illusions about progress fostered by the liberal imagination. One of the most important literary critics of mid-20th century America. The Wall Street Journal. After his death, Lionel Trilling still exerts great influence on the landscape of American culture.

His books include The Marketplace of Ideas, American Studies and The Metaphysical Club. Bass Professor of English at Harvard. The Liberal Imagination. His books include The Marketplace of Ideas, American Studies and The Metaphysical Club. Home Louis Menand Page 1 of 1. Masscult and Midcult. Memoirs of Hecate County.

Louis Menand is the Anne T. Bass Professor of English at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. He is the author of Discovering Modernism, The Metaphysical Club, American Studies, and The Marketplace of Ideas.

Lionel Trilling (1905-1975) was an American literary critic, author, and University Professor at Columbia University. Among the most influential of his many works are two collections of essays, The Liberal Imagination and The Opposing Self; a critical study of . Forster; and one novel, The Middle of the Journey.

In his introduction Louis Menand calls The Liberal Imagination a "Cold War book," which unfortunately makes Trilling sound like some former Trotskyite reborn as a Neocon

by. Lionel Trilling, Louis Menand (Introduction). In his introduction Louis Menand calls The Liberal Imagination a "Cold War book," which unfortunately makes Trilling sound like some former Trotskyite reborn as a Neocon.

The Liberal Imagination: Essays on Literature and Society (1950) is a collection of sixteen essays by American literary critic Lionel Trilling, published by Viking in 1950.

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Lionel Trilling was married to the writer and critic Diana Trilling

Publication City/Country New York, United States. Lionel Trilling was married to the writer and critic Diana Trilling.

This page contains details about the Nonfiction book The Liberal Imagination by Lionel Trilling published in 1950. This book is the 51st greatest Nonfiction book of all time as determined by thegreatestbooks.

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. Published in 1950, one of the chillier moments of the Cold War, Trilling’s essays examine the promise —and limits—of liberalism, challenging the complacency of a naïve liberal belief in rationality, progress, and the panaceas of economics and other social sciences, and asserting in their stead the irreducible complexity of human motivation and the tragic inevitability of tragedy. 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.
Little Devil
Publication date: 1950

Lionel Trilling was a professor at Columbia, and the familiarity with the "Great Books" engendered by teaching the Common Core is evident on nearly every page. Thus he invokes Stendhal in an essay on Sherwood Anderson, and, in an essay on Huckleberry Finn, he brings up Moliere:

"... In form and style Huckleberry Finn is an almost perfect work. Only one mistake has ever been charged against it, that it concludes with Tom Sawyer’s elaborate, too elaborate, game of Jim’s escape. Certainly this episode is too long—in the original draft it was much longer—and certainly it is a falling off, as almost anything would have to be, from the incidents of the river. Yet it has a certain formal aptness— like, say, that of the Turkish initiation which brings Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme to its close."

... which has always struck me as somewhat far-fetched, although it has stuck in my mind for more than twenty years.

The essay on The Kinsey Report, which certainly contributed to the surprise best-sellerdom of this uncompromisingly highbrow book, has some of Trilling's funniest remarks, and shows that with a little common sense, an intelligent layman can prick holes in the methodology of 'social science,' and that literary criticism need not feel subservient to anyone in a lab coat.

Here is the opening of the magnificent "Tacitus Now":

The histories of Tacitus have been put to strange uses. The princelings of Renaissance Italy consulted the Annals on how to behave with the duplicity of Tiberius. The German racists overlooked all the disagreeable things which Tacitus observed of their ancestors, took note only of his praise of the ancient chastity and independence, and thus made of the Germania their anthropological primer. But these are the aberrations; the influence of Tacitus in Europe has been mainly in the service of liberty, as he intended it to be. Perhaps this influence has been most fully felt in France, where, under the dictatorships both of the Jacobins and of Napoleon, Tacitus was regarded as a dangerously subversive writer. In America, however, he has never meant a great deal. James Fenimore Cooper is an impressive exception to our general indifference, but Cooper was temperamentally attracted by the very one of all the qualities of Tacitus which is likely to alienate most American liberals, the aristocratic color of his libertarian ideas.

In a sense, this book is almost too rich. Many times I have put this book aside, and turned to more immediately lovable critics of this era, like Leslie Fiedler or Randall Jarrell. Ultimately, however, it is Trilling who looms largest:

"... We are creatures of time, we are creatures of the historical sense, not only as men have always been but in a new way since the time of Walter Scott. Possibly this may be for the worse; we would perhaps be stronger if we believed that Now contained all things, and that we in our barbarian moment were all that had ever been. Without the sense of the past we might be more certain, less weighted down and apprehensive. We might also be less generous, and certainly we would be less aware. In any case, we have the sense of the past and must live with it, and by it."
Don't think they make them like Trilling any more - great writers with deep knowledge of the country, its literature and arts, and how they reflect certain values. Of course, now our country does not value great art or thinking, and it shows in our corrupted "values" which consist mainly of mammon-like materialism. sigh.) wish trilling was here to document it all - and maybe give us some hope. But read it! You will come away feeling like you have been in the best company possible!
Perhaps because I came to this book late, after hearing much of its reputation, I found my self nit-picking as I read. And yet I found the author's augments and turn-of-phrase would stick with me long after I closed the book. He makes a compelling case on every subject he touches. And the result for the lover of literature (and of ideas, generally) is to sharpen and deepen that love. How Trillng does that is; much like the critical attribute he ascribes to literary art, surprising. This is a great book.
You want to read a book written by the master? This is it. As relevant today as when it was published. I would have given anything to study with Lionel Trilling.
Any argument made that demeans the study of literature? Trilling beats them senseless in this volume.
Simply put, there's no better argument for the political and social relevance of literature. This is Trilling at his best. Stylistically, it's also a pleasure to read. Deservedly, one of the classics of 20th century literature. I've been re-reading it every five years or so since leaving college - time well-spent, for no one writes like Trilling any more.
One of the great set of essays on the novel. Many of Trilling's essays are worth reading multiple time, for example, his essay here on Hukleberry Finn.
good book
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