The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent: Selected Essays

– Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2008. Original edition: New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000.
Summary: Bringing together the thoughts of one of American literature’s sharpest cultural critics, this compendium will open the eyes of a whole new audience to the work of Lionel Trilling.  Trilling was a strenuous thinker who was proud to think “too… More

Speaking of Literature and Society

– Trilling, Diana, ed. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980.
Summary: “Diana Trilling selected pieces from her husband’s previously uncollected writings covering the wide range of Trilling’s concerns from his undergraduate days through his final years.” Contents: The Poems of Emily… More

The Last Decade: Essays and Reviews, 1965-1975

– Ed. Diana Trilling. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979.
Summary: “Pieces written during the last ten years of Trilling’s life include important statements on Joyce, Austen, and Freud, a probing investigation of modern art, a memoir of Trilling’s acquaintance with Whittaker Chambers, and the… More

“Of This Time, Of That Place” and Other Stories

– Trilling, Diana, compiler. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979.
Summary: “Five modern stories reveal the imagination and sensitivity of a preeminent literary critic toward the plight of the mentally ill and racial, religious, and economic minorities.” Contents: “Impediments” “The Other… More

The Oxford Anthology of English Literature: Romantic Poetry and Prose

– Edited by Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973.
This volume devotes over 100 pages to William Blake, including The Book of Thel and the entire “Night the Ninth” from The Four Zoas, as well as excerpts fromMilton and Jerusalem. It also includes poems and prose by Wordsworth, Coleridge,… More

Sincerity and Authenticity

– The Carles Eliot Norton Lectures, 1969-1970. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972.
Summary: “Now and then,” writes Lionel Triling “it is possible to observe the moral life in process of revising itself.” In this new book he is concerned with such a mutation: the process by which the arduous enterprise of sincerity,… More

Literary Criticism: An Introductory Reader

– Edited with a Preface and Introduction by Lionel Trilling. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.
This anthology contains an introduction published as an essay in The Last Decade: Essays and Reviews, 1965-1975.

Prefaces to The Experience of Literature

– New York: Harcourt, 1967.
Summary: “Introductions to works by authors as varied as Sophocles, Hemingway, Blake, Lawrence, and Lowell, all of which appeared originally in Trilling’s unique anthology, are brought together to provide insight into masterpieces of world drama,… More

The Experience of Literature: A Reader with Commentaries

– Edited by Lionel Trilling. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967.
This anthology contains a selection of great literary works along with Trilling’s expert and incisive prefaces to each. The prefaces were ultimately gathered and published without the accompanying works.

Beyond Culture: Essays on Literature and Learning

– New York: Viking, 1965.
Summary: “In essays on education, literature, and psychoanalysis, Trilling addresses himself to the assumptions made by those who define themselves in terms of their relation to the ideals of social and political progress.” Contents: On the… More


William Wordsworth

– “William Wordsworth.” Atlantic Brief Lives, edited by Louis Kronenberger (Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press/Little Brown, 1971). 882-84.

The Scholar’s Caution and the Scholar’s Courage

– “The Scholar’s Caution and the Scholar’s Courage.” The Cornell Library Conference: Papers Read ad the Dedication of the Central Libraries, 1962 (Ithaca: Cornell University Library, 1964). 51-65.

James Baldwin

– “James Baldwin.” Review of Another Country, by James Baldwin (New York: Dial, 1962). Mid-Century 44 (September 1962): 5-11.

The Wheel

– “The Wheel.” Review of Down There on a Visit, by Christopher Isherwood (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1962); and  An Official Rose, by Iris Murdoch (New York: Viking, 1962). Mid-Century 41 (July 1962): 5-10.

What a Piece of Work is Man

– “What a Piece of Work is Man.” Review of Claude Lévi-Strauss: A World on the Wane, translated by John Russell (New York: Criterion, 1961). Mid-Century 38 (April 1962): 5-12.

No Mean City

– “No Mean City.” Review of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs (New York: Random House, 1961). Mid-Century 37 (March 1962): 14-19.


– “Rimbaudelaire.” Review of Arthur Rimbaud, third edition, by Enid Starkie (Norfolk, CT: New Directions, 1961); and Baudelaire, by Enid Starkie (New York: New Directions, 1958). Mid-Century 34 (December 1961): 3-10.


David Southward on Trilling

– "David Southward on Lionel Trilling, Literary Criti..." The Biblio File: Hosted by Nigel Beale. May 20, 2013. Podcast.
David Southward of UW – Milwaukee discusses Trilling and his approach to literary criticism.

Adam Kirsch on Trilling

– "NYSL: Why Trilling Matters & College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be." New York Society Library. Conversation between Adam Kirsch and Andrew Delbanco. April 3, 2012. YouTube. Video posted by New York Society Library.
Adam Kirsch speaks at the New York Society Library about his book, Why Lionel Trilling Matters.

Leon Wieseltier on Trilling

– "An Evening with Leon Wieseltier." The Graduate Center, City University of New York, hosted by Richard Wolin. March 4, 2010.
Leon Wieseltier, editor of The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent, discusses what he learned from Trilling (among other subjects) at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Jacques Barzun remembers Trilling

– "In Depth with Jacques Barzun." C-SPAN2: Book TV, hosted by Connie Doebele. May 6, 2001. C-SPAN. Section on Trilling begins at 14:43.
Summary: Jacques Barzun was born in France in 1907 and emigrated to the United States in 1920. He was a history professor at Columbia University and, later, Dean of Faculties and Provost. He is the author of more than thirty books. The most recent… More

Norman Podhoretz on his book “Ex-Friends”

– Podhoretz, Norman. "Book Discussion on Ex-Friends." Booknotes, hosted by Brian Lamb. C-SPAN. February 16, 1999. Section on Trilling begins at 15:10.
Summary: Mr. Podhoretz talked about his book, Ex-Friends: Falling Out with Allen Ginsberg, Lionel and Diana Trillin, Lillian Hellman, Hannah Arendt, and Norman Mailer, published by Free Press. In his book Mr. Podhoretz, a renowned editor, critic and… More

Lionel Trilling discusses “Lolita” with Vladimir Nabokov

– "Vladimir Nabokov discusses 'Lolita' part 1 of 2." Close Up: CBC. Circa 1950. Video uploaded to YouTube by JiffySpook. "Vladimir Nabokov discusses 'Lolita' part 2 of 2." Close Up: CBC. Circa 1950. Video uploaded to YouTube by JiffySpook.