– “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.
– “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.
– “Beautiful and Blest.” Review of Great English Short Novels, edited by Cyril Conolly (New York: Dial, 1953); Great French Short Novels, edited by Frederick W. Dupee (New York: Dial, 1952); and Great Russian Short Novels, edited by Philip Rahv (New York: Dial, 1951). Mid-Century 30 (September 1961): 3-9.
– “Mind and Marker in Academic Life, Parts 1 and 2.” Review of The Academic Mind, by Paul Lazarsfeld and Wagner Thielens, Jr. (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1958); and The Academic Marketplace, by Theodore Caplow and Reece McGee (New York: Basic, 1958). Griffin 7 (December 1958): 4-17.
– “The Story and the Novel.” Review of Last Tales, by Isak Dinesen (New York: Random House, 1957); and A Death in the Family, by James Agee (New York: McDowell, Obolensky, 1957). Griffin 7 (January 1958): 4-12.
– “The Nude Renewed.” Review of The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form, by Kenneth Clark (New York: Pantheon, 1956). Griffin 6 (July 1957): 4-12. Also published as "The Nude Renewed: Sex, Style, and Geometry" in Encounter, October 1957: 31-33.
Excerpt: I suppose it would be quite possible to deal with Sir Kenneth Clark’s The Nude: A Study In Ideal Form as if it were an especially accomplished work of scholarship and criticism, delightful for the vivacities of its observation and expression,… More
– “Old Calabria.” Review of A Selection from His Works, by Normal Douglas, with an introduction by D.M. Low (London: Chatto & Windus/Secker & Warburg, 1955); and Old Calabria, 4th edition, edited by John Davenport (London, Secker & Warburg, 1955). Griffin 6 (February 1957): 4-10.
– “Tragedy and Three Novels.” Review of A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway (New York: Scribner’s, 1929); Bottom Dogs, by Edward Dahlberg (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1930); The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner (New York: Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith, 1929). Symposium 1 (January 1930): 106-14.
– "Making Men More Human." Review of The Humanities at Work, Regional Conference on the Humanities, Social Science Foundation, University of Denver (University of New Mexico Press, 1945). Saturday Review of Literature 28 (September 15, 1945): 36.
– "A Valedictory." Tri-Quarterly 1 (Fall 1964): 26-31. Also published in Encounter, March 1965: 57-60.
Excerpt: The Valedictory Address, as it has developed in American colleges and universities over the years, has become a very strict form, a literary genre which permits very little deviation. We all know what its procedure is. The chosen graduate begins with… More
– "The Assassination of Leon Trotsky." Originally published as "The Mind of an Assassin." Review of The Mind of an Assassin, by Isaac Don Levine (New York: Farrar, Straus, & Cudahy, 1959). Mid-Century 8 (January 1960): 11-17.
– "Reflections on a Lost Cause: English Literature and American Education." Originally published as "English Literature and American Education." Sewanee Review 66 (Summer 1958): 364-81. Also published as "Reflections on a Lost Cause: English Literature and American Education" in Encounter, September 1958: 3-11.
Excerpt: I must begin with an apology, especially to the members of the faculty who may be among my audience. For I mean to talk about a matter of the curriculum. This is a subject which is not, I believe, intrinsically sordid. And I have no doubt that in… More
– "The Last Lover." Review of Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov (New York: Putnam, 1955). Griffin 7 (August 1958): 4-21. Also published as "The Last Lover: Vladimir Nabokov's 'Lolita'" in Encounter, October 1958: 9-18.
Excerpt: Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita was first published in Paris in 1955. Its reputation was not slow to reach the country in which it had been written and in which, presumably, it could not be published. Reviews of the book appeared in some of the… More
– "Proust as Critic and the Critic as Novelist." Review of "Contre Sainte-Beuve" in Proust on Art and Literature, by Marcel Proust, translated by Sylvia Townsend Warner (New York: Meridian/World, 1958). Griffin 7 (July 1958): 4-13.
– "Last Years of a Titan." Originally published as "Suffering and Darkness Marked the Years of Triumph." Review of The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, Vol. III: The Last Phase, 1919-1939, by Ernest Jones (New York: Basic Books, 1957). New York Times Book Review, October 18, 1957, 7, 36.
– "The Person of the Artist." Originally published as "Impersonal/Personal." Review of Letters of James Joyce, edited by Stuart Gilbert (New York: Viking, 1957). Griffin 6 (June 1957): 4-13. Also published as "The Person of the Artist" in Encounter, August 1957: 73-78.
Excerpt: It is one of our strict modern feelings about literature that the mind which makes the work of art ought to be defined only by the work of art itself–that there is something illicit and low, or at least un-literary, about inquiring into the… More
– "The Years of Maturity." Originally published as "A Victory Built of Faith, Pertinacity, and Judgment." Review of The Life and Workd of Sigmund Freud, Vol. 11: Years of Maturity, 1901-1919, by Ernest Jones (New York: Basic Books, 1953). New York Times Book Review, September 18, 1955, 5.
– "The Formative Years." Originally published as "The Adventurous Mind of Dr. Freud." Review of The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, Volume 1: The Formative Years, 1856-1901, by Ernest Jones (New York: Basic Books, 1953). New York Times Book Review, October 11, 1953, 1, 27.
– "Neurosis and the Health of the Artist." Review of Leonardo da Vinci: A Study in Psychosexuality, by Sigmund Freud, translated by A. A. Brill (New York: Random House, 1947); and Stavrogin's Confession, by F. M. Dostoevsky, translated by Virginia Woolf and S. S. Koteliansky, with a psychoanalytical study of the author by Sigmund Freud (New York: Lear, 1947). New Leader 30 (December 13, 1947): 12.
– "Sermon on a Text from Whitman." Review of Poet of American Democracy, by Walt Whitman, selected and edited by Samuel Sillen. (New York: International Publishes, 1944). Nation 160 (February 24, 1945): 215-220.
– "Under Forty." Originally published as "Under Forty: A Symposium on American Literature and the Younger Generation of American Jews." Contemporary Jewish Record 6 (February 1944). Trilling's contribution pp. 15-17.
– "Artists and the 'Societal Function'." Review of Writers in Crisis, by Maxwell Geismar (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1942); Directions in Contemporary Literature, by Philo Buck, Jr. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1942); and The Novel and Society, by N. Elizabeth Monroe (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1942). Kenyon Review 4 (Autumn 1942): 425-30.
– "T.S. Eliot's Politics." First published as "Elements that are Wanted." Review of The Idea of a Christian Society, by T.S. Eliot (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1939). Partisan Review 7 (September-October 1940): 367-79.
Excerpt: It is a century ago this year that John Stuart Mill angered his Benthamite friends by his now famous essay on Coleridge in which, writing sympathetically of a religious and conservative philosopher, he avowed his intention to modify the rigid… More
– "The Unhappy Story of Sinclair Lewis." Originally published as "Mr. Lewis Goes Soft." Review of Bethel Merriday, by Sinclair Lewis (New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1940). Kenyon Review 2, no. 3 (Summer 1940): 364-67.
– "The Victorians and Democracy." Review of Lord Macaulay, Victorian Rebel, by Richmond Croom Beatty (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1938); The Age of Reform, 1815-1870, by E.L. Woodward (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1938); and Victorian Critics of Democracy, by Benjamin E. Lippincott (Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 1938). Southern Review 5 (1940): 642-47.
– "The America of John Dos Passos." Review of U.S.A., by John Dos Passos (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1937). Partisan Review 4 (April 1938): 26-32.
Excerpt: U.S.A. is far more impressive than even its three impressive parts—The 42nd Parallel, 1919, The Big Money—might have led one to expect. It stands as the important American novel of the decade, on the whole more satisfying than anything else we… More
– "Willa Cather." New Republic 90 (February 10, 1937): 10-13.
Excerpt: In 1922 Willa Cather wrote an essay called “The Novel Démeuble” in which she pleaded for a movement to throw the “furniture” out of the novel—to get rid, that is, of all the social facts that Balzac and other realists had felt to be so… More
– "The Autonomy of the Literary Work." Originally published as an untitled review of Academic Illusions, by Martin Schütze (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1933). Modern Monthly 7 (January 1934): 758-760.
– "The Problem of the American Artist." Originally published as an untitled review of Portrait of the Artist as American, by Matthew Josephson (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1930). Symposium 1 (October 1930): 558-61.
– "The Promise of Realism." Review of Bottom Dogs, by Edward Dahlberg, with an introduction by D.H. Lawrence (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930); Pay Day, by Nathan Asch (New York: Brewer and Warren, 1930); and Frankie and Johnnie, by Meyer Levin (New York: John Day, 1930). Menorah Journal 18 (May 1930): 480-84.
– "Flawed Instruments." Review of Adam: A Dramatic History in a Prologue, Seven Scenes, and an Epilogue, by Ludwig Lewisohn (New York: Harper, 1929), and Stephen Escott, by Ludwig Lewisohn (New York: Harper, 1930). Menorah Journal 18 (April 1930): 380-84.
– Originally published as "Vulgarity Ascendent, Jealousy's Thrall, M. de Charlus's Anomaly Occupy Proust in This Section." Review of Cities of the Plain, by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff (New York: A. and C. Boni, 1927). New York Evening Post, January 21, 1928, sec. 3 p. 14.
– "A Study of Terror-Romanticism." Review of The Haunted Castle: A Study of the Elements of English Romanticism, by Eino Railo (New York: Dutton, 1927). New York Evening Post, December 10, 1927, sec. 3 p. 16.
– "Why We Read Jane Austen." Times Literary Supplement, March 1976, 250-252.
Excerpt: My subject is of a speculative kind and as it develops it will lead us away from Jane Austen and toward the consideration of certain aspects and functions of literature and art generally. It does not have its origin in reflections upon our author’s… More
– "The Freud/Jung Letters." Review of The Freud-Jung Letters: The Correspondence Between Sigmund Freud and C.G. Jung, edited by William McGuire, translated by Ralph Manheim and R.F.C. Hull (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974). New York Times Book Review, April 21, 1974, 1, 32-35.
Excerpt: The relationship between Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung had its bright beginning in 1906 and came to its embittered end in 1913. Its disastrous course was charted by the many letters the two men wrote each other. Of these a few have been lost but there… More
– "Art, Will, and Necessity." Lecture at Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, 1973.
Excerpt: It is one of the defining characteristics of our contemporary civilization that in the degree we cherish art and make it the object of our piety we see it as perpetually problematical. From the eighteenth century onward, enlightened opinion has held… More
– "Mind in the Modern World." The first Thomas Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Spring 1972. Then published in theTimes Literary Supplement, Nov. 17, 1972, 1381-1385. Subsequently published as a small book by New York: The Viking Press, 1973.
Excerpt: In 1946, in the last year of his life, H. G. Wells published a little book which is surely one of the saddest and possibly one of the most portentous documents of our century. Much of its sadness lies in how far it is from being a good book. Wells… More
– “The Two Environments: Reflections on the Study of English.” Paper read as The Henry Sidgwick Memorial Lecture at Newnham College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, February 20, 1965. Revised and published in Encounter, July 1965.
– Originally published as “Our Hawthorne” in Hawthorne Centenary Essays, edited by Roy Harvey Pearce (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1964). Also published in Partisan Review, Summer 1964.
Excerpt: Henry James’s monograph on Hawthorne must always have a special place in American letters, if only because, as Edmund Wilson observed, it is the first extended study ever to be made of an American writer. But of course it is kept in the… More
– First published as “A Comment on the Leavis-Snow Controversy.” Commentary, June 1955.
Excerpt: It is now nearly eighty years since Matthew Arnold came to America on his famous lecture tour. Of his repertory of three lectures, none was calculated to give unqualified pleasure to his audience. The lecture on Emerson praised the then most eminent… More
– First published as the introduction to Isaac Babel: The Collected Stories, edited by Walter Morison (New York: Criterion Books, Inc., 1955). Also published as "Isaac Babel: Torn Between Violence and Peace" in Commentary, June 1955.
Excerpt: A good many years ago, in 1929, I chanced to read a book which disturbed me in a way I can still remember. The book was called Red Cavalry; it was a collection of stories about the Soviet regiments of horse operating in Poland. I had never heard of… More
– “Freud: Within and Beyond Culture.” First delivered as “Freud and the Crisis of our Culture” for the Freud Anniversary Lecture in the New York Psychoanalytical Society and the New York Psychoanalytical Institute, May 1955. Subsequently published as Freud and the Crisis of our Culture (Boston: Beacon Press, 1955).
Excerpt: And in the degree that society was personalized by the concept of culture, the individual was seen to be far more deeply implicated in society than ever before. This is not an idea which is confined to the historian or to the social scientist: it is… More
– “The Fate of Pleasure.” Partisan Review, Summer 1963.
Excerpt: Of all critical essays in the English language, there is none that has established itself so firmly in our minds as Wordsworth’s Preface to Lyrical Ballads. Indeed, certain of the statements that the Preface makes about the nature of poetry have… More
– First published as “On the Modern Element in Modern Literature.” Partisan Review, January-February 1961.
Excerpt: And since my own interests lead me to see literary situations as cultural situations, and cultural situations as great elaborate fights about moral issues, and moral issues as having something to do with gratuitously chosen images of personal being,… More
– " 'That Smile of Parmenides Made Me Think.' " The Griffin 5, no. 2 (February 1956). Also published as "The Smile of Parmenides: George Santayana in his Letters" in Encounter, December 1956: 30-37.
Excerpt: One doesn’t have to read very far in Santayana s letters to become aware that it might be very hard to like this man–that, indeed, it might be remarkably easy to dislike him. And there is no point in struggling against the adverse feeling. The… More
– Originally published as Trilling's contribution to "Our Country and Our Culture: A Symposium." Partisan Review 19, no. 3 (May 1952): 318-26.
Excerpt (from the essay as published in The Moral Obligation to be Intelligent): The editors of Partisan Review have long been thought to give a rather special credence and sympathy to the idea of “alienation,” particularly to the alienation of the modern… More
– “The Morality of Inertia.” Essay in Great Moral Dilemmas in Literature, Past and Present, edited by Robert MacIver (New York: Harper and Bros., 1956).
Excerpt: A theological seminary in New York planned a series of lectures on “The Literary Presentations of Great Moral Issues,” and invited me to give one of the talks. Since I have a weakness for the general subject, I was disposed to accept the… More
– "Mansfield Park." Partisan Review 21 (September-October 1954): 492-511. Also published inEncounter, September 1954: 9-19.
Excerpt: Sooner or later, when we speak of Jane Austen, we speak of her irony, and it is better to speak of it sooner rather than later because nothing can so far mislead us about her work as a wrong understanding of this one aspect of it. Most people either… More
– "George Orwell and the Politics of Truth." Commentary 13 (March 1952): 218-27.
Excerpt: George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia is one of the important documents of our time. It is a very modest book—it seems to say the least that can be said on a subject of great magnitude. But in saying the least it says the most. Its manifest… More
– First delivered as a lecture at Princeton University at a conference on William Wordsworth, Princeton, NJ, April 21, 1950. First published as "Wordsworth and the Iron Time." Kenyon Review 12, No. 3 (Summer 1950): 477-497.
Excerpt: Our meeting here to do honor to William Wordsworth will have its counterparts in academic centers in all the English-speaking countries. But we can scarcely suppose that in the world outside the universities the impulse to commemorate Wordsworth will… More
– "William Dean Howells and the Roots of Modern Taste." Partisan Review 18 (September-October 1951): 516-36.
Excerpt: Every now and then in the past few years we have heard that we might soon expect a revival of interest in the work of William Dean Howells. And certainly, if this rumor were sustained, there would be a notable propriety in the event. In the last two… More
Excerpt: Little Dorrit is one of the three great novels of Dickens’ great last period, but of the three it is perhaps the least established with modern readers. When it first appeared—in monthly parts from December 1855 to June 1857—its success was even… More
– "The Poet as Hero: Keats in his Letters." Originally published as the introduction to The Selected Letters of John Keats, New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1951.
Excerpt: “We cannot understand Keats’s mind without a very full awareness of what powers of enjoyment he had and of how freely he licensed those powers. The pleasure of the senses was for him not merely desirable—it was the very ground of life.… More
– "The Meaning of a Literary Idea." Paper read at the Conference in American Literature at the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, February 1949. First published in The American Quarterly, Fall 1949.
– "F. Scott Fitzgerald." The Nation, April 25, 1945. Also the introduction, with added material, to The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: New Directions, 1945.
Excerpt: It is not what we may fittingly say on all tragic occasions, but the original occasion for these words is strikingly apt to Fitzgerald. Like Milton’s Samson, he had the consciousness of having misused a gift of strength- “‘I had been only… More
– "The Kinsey Report." Partisan Review, April 1948.
Excerpt: By virtue of its intrinsic nature and also because of its dramatic reception, the Kinsey Report, as it has come to be called, is an event of great importance in our culture. It is an event which is significant in two separate ways, as symptom and as… More
– "Manners, Morals, and the Novel." Paper read at the Conference on the Heritage of the English-Speaking Peoples and Their Responsibilities, at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, September 1947. First published in The Kenyon Review 10, No. 1 (Winter 1948): 11-27.
Excerpt: The invitation that was made to me to address you this evening was couched in somewhat uncertain terms. Time, place and cordiality were perfectly clear, but when it came to the subject our hosts were not able to specify just what they wanted me to… More
– "A Note on Art and Neurosis." The Partisan Review, Winter 1945. Some new material appeared in The New Leader, December 13, 1947.
Excerpt: The question of the mental health of the artist has engaged the attention of our culture since the beginning of the Romantic Movement. Before that time it was commonly said that the poet was “mad,” but this was only a manner of speaking, a way of… More
– "The Immortality Ode." Paper read before the English Institute, September 1941. First published in The English Institute Annual, 1941. New York: Columbia University Press, 1942.
Excerpt: Criticism, we know, must always be concerned with the poem itself. But a poem does not always exist only in itself; sometimes it has a very lively existence in its false or partial appearances. These simulacra of the actual poem must be taken into… More
– "Mr. Eliot's Kipling." The Nation, October 16, 1943.
Excerpt: Kipling belongs irrevocably to our past, and although the renewed critical attention he has lately been given by Edmund Wilson and T. S. Eliot is friendlier and more interesting than any he has received for a long time, it is less likely to make us… More
– "Huckleberry Finn." Introduction Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. New York: Rinehart and Company, 1948.
Excerpt: In 1876 Mark Twain published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and in the same year began what he called “another boys’ book.” He set little store by the new venture and said that he had undertaken it “more to be at work than anything else.” His… More
– "The Function of the Little Magazine." Introduction to The Partisan Reader: Ten Years of Partisan Review, 1933-1944: An Anthology. Edited by William Phillips and Philip Rahv. New York: The Dial Press, 1946.
Excerpt: The Partisan Reader may be thought of as an ambiguous monument. It commemorates a victory—Partisan Review has survived for a decade, and has survived with a vitality of which the evidence may be found in the book which marks the anniversary. Yet to… More
– "The Princess Casamassima," Introduction to The Princess Casamassima by Henry James. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1948.
Excerpt: In 1888, on the second of January, which in any year is likely to be a sad day, Henry James wrote to his friend William Dean Howells that his reputation had been dreadfully injured by his last two novels. The desire for his productions, he said, had… More
– "Freud and Literature." Originally published as "The Legacy of Sigmund Freud, Part 2: Literary and Aesthetic." Kenyon Review2, No. 2 (Spring 1940): 152-73.
A revised version appeared in Horizon, September 1947.
Excerpt, from Horizon: The Freudian psychology is the only systematic account of the human mind whch, in point of subtlety and complexity, of interest and tragic power, deserves to stand beside the chaotic mass of psychological insights which literature has… More
– "Sherwood Anderson." Kenyon Review 3, No. 3 (Summer 1941): 293-302.
When published in The Liberal Imagination, Trilling added some matter from The New York Times Book Review, November 9, 1947.
Excerpt: I find it hard, and I think it would be false, to write of Sherwood Anderson without speaking of him personally and even emotionally. I did not know him; I was in his company only twice and neither time did I speak with him. The first time I saw him… More
– "Reality in America." Part 1 published in Partisan Review, January-February 1940. Part 2 published in The Nation, April 20, 1946.
Parrington was not a great mind; he was not a precise thinker or, except when measured by the low eminences that were about him, an impressive one. Separate Parrington from his informing idea of the economic and social determination of thought and what is… More