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.

Beautiful and Blest

– “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.

A Poet Newly Given

– “A Poet Newly Given.” Review of The Complete Poems of Cavafy, translated by Rae Dalven (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1961). Mid-Century 25 (May 1961): 3-12.


– “Curtains.” Review of Curtains: Selections from the Criticism and Related Writings, by Kenneth Tynan (New York: Atheneum, 1961). Mid-Century 24 (April 1961): 2-9.

Looking at Pictures

– “Looking at Pictures.” Review of Looking at Pictures, by Sir Kenneth Clark (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1960). Mid-Century 23 (March 1961): 2-7.

Bergman Unseen

– “Bergman Unseen.” Review of Four Screenplays, by Ingmar Bergman, translated by Lars Malmstrom and David Koshner (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960). Mid-Century 20 (December 1960): 2-10.

Masterpieces of Greek Art

– “Masterpieces of Greek Art.” Review of Masterpieces of Greek Art, by Raymond V. Schoder (Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society, 1960). Mid-Century 18 (October 1960): 4-10.

The Word as Heard

– “The Word as Heard.” Review of Four Quartets, by T.S. Eliot, sound recording read by Robert Speaight (New York: Spoken Arts, 1960). Mid-Century 17 (Fall 1960): 17-22.

The Inimitable as Immortal

– “The Inimitable as Immortal.” Review of The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens, edited by F. W. Dupee (New York: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1960). Mid-Century 14 (July 1960): 9-14.

Fifty Years of The Wind in the Willows

– “Fifty Years of The Wind in the Willows.” Review of The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame (New York: Scribner’s, 1960). Mid-Century 13 (June 1960): 19-22.

Love and Death in the American Novel

– “Love and Death in the American Novel.” Review of Love and Death in the American Novel, by Leslie A. Fielder (New York: Criterion, 1960). Mid-Century 10 (March 1960): 4-14.

Angels and Ministers of Grace

– “Angels and Ministers of Grace.” Review of The Henry Miller Reader, edited by Lawrence Durrell (New York: New Directions, 1959). Mid-Century 7 (December 1959): 3-9.

Practical Cats More Practical Than Ever Before

– “Practical Cats More Practical Than Ever Before.” Review of T.S. Eliot’s recorded reading of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (New York: Spoken Arts, 1959). Mid-Century 6 (November 1959): 11-13.

All Aboard the Seesaw

– “All Aboard the Seesaw.” Review of William Gibson, The Seesaw Log (New York: Knopf, 1959). Mid-Century 3 (September 1959): 3-12.

An Investigation of Modern Love

– “An Investigation of Modern Love.” Review of Justine, by Lawrence Durrell (New York: Dutton, 1957); and Bolihazar, by Lawrence Durrell (New York: Dutton, 1958). Mid-Century 2 (August 1959): 4-10.

The Rational Enchanters

– “The Rational Enchanters.” Review of The Portrait of Zelide, new edition, by Geoffrey Scott (New York: Scribner’s, 1959). Mid-Century 1 (July 1959): 21-23.

The Lost Glory

– “The Lost Glory.” Review of Three Plays, by John Osborne(New York: Mid-Century Book Society, 1959). Mid-Century 1 (July 1959): 3-7.

Mind and Marker in Academic Life, Parts 1 and 2

– “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

– “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

– “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

– “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.

The Farmer and the Cowboy Make Friends

– “The Farmer and the Cowboy Make Friends.” Review of English Literature in the Earlier Seventeenth Century, by Douglas Bush (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1952). Griffin 5 (Fall 1956): 4-12.

Matthew Arnold, Poet

– “Matthew Arnold, Poet.” Major British Writers. Edited by G.B. Harrison. 2 volumes. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1954. 2: 419-32.
A version of this essay is in the paperback edition of Trilling’s Matthew Arnold.

Measuring Mill

– “Measuring Mill.” Review of The Life of John Stuart Mill, by Michael S. John Packe (New York, Macmillan, 1954). Griffin 3 (December 1954): 4-11.

The Van Arminge and Keppel Eras

– “The Van Arminge and Keppel Eras.” Chapter 1 of A History of Columbia College at Morningside. Edited by Dwight C. Miner. New York: Columbia University Press, 1954. 14-47.

A Triumph of the Comic View

– “A Triumph of the Comic View.” Review of The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow (New York: Viking, 1953). Griffin 2 (September 1953): 4-10.

The Personal Figure of Henry James

– “The Personal Figure of Henry James.” Review of Henry James: The Untried Years, by Leon Edel (Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1953). Griffin 2 (April 1953): 1-4.

Fiction and History

– “Fiction and History.” Review of The Time of the Assassins, by Geoffrey Blunden (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1952). Griffin 1 (June 1952): 1-4.

The Life of the Novel

– “The Life of the Novel.” Review of The Bitter Box, by Eleanor Clark (Garden City: Doubleday, 1946). Kenyon Review 8 (Autumn 1946): 658-67.

Teacher vs. Scholar

– “Teacher vs. Scholar.” Bulletin of the Association for General and Liberal Education 1 (June 1945): 23-25.

The Mind of Youth

– “The Mind of Youth.” Harper’s Bazaar 78 (July 1944): 30, 80, 84.

Eugene O’Neill

– “Eugene O’Neill.” New Republic 88 (23 September 1936): 376-79.

Tragedy and Three Novels

– “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.

A Friend of Byron

– “A Friend of Byron.” Menorah Journal 12 (August 1926): 371-83.

Making Men More Human

– "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

– "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

Literary Pathology

– "Literary Pathology." Lecture given at the American Psychoanalytic Association, December 7, 1962.

A Comedy of Evil

– "A Comedy of Evil." Review of The Short Novels of Dostoevsky, by Fyodor Dostoevsky (New York: Dial, 1945). Mid-Century 32 (November 1961): 7-11.

Yeats as Critic

– "Yeats as Critic." Review of Essays and Introductions, by William Butler Yeats (New York: Macmillan, 1961). Mid-Century 28 (Summer 1961): 3-8.

An American Classic

– "An American Classic." Review of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by James Agee and Walker Evans (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960). Mid-Century 16 (September 1960): 3-10.

The Assassination of Leon Trotsky

– "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.

Paradise Reached For

– "Paradise Reached For." Review of Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytic Meaning of History, by Norman O. Brown (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1959). Mid-Century 5 (Fall 1959): 16-21.

Reflections on a Lost Cause: English Literature and American Education

– "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

– "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

– "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.

Communism and Intellectual Freedom

– "Communism and Intellectual Freedom." Originally published as an introduction to The Broken Mirror, a collection of essays by seven Polish writers. New Leader 41 (July 7-14, 1958): 30-33.

Last Years of a Titan

– "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

– "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

Social Actualities

– "Social Actualities." Originally published as the introduction to The Selected Stories of John O'Hara, by John O'Hara (New York: Modern Library, 1956).

The Years of Maturity

– "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

– "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.

An American View of English Literature

– "An American View of English Literature." Originally published as "Dreiser, Anderson, Lewis, and the Riddle of Society." Reporter 6 (November 13, 1951): 37-40.

Fitzgerald Plain

– "Fitzgerald Plain." Review of The Far Side of Paradise, by Arthur Mizener (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1951). New Yorker 26 (February 3, 1951): 90-92.

Orwell on the Future

– "Orwell on the Future." Review of Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1949). New Yorker 25 (June 18, 1949): 78, 81-83.

The State of Our Culture: Expostulation and Reply

– "The State of Our Culture: Expostulation and Reply." Originally published as "The State of American Writing, 1948: A Symposium." Partisan Review 15 (August 1948). Trilling's contribution 886-93.

Family Album

– "Family Album." Review of The Times of Melville and Whitman, by Van Wyck Brooks (New York: Dutton, 1947). Partisan Review 15 (January 1948): 105-108.

Treason in the Modern World

– "Treason in the Modern World." Review of The Meaning of Treason, by Rebecca West (New York: Viking, 1947). Nation 166 (January 10, 1948): 46-48.

Neurosis and the Health of the Artist

– "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.

The Problem of Influence

– "The Problem of Influence." Review of Freudianism and the Literary Mind, Frederick J. Hoffman (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1945). Nation 161 (September 8, 1945): 234.

Sermon on a Text from Whitman

– "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.

The Head and Heart of Henry James

– "The Head and Heart of Henry James." Review of Henry James: The Major Phase, by F.O. Matthiessen (New York: Oxford University Press, 1944). New York Times Book Review, November 26, 1944, 3.

Under Forty

– "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.

M., W., F. at 10

– "M., W., F. at 10." Review of A Survey-History of English Literature, by William Bradley Otis and Morriss H. Needleman (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1937). Nation 155 (November 21, 1942): 546-7.

Artists and the ‘Societal Function’

– "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.

The Progressive Psyche

– "The Progressive Psyche." Review of Self-Analysis, by Karen Horney (New York: Norton, 1942). Nation 155 (September 12, 1942): 215-17.

The Wordsworths

– "The Wordsworths." Review of The Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, edited by Ernest de Selincourt (New York: Macmillan, 1942). New Republic 107 (August 24, 1942): 235-6.

An American in Spain

– "An American in Spain." Review of For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway (New York: Scribner's, 1940). Partisan Review 8 (January-February 1941): 63-67.

T.S. Eliot’s Politics

– "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

– "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

– "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.

Hemingway and his Critics

– "Hemingway and his Critics." Review of The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories, by Earnest Hemingway (New York: Scribner's, 1938). Partisan Review 6 (Winter 1939): 52-60.

Evangelical Criticism

– "Evangelical Criticism." Review of Towards the Twentieth Century, by H.V. Routh (New York: Macmillan, 1937). New Republic 95 (June 20, 1938): 314-15.

The America of John Dos Passos

– "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

Marxism in Limbo

– "Marxism in Limbo." Review of Europa in Limbo, by Robert Briffault (New York: Scribner's, 1937). Partisan Review 4 (December 1937): 70-72.

Willa Cather

– "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

Politics and the Liberal

– "Politics and the Liberal." Review of Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, by E.M. Forster (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1934). Nation 139 (July 4, 1934): 24-25.

The Autonomy of the Literary Work

– "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 Coleridge Letters

– "The Coleridge Letters." Review of Unpublished Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, edited by Earl Leslie Griggs (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1932). Nation 137 (December 27, 1933): 738-9.


– "Carlyle." Review of Carlyle, by Emery Neff (New York: Norton, 1952). Modern Quarterly 6 (Summer 1932): 109-11.

The Problem of the American Artist

– "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 Social Emotions

– "The Social Emotions." Review of The Nineteen, by A. Fadayev (New York: International Publishers, 1929). New Freeman 1 (July 16, 1930): 429.

The Promise of Realism

– "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

– "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.

Another Jewish Problem Novel

– "Another Jewish Problem Novel." Review of The Disinherited, by Milton Waldman (New York: Longmans, Green, 1929). Menorah Journal 16 (April 1929): 376-79.

Cities of the Plain

– 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

– "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.

The Poems of Emily Brontë

– Originally published as "Resuscitations I: The Poems of Emily Brontë." Morningside 13 (November 1924): 23-26.

Why We Read Jane Austen

– "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

– "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

Aggression and Utopia

– "Aggression and Utopia." Originally published as "Aggression and Utopia: A Note on William Morris's 'News from Nowhere.'" Psychoanalytic Quarterly 42 (April 1973): 214-25.

Art, Will, and Necessity

– "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

– "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 the Times 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

James Joyce in His Letters

– Review of Letters of James Joyce, vol. 2 and 3, edited by Richard Ellman (New York: Viking, 1968). Commentary 45 (February 1968): 54-64.
Excerpt: In 1935, near the end of a long affectionate letter to his son George in America, James Joyce wrote: “Here I conclude. My eyes are tired. For over half a century …

A Novel of the Thirties

– Originally published as "Young in the Thirties." Commentary 41 (May 1966): 43-51.
Excerpt: “In the 1950’s it was established beyond question that the 1930’s had not simply passed into history but had become history.”

The Two Environments: Reflections on the Study of English

– “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.

Hawthorne in Our Time

– 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

The Leavis-Snow Controversy

– 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

Isaac Babel

– 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

– “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

– “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

Emma and the Legend of Jane Austen

– First published as the introduction to Emma by Jane Austen, Riverside Edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1957). Also published in Encounter 8, no. 6 (June 1957).

On the Teaching of Modern Literature

– 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”

– " '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

On Not Talking

– "On Not Talking." Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Letters 2nd series, No. 6 (1956).

Criticism and Aesthetics

– Originally published as “Art and the Philosopher.” The Griffin 3, no. 8 (August 1954).

Adams at Ease

– “Adams at Ease.” The Griffin 1, no. 8 (1952).

Two Notes on David Riesman

– Originally published in two parts. Part 1: “A Change of Direction,” The Griffin 1, no. 3 (1952); Part 2: “American Portrait,” The Griffin 3, no. 5 (1954).

The Situation of the American Intellectual at the Present Time

– 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 Dickens of Our Day

– Originally published as “The Measure of Dickens.” The Griffin 2, no. 9 (1952).

The Morality of Inertia

– “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

In Defense of Zola

– Originally published as “Zola’s Quality.” The Griffin 2, no. 1 (August 1952).

Mansfield Park

– "Mansfield Park." Partisan Review 21 (September-October 1954): 492-511. Also published in Encounter, 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

– "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

Wordsworth and the Rabbis

– 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

The Bostonians

– "The Bostonians." Originally published as the introduction to The Bostonians by Henry James (London: John Lehmann, 1953).

William Dean Howells and the Roots of Modern Taste

– "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

Anna Karenina

– "Anna Karenina." Originally published as the introduction to "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy, revised Constance Garnett translation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1951).

Little Dorrit

– "Litte Dorrit." Kenyon Review 15, No. 4 (Autumn, 1953): 577-59.
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

– "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

– "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.

Art and Fortune

– "Art and Fortune." Paper read before the English Institute, September 1948. First published in Partisan Review, December 1948.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

– "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

– "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

– "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

Tacitus Now

– "Tacitus Now." The Nation, August 22, 1942.

The Sense of the Past

– "The Sense of the Past." Paper read before the English Graduate Union of Columbia University, February 1942. First published in The Partisan Review, May-June 1942.

A Note on Art and Neurosis

– "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

– "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

– "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

– "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

– "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

– "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

– "Freud and Literature." Originally published as "The Legacy of Sigmund Freud, Part 2: Literary and Aesthetic." Kenyon Review 2, 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

– "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

– "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