Matthew Arnold

– New York: Norton, 1939.
A study of the work and thought of Matthew Arnold

E.M. Forster

– New York: New Directions, 1943.
Summary: “A concise critical study of Forster’s personality, short stories, and novels”

The Middle of the Journey

– New York: Viking, 1947.
Published in 1947, as the cold war was heating up, Lionel Trilling’s only novel was a prophetic reckoning with the bitter ideological disputes that were to come to a head in the McCarthy… More

The Opposing Self: Nine Essays in Criticism

– New York: Viking, 1955.
Summary: “Analytical studies trace the development theme of the individual in selected novels, letters, and poems from the end of the eighteenth century to the present.”  … More

A Gathering of Fugitives

– Boston: Beacon Press, 1956.
Summary: “Writings on general cultural issues accompany discussions of such authors as Edith Wharton, Robert Graves, C. P. Snow, and Charles Dickens.” Contents: The Great Aunt… More

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… 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… More

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… 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.

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… 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… 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… 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… More

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… 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… 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… 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… 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… 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… 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… 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… 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… More

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… More

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.

Tacitus Now

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

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… 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… More

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… More

Art and Fortune

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

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.

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… More

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… 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).

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… More

The Bostonians

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

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… 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… More

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… More

In Defense of Zola

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

The Dickens of Our Day

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

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… More

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).

Adams at Ease

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

Criticism and Aesthetics

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

On Not Talking

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

“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.… More

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… 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).

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… 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… 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… 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… More

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… More

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.

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.”

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… 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… More

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… 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.

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… More

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… More

The Poems of Emily Brontë

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.


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

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.

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.

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.

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… 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.

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… More

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.

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.

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.

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.

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… More

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.

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.

The Progressive Psyche

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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… More

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.

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.

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.

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… More

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… More

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Literary Pathology

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

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… More

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 Friend of Byron

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

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.

Eugene O’Neill

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

The Mind of Youth

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

Teacher vs. Scholar

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

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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… More

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


– “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.

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.

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.


– “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.

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.

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.

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.

James Baldwin

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

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.

William Wordsworth

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


The Moral Critic

– Kristol, Irving. "The Moral Critic." Review of E.M. Forster, by Lionel Trilling. Enquiry, April 1944. Reprinted in Lionel Trilling and the Critics: Opposing Selves, edited by John Rodden (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1999).
Excerpts: [I]n that very same article Mr. Trilling incorporated two distinct chidings. He was angry with the Left for having surrendered its traditional moral vision, and at the same time… More

Art, Politics, and Will: Essays in Honor of Lionel Trilling

– Anderson, Quentin, Stephen Donadio, and Steven Marcus, eds. Art, Politics, and Will: Essays in Honor of Lionel Trilling. New York: Basic Books, 1977.
Art, Politics, and Will was originally conceived as a Festschrift for Trilling. However, he passed away before the book could be published, and it was converted into a memorial volume. The… More

Lionel Trilling

– Tanner, Stephen L. Lionel Trilling. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1988.

Lionel Trilling and the Critics: Opposing Selves

– Rodden, John, ed. Lionel Trilling and the Critics: Opposing Selves. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.
Collection of essays by prominent critics on Trilling’s career; includes many of the most important essays on Trilling’s work published during his lifetime.

The Last Great Critic

– Glick, Nathan. “The Last Great Critic.” The Atlantic, July 2000.
Excerpt: I CANNOT close this review without noting two contributions by the editor. John Rodden’s introductory survey of the contents of this collection is richly but casually… More

Night Vision

– Delbanco, Andrew. “Night Vision.” Review of The Moral Obligation to be Intelligent: Selected Essays, by Lionel Trilling, edited with an introduction by Leon Wieseltier (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000). New York Review of Books, January 11, 2001.
Excerpt: Trilling’s real distinctiveness, I think, is that he was at heart a teacher. He carried into his writing the classroom principle that stating any proposition without at least a… More

Introduction to The Middle of the Journey

– Engel, Monroe. Introduction to The Middle of the Journey, by Lionel Trilling, v-xi. New York: New York Review of Books, 2002.
Excerpt: In its own forceful way, very unlike either Faulkner or Hemingway, The Middle of the Journey too is “at work upon the recalcitrant stuff of life.” This is… More

Introduction to The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent: Selected Essays

– Wieseltier, Leon. Introduction to The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent: Selected Essays, ix-xvi. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2008.
Excerpt: Trilling emphatically believed that “the problems of Life” must indeed be brought before the mind, thought not for the purpose of eliciting anything so simple and so… More

Regrets Only: Lionel Trilling and His Discontents

– Menand, Louis. "Regrets Only: Lionel Trilling and his discontents." New Yorker, September 29, 2008.
Excerpt: Most people who picked up the book in 1950 would have understood it as an attack on the dogmatism and philistinism of the fellow-travelling left, but the term “liberal” is… More

Underrated: Lionel Trilling

– Himmelfarb, Gertrude. “Underrated: Lionel Trilling.” Standpoint, April 2009.
Excerpt: When Lionel Trilling died in 1975, he was not only the most eminent literary critic in America, but also, some would argue, the most eminent intellectual figure. Three years before… More

Why Trilling Matters

– Kirsch, Adam. Why Trilling Matters. New Haven : Yale University Press, 2011.

Lionel Trilling’s Life of the Mind

– Kimmage, Michael. “Lionel Trilling’s Life of the Mind.” New York Times, November 3, 2011.
Excerpt: As Kirsch writes, paraphrasing Trilling’s perspective, “Art is the form in which the writer, and through him the reader, can face down the intolerable contradictions of… More

Lionel Trilling and the Social Imagination

– Beran, Michael Knox. “Lionel Trilling and the Social Imagination.” City Journal, Winter 2011.
Excerpt: Trilling’s hostility to the social imagination is nowhere more evident than in the fourth essay in The Liberal Imagination, a meditation on Henry James’s 1886 novel The… More

Does Lionel Trilling Matter?

– Massie, Allan. “Does Lionel Trilling Matter?” Review of Why Trilling Matters, by Adam Kirsch (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011). Times Literary Supplement, February 1, 2012.
Excerpt: In setting out to demonstrate that Trilling still matters, Kirsch is asserting the value of literature and a literary culture. If Trilling thought and wrote, frequently, about the… More

Uncle Matthew

– Wilson, Edmund. "Uncle Matthew." Review of Matthew Arnold, by Lionel Trilling. The New Republic, March 1939. Reprinted in Lionel Trilling and the Critics: Opposing Selves. 
Excerpt: But if Mr. Trilling has followed this fashion it is evidently not due to lack of competence. His observations on Arnold’s style are admirably phrased as well as just: “The… More

Trilling’s Matthew Arnold

– Barzun, Jacques. "Trilling's Matthew Arnold." Review of Matthew Arnold, by Lionel TrillingColumbia University Quarterly, March 1939. Reprinted in Lionel Trilling and the Critics: Opposing Selves. 
Excerpt: “The Critic’s business is to carp; the scholar’s business is to bore.” No one, of course, has the courage to honor those maxims in words, but many of us… More

Beyond Liberalism

– Spender, Stephen. "Beyond Liberalism." Commentary, August 1950. Reprinted in Lionel Trilling and the Critics: Opposing Selves. 
Excerpt: Mr. Trilling thinks the liberal imagination defective, and it is scarcely too much to say that his book might well be entitled “The Liberal Lack of Imagination.” What it… More

Liberalism, History, and Mr. Trilling

– Howe, Irving. "Liberalism, History, and Mr. Trilling." The Nation. Reprinted in Lionel Trilling and the Critics: Opposing Selves. 
Excerpt: Lionel Trilling’s new book of essays, “The Liberal Imagination,” (Viking, $3.50), has as its central purpose a criticism of the liberal mind “as it drifts… More

Beyond Liberalism

– Williams, Raymond. "Beyond Liberalism." The Manchester Guardian," April 1966. Reprinted in Lionel Trilling and the Critics: Opposing Selves. 
Excerpt: I had been puzzled for many years to know the source of a particular North Atlantic definition and structure of “the modern.” I had met it repeatedly, at my end of the… More

The Trillings

– Sidney Hook, "The Trillings," October 1, 2015.
Excerpt: I first met Lionel Trilling at the artists’ colony at Yaddo, in Saratoga Springs, in the summer of 1931 (or maybe 1932; I was at Yaddo for two or three years). I was impressed… 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.

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… More

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… More

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.

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.

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.