The Liberal Imagination: Essays on Literature and Society
The Liberal Imagination is one of the most admired and influential works of criticism of the last century, a work that is not only a masterpiece of literary criticism but an important statement about politics and society. Published in 1950, one of the chillier moments of the Cold War, Trilling’s essays examine the promise —and limits—of liberalism, challenging the complacency of a na´ve liberal belief in rationality, progress, and the panaceas of economics and other social sciences, and asserting in their stead the irreducible complexity of human motivation and the tragic inevitability of tragedy. Only the imagination, Trilling argues, can give us access and insight into these realms and only the imagination can ground a reflective and considered, rather than programmatic and dogmatic, liberalism.
Writing with acute intelligence about classics like Huckleberry Finn and the novels of Henry James and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but also on such varied matters as the Kinsey Report and money in the American imagination, Trilling presents a model of the critic as both part of and apart from his society, a defender of the reflective life that, in our ever more rationalized world, seems ever more necessary—and ever more remote.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing
As I recall this is a collection of essays that centre around the idea of why literature is worthy of "serious" study. It was a course requirement, but I believe still it is an adequate treatment of the theme. Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - stillatim - LibraryThing
Do I agree with everything Trilling says? Of course not: he's disturbingly keen on a very orthodox Freud, and he's not immune to the old 'the cure for the problems of democracy is more democracy line ... Read full review
Reality in America
The Princess Casamassima
The Function of the Little Magazine
Art and Neurosis
The Sense of the Past
The Kinsey Report
F Scott Fitzgerald
The Meaning of a Literary Idea