Lionel Trilling

20th century American critic

Portrait of Lionel TrillingLionel Trilling

Lionel Trilling

Lionel Trilling (1905–1975) was a literary critic and member of the New York Intellectuals, who set themselves apart from the New Critics by stressing the importance of a literary work’s sociopolitical circumstances. Born in Queens, New York, Trilling attended Columbia University, and maintained a lifelong relationship with the school. In addition to his criticism, Trilling wrote one novel and a few short stories.

cover image of the book E. M. Forster

E. M. Forster

“The modern novel in its most cogent and permanent form”––this has been the achievement of E. M. Forster; his masterpiece, A Passage to India, belongs with perhaps three or four other works in English at the pinnacle of literary craftsmanship in this century. Yet for many years Forster’s genius was virtually unrecognized in America. Not until 1943, when Lionel Trilling’s authoritative and discerning study was first published, did Forster find his way to a broad American audience. In this 1964 revision of the first paperbook edition, Mr. Trilling added a preface and brought the bibliography up to date. His book performs two services: it is a critical-biographical introduction to the master novelist and his works; it is in itself a primary document in the development of, contemporary American criticism. Here is criticism functioning at its best, deftly, surely, wittily, within a framework of the ideas which are basic to literary thought today.

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