The Opposing Self: Nine Essays in Criticism, by Lionel Trilling
The vigor of Lionel Trilling’s criticism arises from the fact that he has been forced to work out an intellectual position that goes against the grain of his own mind. He is the most metropolitan of our critics—only a great city like New York could have produced him—yet the direction of his thought becomes increasingly anti-metropolitan. He has brilliant powers of analysis, yet more and more the object of his analysis is the vindication of the image-making faculty of the human mind against the analytical faculty. He is a true son of the age of ideology, feeling fully the appeal of the intellectual aggression we call ideology, the determination to make reality conform to the mind’s reading of reality; yet the essence of what he has to say is that the universe speaks in a voice beyond ideology, and that man can realize the fullness of his being only by listening to that voice.
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