Lionel Trilling. Trilling was an American literary critic and teacher who brought psychological, sociological, and philosophical methods and insights into criticism. His critical writings include studies of Matthew Arnold and E. Trilling maintained an interest in Freud and psychoanalysis throughout his career. However he never based his criticism on any one system of thought. He always remained loyal, like E.
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Arnold wrote at what he perceived to be a time of crisis, and Trilling transposed his thoughts on nineteenthcentury Britain into an American context. These themes also map the schema that Trilling would apply in his own readings of literature and culture: rarely a close-reader of specific texts, Trilling transformed reading into a process of ethical and political reflection.
Trilling followed Matthew Arnold with E. Forster , a study of the British author whose reputation soared throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, especially in relation to his novels Howards End and A Passage to India. Trilling worked through many of his ethical, existential and political positions in his novel of ideas, The Middle of the Journey , which was well received; however, it was his collection of essays that were initially published between and — called The Liberal Imagination: Essays on Literature and Society — that essentially made his name.
The Liberal Imagination is a post-war reaction to what Trilling perceived as the stultifying lack of creative and intellectual will in the Cold War period; he countered this lack with another force: that of art. However, rather than expressing a main thesis, The Liberal Imagination can be thought of as a testing ground for the dominant intellectual force in America at the time of its writing: that of liberalism. This was an academic who would powerfully and publicly favour Freud over Marx during the early years of the Cold War, facilitating shifts in attitude and methodology in the humanities.
Trilling returned to Freud throughout his career, with many important contributions such as his Freud Anniversary Lecture presented at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and Society called Freud and the Crisis of Our Culture ; in this essay Trilling argues among many other things, that literature is fundamentally subversive, since its function is to make us aware not only of human particularity, but also ethical authority when combating cultural and societal stultification.
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Key Theories of Lionel Trilling
Freud and Literature by Lionel Trilling. October 04, In Lionel Trilling in his "Freud and Literature"remarked that " of all mental systems the Freudian psychology is the one which makes poetry indigenous to the very constitution of the mind". The Psychoanalytical theory of Freud has had a great effect upon literature. Yet the relationship is reciprocal, and the effect of Freud upon literature has been no greater than the effect of literature on Freud. When on the occasion of the celebration of his 70th birthday, Freud was greeted as the ' discoverer of the unconscious' , he corrected the speaker and disclaimed the title. There are some philosophers before Freud who clearly anticipate many of Freud's ideas.
Freud and Literature
A revised version appeared in Horizon , September 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 accumulated through the centuries. To pass from the reading of a great literary work to a treatise of academic psychology is to pass from one order of perception to another, but the human nature of the Freudian psychology is exactly the stuff upon which the poet has always exercised his art. It is therefore not surprising that the psycho-analytical theory has had a great effect upon literature. Yet the relationship is reciprocal and the effect of Freud upon literature has been no greater than the effect of literature upon Freud. 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 accumulated through the centuries.
1 LIONEL TRILLING "FREUD AND LITERATURE" (1940) Trilling ...
Trilling , Lionel. This is why psychoanalysis has had a great impact on the study of literature. Of course, the. He traces it in particular to a widely admired text, which Freud. However, Freud. Trilling then asks what is the difference between the dream and neurosis, on the one. Freud does admit that there is.