Title

Liberalism, the Novel, & the Self: Lionel Trilling on the Political Functions of Literature

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 1991

Publication Title

Polity

Abstract

Lionel Trilling was a literary critic, not a political theorist, but he was very much concerned with the political effects of novels. This article explores Trilling's understanding of politics and the novel and, in particular, his view that novels can strengthen liberal society by presenting conflicting ideas in a way that encourages critical thinking and a morally stronger individual. Despite Trilling's limitations as a political theorist, the author finds his writings have much to teach on the relationship between liberalism, the novel, and the self.

Original Citation

Charles B. Hersch. (1991) Liberalism, the Novel, & the Self: Lionel Trilling on the Political Functions of Literature. Polity, 24, 1, 91-106.

Volume

24

Issue

1