Treasure Island

Quotations From LIONEL TRILLING

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  • 1.
    We who are liberal and progressive know that the poor are our equals in every sense except that of being equal to us.
    Lionel Trilling (1905-1975), U.S. critic. "The Princess Casamassima," The Liberal Imagination (1950).
  • 2.
    In the American metaphysic, reality is always material reality, hard, resistant, unformed, impenetrable, and unpleasant.
    Lionel Trilling (1905-1975), U.S. critic. "Reality in America," The Liberal Imagination (1950).
  • 3.
    Probably it is impossible for humor to be ever a revolutionary weapon. Candide can do little more than generate irony.
    Lionel Trilling (1905-1975), U.S. critic. Partisan Review 50th Anniversary Edition, notebook entry 1931-1932, ed. William Philips (1985).

    Read more quotations about / on: irony, humor
  • 4.
    Being a Jew is like walking in the wind or swimming: you are touched at all points and conscious everywhere.
    Lionel Trilling (1905-1975), U.S. critic. Notebook entry, 1928. Partisan Review 50th Anniversary Edition, ed. William Philips (1985).

    Read more quotations about / on: swimming, wind
  • 5.
    Every neurosis is a primitive form of legal proceeding in which the accused carries on the prosecution, imposes judgment and executes the sentence: all to the end that someone else should not perform the same process.
    Lionel Trilling (1905-1975), U.S. critic. Notebook entry, 1946. Partisan Review 50th Anniversary Edition, ed. William Philips (1985).
  • 6.
    If one defends the bourgeois, philistine virtues, one does not defend them merely from the demonism or bohemianism of the artist but from the present bourgeoisie itself.
    Lionel Trilling (1905-1975), U.S. critic. Partisan Review 50th Anniversary Edition, notebook entry, 1951, ed. William Philips (1985).
  • 7.
    Reasons for not keeping a notebook: 1) the ambiguity of the reader—it is never quite oneself. 2) I usually hate the sight of my handwriting—it lives too much and I dislike its life—I mean by "lives," of course, betrays too much!
    Lionel Trilling (1905-1975), U.S. critic. Notebook entry, 1944. Partisan Review 50th Anniversary Edition, ed. William Philips (1985).

    Read more quotations about / on: hate, life
  • 8.
    Immature artists imitate. Mature artists steal.
    Lionel Trilling (1905-1975), U.S. critic. Esquire (New York, Sept. 1962).
  • 9.
    A primary function of art and thought is to liberate the individual from the tyranny of his culture in the environmental sense and to permit him to stand beyond it in an autonomy of perception and judgment.
    Lionel Trilling (1905-1975), U.S. critic. Beyond Culture, preface (1965).

    Read more quotations about / on: culture
  • 10.
    It is possible that the contemplation of cruelty will not make us humane but cruel; that the reiteration of the badness of our spiritual condition will make us consent to it.
    Lionel Trilling (1905-1975), U.S. critic. Partisan Review 50th Anniversary Edition, entry in 1948, ed. William Philips (1985). On Plato's theory of art.
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