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September 12th, 2008 at 9:29 am

The Valve on Trilling, Part II

The Journey Abandoned, Lionel TrillingWe began the week with Trilling and we’ll end the week with Trilling. More specifically, The Valve held its second round of responses to Lionel Trilling’s novel, The Journey Abandoned.

This segment includes a response from the book’s editor Geraldine Murphy, as well as postings that consider the sexual themes in the novel (Joseph Kugelmass); how the novel diverges from Trilling’s reputation as representative of the mid-century liberal anticommunist intellecutal (Michael Kimmage); why Trilling was a better critic than novelist (Sean McCann); and the novel’s relationship to the birth of the New Deal welfare state (Michael Szalay).

As some of the contributors point out, Trilling’s novel was, in some ways, a failure and a disappointment (particularly to Trilling). However, as the contributors demonstrate, the novel casts a new light on Trilling as both a novelist and a critic, and his place in American intellectual life. As always, The Valve has delivered, offering an all-too-rare venue for imaginative and thoughtful discussion about literature. Not to be missed.

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