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.