Literature’s Superego

Why Trilling Matters
Adam Kirsch
Yale University Press, $24, 208 pp.

In 1971, when I was beginning my academic career and Lionel Trilling was at the height of his fame, I sent him my essay “The Politics of Forster’s A Passage to India.” Challenging his view of this aspect of the novel, I wrote that “even Lionel Trilling states ‘its data were gathered in 1912 and 1922 before the full spate of Indian nationalism.’” Instead of ignoring or crushing me, he quoted Samuel Johnson and courteously replied: “Of course it is right. How I...

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About the Author

Jeffrey Meyers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has published Hemingway: The Critical Heritage (1982), Hemingway: A Biography (1985), and Hemingway: Life and Art (2000), as well as Samuel Johnson: The Struggle (2008), The Genius and the Goddess: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe (2009), George Orwell: Life and Art (2010), and John Huston: Courage and Art (2011).