Lionel Trilling Quotes.
At the bottom of at least popular Marxism there has always been a kind of disgust with humanity as it is and a perfect faith in humanity as it is to be.
Some paradox of our natures leads us, when once we have made our fellow men the objects of our enlightened interest, to go on to make them the objects of our pity , then of our wisdom , ultimately of our coercion.
Where misunderstanding serves others as an advantage, one is helpless to make oneself understood.
This is the great vice of academicism, that it is concerned with ideas rather than with thinking.
It is one thing, then, to say, “The Bible contains the religion revealed by God ,” and quite another to say, “Whatever is contained in the Bible is religion, and was revealed by God.” If the latter be accepted, metaphor and allegory become literal statements and the errors and absurdities of bibliolatry follow.
The immature artist imitates. Mature artists steal.
We are all ill: but even a universal sickness implies an idea of health.
Youth is a time when we find the books we give up but do not get over.
Unless we insist that politics is imagination and mind, we will learn that imagination and mind are politics, and of a kind we will not like.
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.
What marks the artist is his power to shape the material of pain we all have.
It is now life and not art that requires the willing suspension of disbelief.
Somewhere in the child, somewhere in the adult, there is a hard, irreducible, stubborn core of biological urgency, and biological necessity, and biological reason that culture cannot reach and that reserves the right, which sooner or later it will exercise, to judge the culture and resist and revise it.
After all, no one is ever taken in by the happy ending, but we are often divinely fuddled by the tragic curtain.
Our culture peculiarly honors the act of blaming, which it takes as the sign of virtue and intellect.
Ideology is not the product of thought; it is the habit or the ritual of showing respect for certain formulas to which, for various reasons having to do with emotional safety, we have very strong ties of whose meaning and consequences in actuality we have no clear understanding.
Immature artists imitate. Mature artists steal.
We are at heart so profoundly anarchistic that the only form of state we can imagine living in is Utopian; and so cynical that the only Utopia we can believe in is authoritarian.
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.
There is no connection between the political ideas of our educated class and the deep places of the imagination.
Probably it is impossible for humor to be ever a revolutionary weapon. Candide can do little more than generate irony.
Literature is the human activity that make the fullest and most precise account of variousness, possibility, complexity, and difficulty.