Lionel Trilling's Jewish Problem

A leading light of the famous New York Intellectuals harbored deeply conflicted feelings about his own Jewishness, and exceptionally harsh views on Jews and Judaism.


Observation
Oct. 11 2018
About the author

Edward Alexander, professor emeritus of English at the University of Washington, is the author most recently of Lionel Trilling and Irving Howe: A Literary Friendship (2009) and Jews Against Themselves (2015).


Lionel Trilling (1905-1975) was the grand master of America’s “Age of Criticism.” A renowned literary authority who taught for many years at Columbia University, Trilling was an influential member of the grouping that came to be known as the New York Intellectuals, a highly respected voice in public arguments concerning matters social, cultural, and political—and a Jew with (to put it mildly) conflicted views on Jews and Judaism.

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More about: Arts & Culture, History & Ideas, Lionel Trilling, New York Intellectuals