Lionel Trilling was, during his lifetime, generally acknowledged to be one of the finest essayists in the English language, the heir of Hazlitt & the peer of Orwell. Since his death in 1974, his work has been discussed & hotly debated, yet today, when writers & critics claim to be "for" or "against" his interpretations, they can hardly be well acquainted with them, for his work has been largely out of print for years. With this re-publication of Trilling's finest essays, Leon Wieseltier offers readers of many new generations a rich overview of Trilling's achievement. The essays collected here include justly celebrated masterpieces--on Mansfield Park & on "Why We Read Jane Austen"; on Twain, Dos Passos, Hemingway, Isaac Babel; on Keats, Wordsworth, Eliot, Frost; on "Art & Neurosis"; & the famous Preface to Trilling's book The Liberal Imagination. This exhilarating work has much to teach readers who may have been encouraged to adopt simpler systems of meaning, or were taught to exchange the ideals of reason & individuality for those of enthusiasm & the false romance of group identity. Trilling's remarkable essays show a critic who was philosophically motivated & textually responsible, alive to history but not in thrall to it, exercised by art but not worshipful of it, consecrated to ideas but suspicious of theory.Trilling, Lionel is the author of 'The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent: Selected Essays' with ISBN 9780374257941 and ISBN 0374257949.