Lionel Trilling and the Critics: Opposing Selves

By John Rodden | Go to book overview

18
“Ernest Ironies: Trilling’s Forster,” unpublished essay
October 1997

Michael Levenson

Michael Levenson attended Harvard College as an undergraduate (1969– 73) and received his Ph.D. from Stanford University (1980). He accepted an academic appointment at the University of Virginia in 1979, where he is now professor of English.

He is the author of A Genealogy of Modernism (Cambridge University Press, 1984) and Modernism and the Fate of Individuality (Cambridge University Press, 1991). With Karen Chase he has recently completed The Spectacle of Intimacy: Family Life on the Public Stage (forthcoming), and he has just finished editing the Cambridge Companion to Modernism.

Levenson has published essays in a wide variety of scholarly journals and in The New Republic and The New York Times Book Review and has given public lectures at, among others, Harvard, Yale, the University of Chicago, the University of Warwick, and Concordia University. In 1995 he led a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) seminar for college teachers. Currently he is serving on the Modern Language Association (MLA) division of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century English literature.

Levenson’s current interests pace in the shadow of Lionel Trilling. He works in nineteenth- and twentieth-century intellectual and cultural history, pursuing subjects on both sides of the Atlantic. The culture of London, the American sixties, and the theory of fantasy are among his recent intellectual emphases.

It was an old intention, Trilling’s resolve to write a book on Forster, which finally realized itself at an uncanny moment. Composed in wartime and published during the most bitter period of hostilities, E. M. Forster: A Critical Study only looks like a standard monograph. Beneath the placidity

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