The Liberal Imagination by Lionel Trilling

Image of The Liberal Imagination

The Liberal Imagination is one of the most admired and influential works of criticism of the last century, a work that is not only a masterpiece of literary criticism but an important statement about politics and society. Published in 1950, one of the chillier moments of the Cold War, Trilling's essays examine the promise --and limits--of liberalism, challenging the complacency of a naive liberal belief in rationality, progress, and the panaceas of economics and other social sciences, and asserting in their stead the irreducible complexity of human motivation and the tragic inevitability of tragedy. Only the imagination, Trilling argues, can give us access and insight into these realms and only the imagination can ground a reflective and considered, rather than programmatic and dogmatic, liberalism.

- Publisher

The 43rd greatest nonfiction book of all time

This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 32nd on The 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century (National Review)
  2. - 56th on The Modern Library | 100 Best Nonfiction (The Modern Library)
  3. - The 50 Best Books of the Century (Intercollegiate Studies Institute)
  4. - 100 Major Works of Modern Creative Nonfiction (

Buy This Book

Kindle Edition