Marilynne Robinson and the Case for Fiction

You wouldn’t know it from the unmatched empathy of her fiction, but Marilynne Robinson has a sharp tongue.  In her non-fiction writing, she has consistently turned an acerbic eye upon the poverties of our contemporary life of the mind.  In her latest, Absence of Mind, Robinson issues her most direct attack yet.  Originally as part [...]

On Lionel Trilling and The Princess Casamassima

One of my favorite essays in Lionel Trilling’s The Liberal Imagination is “The Princess Casamassima,” his impassioned reading of Henry James’s 1886 novel.  It’s always seemed to me one of the most incisive accounts of how a novel might address the social role of politics without resorting to pamphleteering.  In this essay, Trilling declares James [...]

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