[Humanist] 27.192 Trilling's words?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Jul 7 22:38:35 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 192.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 08 Jul 2013 06:17:37 +1000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: Trilling's words

This is a query about the actual source of a remembered quotation 
remembered to be from one of Lionel Trilling's essays. I'd be very 
grateful for an accurate pointer. It is something close to this: "Don't 
ask whether you like a book but whether the book likes you", and it 
likely occurs in the context of some of the great formidable people like 
Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Strindberg. In "On the teaching of modern 
literature", in Beyond Culture, Trilling remarks of the works he was 
teaching that,

> [They] have been involved with me for a long time - I invert the
> natural order not out of lack of modesty but taking the cue of W. H.
> Auden's remark that a real book reads us. I have been read by Eliot's
> poems and by Ulysses and by Remembrance of Things Past and by The
> Castle for a good many years now, since early youth. Some of these
> books at first rejected me; I bored them. But as I grew older and
> they knew me better, they came to have more sympathy with me and to
> understand my hidden meanings. Their nature is such that our
> relationship has been very intimate.

The quotation I am looking for is close to the above but this isn't it.

Many thanks.


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/)

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