Abstract

Genter explores the personal and professional relationship between the literary critic Lionel Trilling and the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, exposing their shared contributions to the hegemony of literary modernism in postwar intellectual circles. Since their initial meeting at Columbia University when Ginsberg as a first-year undergraduate attended Trilling's introductory literature class, the two writers maintained throughout their careers a combative yet productive discourse about the nature and goals of modernist writing. Despite Ginsberg's insistence that he had escaped the stultifying aspects of Trilling's literary practices, the rebel poet sought the same form of literary transcendence within his writings as Trilling did, and the adversarial relationship between them appears in retrospect, as part of a family affair. Throughout their letters and writing, Trilling and Ginsberg helped set the framework for postwar literary criticism and modernist practices.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-4286
Print ISSN
0093-3139
Pages
pp. 22-52
Launched on MUSE
2004-04-02
Open Access
No
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