The Men on the Dump: A Response
For obvious reasons I’ve never been asked to write anything of this kind before, and in addition to a natural embarrassment at being required to go on at some length about my work I feel rather awkwardly and perhaps unnecessarily (though such retrospects seem almost obligatory at seventy) a need, not so much to defend that work, as to excuse or explain — to hint at some sort of narrative — to say how, in professional terms, one came about; how, in short, I happened to be or to become the person who wrote the books and papers to which members of the present company have so generously given their attention. I don’t mean to inflict autobiography, of course; the point is that as the books under discussion disappear one by one down the corridor of time there is no reason whatever to speak of them as belonging to the same family (always assuming, as some contributors to this volume obviously have assumed, that they need to be spoken of at all) except that they happen to have been written by me, the product of an education and a temperament that alike belong to an increasingly obscure past. Nostalgia has nothing to do with it; the point is to explain opportunities and limitations relevant to the matter in hand yet not fully understood, though still of some transient interest, to younger persons, a class that from a septuagenarian perspective grows rapidly larger.
KeywordsRubbish Dump Complicated Motivation Lionel Trilling Oral Reply Marxist Historicism
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