Lionel Trilling was a writer, teacher and literary critic who was concerned with exploring the development of the liberal mindset, and applied psychology and sociology to his analysis. He saw literature as a tool to promote thinking on moral issues, and to challenge preconceived notions. Sun Myung Moon, who is himself the patron of culture and of educational and publishing enterprises, values literature as a vehicle for exploring human emotions, the best and worst in humanity. Literature and a talent for literary endeavor can be put to trivial use, or it can help to progress humankind towards achieving social goals of equality, freedom, mutual prosperity and interdependence. Trilling was an intellectual who put his literary skill to use to benefit society. In this, he was also sustained by a happy marriage with a fellow intellectual and this experienced mutual support in his life and work.
Although he never established a new school of literary criticism, Trilling is viewed as one of the great literary critics of the twentieth century for his ability to trace the cultural, social, and political implications of the literature of his time, and for his emphasis on the moral dimension of literature as a higher expression of the human spirit than the machinations of politics. While a socialist, he is also known for his criticism of the failings of the New Left in recognizing the crimes of Stalinism