Fall 1950 • Vol. XII No. 4 Nonfiction |

The Politics of Human Power

Part of the pleasure of seeing Mr. Trilling's essays1 brought together surely consists in finding what he has been up to all along. As they came out in periodicals, or as one heard them from platforms, it always seemed that their author wrote from a solid, though developing, point of view, from some vantage, not precisely that of the audience, but which the audience was under the natural expectation to share, like the weather, or even like the momentum of society. The words seemed to have a source and a purpose, an origin and a destination. It was rather like Reinhold Niebuhr's iteration that in Christianity, and in Christianity alone, history is meaningful―but the meaning is not yet. Now reading the essays all together, although we see that the meaning is still not revealed, we see better by what means, and against what difficulties, the author goes about the business of cultivating his long hope. We see that he cultivates a mind never entirely his own, a mind always delibera

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