From Publishers Weekly
Lionel Trilling (1905-1975) himself took a more serious look at the political commitments of intellectuals in his The Middle of the Journey (1947), also newly reissued, with an intro. by Monroe Engel. Arthur and Nancy Croom, a successful, affluent, young couple loyal to the Communist Party, are spending the summer in Connecticut, where they help their friend John Laskell recuperate from a near-fatal illness. Their cozy view of the Party is challenged by a visit from Gifford Maxim, an impassioned ex-Communist from their circle. Maxim had been the most radical of them all, working with the Communist underground, but became disenchanted and left the Party at the risk of his life. In the meantime, the ailing Laskell, confronting his own death, feels alienated from all political preoccupations. Written a crucial 13 years after Slesinger's book (noted above), this moody document of a vanished intelligentsia anticipates the deepening crisis of the left in the McCarthy years.
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"Trilling’s beautifully composed novel is set in the late 1930s, when the communist dream embraced by Slesinger’s characters was stripped bare by the emerging facts of Stalin’s atrocities…Just as Slesinger in her comic world unites politics and sex, so Trilling in his tragic one fuses politics with death." — Sam Tanenhaus, The Boston Globe
"…this moody document of a vanished intelligentsia anticipates the deepening crisis of the left in the McCarthy years." — Publishers Weekly
"Lionel Trilling’s The Middle of the Journey
is a searching account of the liberal’s dilemma of conscience in a world surrendering to extremes of dogma, an important first novel by a distinguished critic….Mr. Trilling has sounded a new note of dissent, a more realistic and mature one than the frantic reformism of the thirties and the sterile disillusionment of the twenties." — The Atlantic Monthly
"A depth that recalls Dostoyevsky and a subtlety worthy of Henry James." — Listener