as an individual. But srv’le must be genuine,nand no imitation: in the coursenof assessing Herman Wouk’s AuroranDawn Mrs. Trilling properly points outnthat “stylization is never style, and . . .nthere is something wrong with a societynwhich thinks it is.” Moreover, as stylenis to an individual, so is culture to ansociety: as important as the valuesnwhich a particular society embraces arenthe ways and customs in which theynare embedded. (Mrs. Trilling sometimesnspeaks of “cultural tone,” in a subtlenrefinement of the notion of culture.)nFinallv. the individual novelist’s stylenexists in a comple.x symbiosis with thencultural style within which the authornmoves. At one e.xtreme. indeed. Mrs.nTrilling argues in speaking of EudoranWelty that “style and . . . cultural attitudenare not separable.” that the individualnwriter and his cultural ambiencenmay be so closely entwined as to formna species of unity.nAs a balanced cultural critic, however.nMrs. Trilling recognizes that, asnvital as style and craftsmanship are,nthey may sometimes be given e.xcessivensignificance. For instance, in 1947 shencomplained of the “marked ascendancynof craft over conscience” in contemporarynAmerican literature: ‘probablvnthere has never been a time when sonmany people wrote so well’ as now butnto such meager purpose: when, indeed,nthe emptier a novel’s content, the surernits technical proficiency.” While annindividual’s or a culture’s style must bengenuinely individual, then, it must alsonbe utilized to express worthwhile culturalncontent. When the correct balancenof ideas with intuitive grasp of thenmystery of the human condition isnclothed in an individual style, a finennovel may result.nIdeas and culture often intersect innpolitics and engender the political novel,na special category with which any reviewernmust deal. Mrs. Trilling’s reactionnto Charles Mills’ book of 1943,nThe Choice, is instructive in this regard.nShe instinctively recoils from thencultural tone of Mills’ book, for itnsprings from a Southern culture fromnwhich she feels alienated: despite itsnmany strengths, she finds The Choicen”distressing” because it is also politicallyn”right-wing” (Mills makes his sympathiesnwith Italian fascism explicit).nThe 1940s were a political decade,nand the political element in Anglo-nAmerican culture at that time had tonbe dealt with. It is not that politics couldnnot be successfully incorporated in fiction:nin 1944 Mrs. Trilling praisednKatherine Anne Porter’s novelette “ThenLeaning Tower,’ describing the risenof Nazism in the Germany of 1931, asna “remarkable literary-political document,”nan “analysis of political forcesnwithout political analyses.” But it isnrare for an anti-fascist novel to succeednas literature: more commonly suchnbooks resemble Stefan Heym’s Hostagesn(1942), about the Germans innCzechoslovakia, which Mrs, Trillingndismisses as “only a grand-scale thriller,”nand not “serious anti-fascist literature.”n”Kitsch walks in.” she says of it, “wherenbetter intelligences may fear to tread.”nRight-wing novels in the 1940s were,nnot surprisingly, considerably less numerousnthan left-wing novels. To be sure,nmany such novels—for example thosenby Dya Ehrenburg and Anna Seghers—nare translations of foreign works, butnA’Irs. Trilling has little sympathy on thenwhole for homegrown left-wing fiction,nif only because of its terrible simplificationnof real life. She dissents fromnthe general approbation which led to anPulitzer Prize for John Hersey’s A Bellnfor Adano in 1945, decrying it asn”primitive” and suggesting that itnwas honored for reasons of “politicalnpartisanship.” “Mr. Hersey’s politicalnfears,” she comments, “never suggestna valid and useful complication of ideasnor feelings.”nMrs. Trilling by no means denies anynplace to politics in literature, for politicsnand culture are often enough inextricablynintertwined. Rather she believes anwriter must remain free, not “internallynbound” in a phrase Ivan Turgenev per­nnnceptibly applied to Leo Tolstoy in speakingnof War and Peace: and that commitmentnto a political ideology isnamong the surest ways for a writer tonlose his internal freedom. She may bensaid to be politically an honest centrist,none capable of perceiving the good andnthe bad in varying political camps. Asnshe phrases it succinctly at one point:n”Democratic culture, fiercely on guardnagainst encroachments from the right,ncalling them mystical or religious, onnthe one hand, or degrading to the individual,non the other, lets itself be insufficientlvnaware of the mysticism andnthe degradation of the individual whichninvade it from the left,’nAs a consequence of this attitude.nMrs. Trilling is willing to give conservativenwriting a fair hearing insteadnof discussing it out of hand. To be sure,nshe is frank to say that John B. Marquandnallows himself to go too far in hisncommitment to traditionalism in B. F. ‘snDaughter, and she wishes that the laternJohn Dos Passos’s literary vision mightnhave “widened … to the compass ofntragedy” instead of narrowing “to thencompass of bitterness,” Nevertheless,nshe remains firm in her commitmentnto the importance of the individual, hisnultimate responsibility for his ownnactions, his moral complexity, and indeednthe final mystery at the core ofnhuman existence which only true artncan begin to elucidate.nMrs. Trilling is likewise independentnin the evaluation of her own calling,nthat of book reviewer as cultural critic.nShe clearly recognizes the tendency ofnestablished reviewers to take entirelyntoo positive a view of cultural trashnprovided merely that it presents itselfnas “serious” (for which read: pretentious).nShe plainly sees the intellectualnsnobbery endemic among book reviewers,nas well as the “philistinism of theneducated spirit” which she rightly considersnat least as pernicious as the philistinismnof the common man. Even bynthe 1940s, if we are to accept hernevaluation, heterodoxy had become thennew orthodoxv of the intellectuals, andnChronicles of Culturen