the relationships with his parents andnwith Annie. This antihuman positionnHolbrook is attaclcine is embodied innRoy Short, an older school-friend ofnPaul’s who IS already up at Cambridgenspouting ail the “correct” left-wingnslogans.n”Short seized the opportunity to persuadenIPauil towards nihilism. A newnorthodoxy took over now his beliefnhadfailed —the metaphysics of chemicalnand physical laws, and the FinalnCause of Ultimate Entropy, of everythingnseeking equilibrium in death.nHe forgot himself … He forgot thatnall living creatures strive, and succeednor tail: by contrast with physicalnphenomena even thunderstorms,nwhich do not strive, do not trv to usentheir world, and cannot be said to succeednor fail. And he forgot man’snmoral dimension, even the dimensionnof being.”nIt is Roy’s voice that serves to entanglenPaul in various misadventures and almostnbrings about his downfall at thenend of the novel.nMediating this tug-of-war for Paul’snloyalties are the good offices of NugentnMonck. the aging director of the Maddermarket.nwho stands for the translucentnworld of literature and art.n”iPauil had felt swamped, suffocatednat home and didn’t know why. WithnMonck, every moment was taken upnwith an energetic attention to the naturenof the world, what it could teachnone. how one could interact with itnand change it.”nIt is precisely on this confrontationnbetween the passionate and the passiventhat the whole novel turns. Ironically,nboth terms derive from the Latinn”Passus” meaning suffering and submissionnand relating to the Crucifixionnand its surrounding drama of betrayal.nThe modern betrayal is the nihilisticncommercialism which Holbrook is seekingnto expose because it renders usnpassive in the face of our true humannpassions and desires.nThrough JMonck’s eyes Paul beginsnto realize how the wholeness of thenimagination and the redeeming qualitiesnof love serve to overcome man’s existentialnanxieties. But poetry alone willnsave no man. and so Monck’s mediatingnpresence is imperfect at best. The ”largernthan life” depersonalized world, whichnfans our hatred and aggression andndenies our vulnerability, continues tonpervade Paul’s thought. Yet in realisticallynportraying Paul’s struggles.nHolbrook has given us a picture of hownit is possible for a youth to enter thenadult world with resources deeper thannthe plastic facade of commercial culturenwhich paralyzes so many other adolescentsnbefore they have the chance ofnknowing the wider realms of experiencenin love and relationship.nTo explore as Holbrook has the delicatenmoral relationship between socialninstitutions and the inner life of thenpersonality is to risk a narrowness ofnvision because many “anti-life” forcesnare too easily dismissed. This in turnnleaves the author with a limited scopenof effective persuasion, and we shouldnnot forget that the primary task of suchna moral examination is to convince one’snreaders that the credo one assumes inndaily living will result naturally in antrue and meaningful identitv. that thenworld transformed into art correspondsnto our real human experiences. What isnneeded to persuade, of course, is thenenactment of real dramatic situationsn— the “showing” dimension of literature.nWhen Holbrook’s fictional voicenfalters, as it does on occasion, it is innpart because he slips into the “telling”nstrategy of the self-assured upstagensermon and thus interrupts his correspondencenof faith witfi the reader.nSalvation after all must be earned, notnmerely asserted. These are minor annoyances,nhowever, for in using fictionnto explore problems of personal experiencenand development. Holbrook hasnundertaken a significant journey ofnself-definition, and like the work ofnall serious artists. A Play or Passionnwidens the reader’s vision of the humannpotential, reinfuses the world with intentionality.nxlolbrook’s courage, in making hisnnovel face up to the questions of valuenin modern society, will impress manynas old-fashioned; he will gain little popularitynby advocating an end to commercialismnand a return to the culture ofnpersonal relationships. But to have accomplishednthe fine achievement of AnPlay of Passion is to have vindicatednthe essence of his undertaking—thencontinual search for viable responsesnto contemporary life — and in the processnhelped sketch out a reality in whichnyouth’s labor will not be lost. DnIn The Rockford Papers, February 1979. Vol. 4, No. 1. Pawel Mayewski on “THE USESnAND MISUSES OF ‘POWER (Notes on Foreign Policy)”;nIt is assumed that “the nuclear rationale” places upon the world leadership, inntotalitarian states as well as in the democracies, something like an obligation to proceednwith caution, because rash action automatically opens up the risk of catastrophe for all.nIn a reality where practical solutions are constantly sought, this nuclear imperativendemands that we constantly keep in mind the need to compromise. We have thus willynillynarrived at an equation that reads something like “compromise is action.” The wordn”compromise” todav has an extremely high value and in practice becomes interchangeablenwith reasonableness” —a government which is willing to compromise is reasonable, angovernment which firmly insists on something and holds steadfastly to its position is notn… It is this kind of reasoning, a state of mind, that seems to persuade our policy in allnbut the most “close to home” problems, especially since Vietnam, The notion prevailsnthat if only one side meets the other at some point between two a priori positions, thenproblem will be solved satisfactorily.nThis is, of course, a paralogism and one wonders how it came to be so widely accepted.nIt happens very often that A is in possession of what is right, whereas B is wrong—as innthe context of the Second World War. Any sane person would admit that at least in thatncontext, compromise, any compromise, was bound to lead to disaster, as it in effect did,nwhereas firm insistence on what was right could have prevented it. The alternative tonbeing firm when one is right is giving up at least part of one’s “rightness”-with all thenconsequences that must follow.nnnil9nChronicles of Culturen