By Fr. Herbert Keldany
NEWMAN: THE PILLAR OF THE CLOUD, by Meriol Trevor (Macmillan, 50s.).
THERE is a growing demand for long detailed biographies which enable the reader to come to his own conclusions about the subject. Here is one which should satisfy the most avid readers-a full length portrait of Cardinal Newman by a writer who has read all his letters, diaries and other writings and woven them without pedantry into an absorbing story of a man wholly dedicated fo God.
Miss Meriol Trevor believes in letting facts speak for themselves. so instead of isolating the central figure she peoples her canvas with a multitude of his relations, friends and enemies. too.
rrHE result is absorbing since it
depicts failures as well as successes, thus throwing much light on the religious situation in England a century ago.
Instead of stopping at Newman's reception into the Catholic Church in 1845, Miss Trevor carries the story over his early days as a priest and closes with a sombre picture of a man exhausted by trials: disse.ntion among his immediate followers, confusion about the projected university in Dublin and conviction in the courts over the sorry Achilli libel.
Another volume will describe his recognition in old age.
THERE is much that is human. Iven amusing, as well as edifying in this story of the first converts from Oxford. It is good to be reminded of their fortitude, but most of all to see Newman in the round.
Instead of the remote scholar. which is as near as most people get to his character, we discover that the dedicated mind was warmed by a generous heart. and that nervousness and ill health, often brought on by severe penances, underlay the writing and preaching at Oxford, as well as at the Oratory he founded in Birmingham.
Throughout. a multitude of his contemporaries as well as his iuniors turn to Newman for guidance, advice and inspiration in practical and spiritual affairs.
I T is made plain that Newman was only able to supply their ieed because of his utter dependince upon God.
This is nowhere so obvious as in iis sermons on which Miss Trevor iraws sparingly. She carries her earning lightly. and since she dis)enses with footnotes and refermces. should reach a wide public, vhich will look forward to reading he rest of the story in " Light in Winter ", promised for the autumn.