It was Christmas Eve 1927 and Prohibition was at its height when Diana and Lionel Trilling, that distinguished literary pair, were introduced to each other. They met at a Manhattan speakeasy. Both were 22. Lionel was a graduate student at Columbia, taking his first tentative steps to a literary career. Diana hoped to be a singer. Soon after their marriage in 1929, the stock market crashed. Their families were in financial ruin. Not until the forties did Lionel attain literary recognition and Diana launch her career as fiction critic of the Nation. A long arduous decade had been lost to illness, financial hardship, grueling family responsibility. Also to the lure, and rejection, of Communism. The Beginning of the Journey takes its title from Lionel Trilling's famous novel, The Middle of the Journey. An uncommonly personal account of the upbringing, education, and marriage of two remarkable individuals, it is also a probing portrait of life among the group now so widely referred to as "the New York intellectuals." Mary McCarthy, Dwight Macdonald, William Phillips, Phillip Rahv, Edmund Wilson, James Agee, Sidney Hook, Randall Jarrell, Allen Ginsberg: these are but a few of the well-known figures whom we come to see through the eyes of someone who lived at the center of America's Bloomsbury. Although Mrs. Trilling chiefly deals with the intellectual culture of our century, the range of her memoir is not limited to this single section of society. The Beginning of the Journey speaks to questions of a kind which transcend social lines but which have been largely ignored by our literary biographers. What was it like, what was it really like, to be a woman in this predominantly male universe? What did it feel like to be as respected a critic as Diana Trilling but married to a man so much more celebrated than herself? What did a woman of her generation sacrifice for marriage and motherhood?