Toni Morrison, Robert F. Goheen Professor at Princeton, is the author of seven novels. She received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. (August 2001)

On ‘The Radiance of the King’

Of the velvet-lined offering plates passed down the pews on Sunday, the last one was the smallest and the most nearly empty. Its position and size signaled the dutiful but limited expectations that characterized most everything in the Thirties. The coins, never bills, sprinkled there were mostly from children encouraged …