Magazine April 16, 2012, Issue

Titanic Presumption

A visitor looks at a model of the RMS Titanic during an exhibition at Belfast’s City Hall in 2002. (Paul McErlane/Reuters)
A night to remember, 100 years later

‘The Titanic, name and thing, will stand for a monument and warning to human presumption.” That was the judgment of Edward Stuart Talbot, the Anglican bishop of Winchester, in the sermon he preached the Sunday after the fabled Atlantic passenger liner Titanic took nearly 1,500 lives with her as she sank after striking an iceberg in mid-ocean on April 14, 1912. “When has such a mighty lesson against our confidence and trust in power, machinery, and money been shot through the nation?” Talbot could not have known it, but an entire cascade of mighty lessons was about to be visited

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Allen C. Guelzo — Mr. Guelzo is the Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University.

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