Harvard Magazine, April 1975

To the Editor:
Reading the reply by Professors Evans and Levin to my article on the Shakespeare authorship, I decided to red-line baseless slanders, misquotations, evasions and misstatements of fact, and inferences and opinions asserted as fact in contravention of the elementary ethics of scholarship. A trail of red lines followed my progress. This will surprise no informed person who has had to contend with the professors of English in this field. "The faults and failings of the Grand Inquisitor," as Professor Andrew M. Greeley recently wrote, "are railed against in the literature courses, but they have not by any means been exorcised from the academy." It is still deeply discouraging to find two teachers at Harvard construing their proper roles as those of lawyers in adversary proceedings and repudiating that objectivity and open-mindedness which are essential qualifications of an educator.

If, however, that is their taste, then let us by all means have such proceedings. Let us have a trial between Stratford and Oxford, each side to have a chance to present a full brief for its case, one not confined to the compass of a magazine article, and full opportunity for rebuttal. Let a representative of the Harvard Law School preside to ensure fairness. To find a publisher for the arguments should not be difficult. If, on the other hand, as in the case of other academicians of their stamp with whom I have had to deal, a fair trial is the last thing that Professors Evans and Levin desire, then let their unwillingness to face one speak for itself.
CHARLTON OGBURN
Oakton, VA

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