Book Reviews of The Scarlet Professor: Newton Arvin -- A Literary Life Shattered by Scandal

The Scarlet Professor:  Newton Arvin -- A Literary Life Shattered by Scandal
The Scarlet Professor Newton Arvin -- A Literary Life Shattered by Scandal
Author: Barry Werth
ISBN-13: 9780385494687
ISBN-10: 0385494688
Publication Date: 4/17/2001
Pages: 336
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Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Book Type: Hardcover
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2 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Scarlet Professor: Newton Arvin -- A Literary Life Shattered by Scandal on
Werth (The Billion-Dollar Molecule) begins this expos with the arrest of Newton Arvin (1900-63) for possession of pornography, then presents a chronologically organized narrative from Arvin's arrival in Northampton, MA, as a 24-year-old instructor at Smith College, to his death. Arvin became a well-known literary critic and authored biographies of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, and Herman Melville, among others. He was forced into early retirement at Smith in 1960 after being sentenced for possession of pornography and for lewd (i.e., homosexual) behavior. The author stresses the psychological cost of Arvin's concealing his homosexuality, as well as the similarity between the prosecution of Arvin and that of Hester Prynne in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Smith College treated its homosexual professors more harshly than a heterosexual professor who was sexually involved with at least one member of the all-female student body. Through Arvin and his associates, Werth ably details the "witchhunt," first for Communists, then for homosexuals, in mid-20th-century America. Recommended for both public and academic libraries
reviewed The Scarlet Professor: Newton Arvin -- A Literary Life Shattered by Scandal on + 50 more book reviews
Great read about the bad old days: homophobia in academia.