Did Dostoevsky really meet Dickens in 1862? -- And, as a number of scholars have asserted, did the author of Oliver Twist and David Copperfield really tell Dostoevsky that all his good characters were based on "what he wanted to have been," and that all his villains were based on "what he was"? -- Eric Naiman revealed this week that the supposed Dickens-Dostoevsky meeting, which had been accepted by Dickens scholars like Claire Tomalin and Michael Slater, never took place. -- The meeting was really a clever literary hoax perpetrated by a writer named A.D. Harvey, an imposture at once crazy, fascinating, outrageous, and... Nabokovian. -- Harvey, as described by Naiman, is a literary and historical scholar who is frustrated never to have been rewarded with stable academic employment, despite some 700 job applications. -- His hoaxes (for there are others) appear to be intended as an indictment of the corrupting influence of careerism and productivist interestedness in literary criticism, where, according to Harvey, there is to be found more "hatred of art" and "hatred of literature" than esteem for it. -- "In our day," Harvey has written under his own name, "many of the supposedly responsible organs of criticism are involved in the imposture, frequently as criminal accessories, and the faking has become more elaborate, more sophisticated, almost to the point of becoming a type of High Art in itself." -- A disgusted (and often disgusting) Harvey seems, then, to have decided to devote himself to subverting the values of its practices, becoming a sort of critical outlaw, "a vigilante, punishing scholars who casually appropriate the labor of others." -- Harvey's violation of the canons of scholarship, considered in this light, are a protest in the name of other, higher values. -- But Naiman rejects such a charitable interpretation. -- Instead, he indicts Harvey for "a violation of the trust that remains a constitutive element of the humanities. . . . [P]lacing [partisan, anonymous] reviews or hoaxing articles in academic journals . . . may be the closest a secular scholar can come to desecration." ...
WHEN DICKENS MET DOSTOEVSKY
By Eric Naiman
TLS (Times Literary Supplement) (London)
April 10, 2013
Late in 2011, Michiko Kakutani opened her New York Times review of Claire Tomalin’s biography of Charles Dickens with “a remarkable account” she had found in its pages. In London for a few days in 1862, Fyodor Dostoevsky had dropped in on Dickens’s editorial offices and found the writer in an expansive mood. In a letter written by Dostoevsky to an old friend sixteen years later, the writer of so many great confession scenes depicted Dickens baring his creative soul: "All the good simple people in his novels, Little Nell, even the holy simpletons like Barnaby Rudge, are what he wanted to have been, and his villains were what he was (or rather, what he found in himself), his cruelty, his attacks of causeless enmity toward those who were helpless and looked to him for comfort, his shrinking from those whom he ought to love, being used up in what he wrote. There were two people in him, he told me: one who feels as he ought to feel and one who feels the opposite. From the one who feels the opposite I make my evil characters, from the one who feels as a man ought to feel I try to live my life. 'Only two people?' I asked."
I have been teaching courses on Dostoevsky for over two decades, but I had never come across any mention of this encounter. Although Dostoevsky is known to have visited London for a week in 1862, neither his published letters nor any of the numerous biographies contain any hint of such a meeting. Dostoevsky would have been a virtual unknown to Dickens. It isn’t clear why Dickens would have opened up to his Russian colleague in this manner, and even if he had wanted to, in what language would the two men have conversed? (It could only have been French, which should lead one to wonder about the eloquence of a remembered remark filtered through two foreign tongues.) Moreover, Dostoevsky was a prickly, often rude interlocutor. He and Turgenev hated each other. He never even met Tolstoy. Would he have sought Dickens out? Would he then have been silent about the encounter for so many years, when it would have provided such wonderful fodder for his polemical journalism?
Several American professors of Russian literature wrote to the New York Times in protest, and eventually a half-hearted online retraction was made, informing readers that the authenticity of the encounter had been called into question, but in the meantime a second review of Tomalin’s biography had appeared in the Times, citing the same passage. Now it was the novelist David Gates gushing that he would trade a pile of Dickens biographies for footage of that tête-à-tête. While agreeing with Tomalin’s characterization of this quotation as "Dickens’s most profound statement about his inner life," he found its content less astonishing than she: "it's only amazing because it's the image-conscious Dickens himself coming out and saying what anybody familiar with his work and his life has always intuited."
Shortly thereafter, the Times website appended to the online version of Gates’s review the same cautionary note that had already been attached to Kakutani's. But on January 15, 2012, the paper’s "Sunday Observer" section published yet a third article on Dickens that quoted from Dostoevsky's letter. (The same online disclaimer was soon appended to this piece as well.) The newspaper’s collective unconscious was unable to give the story up. It demands retelling, and by now Dickens and Dostoevsky can be found meeting all over the web. Their conversation appeals to our fancy while, as Gates realized, comforting us with a reaffirmation of what we already know. Moreover, this reassuring familiarity applies not only to Dickens, but also to Dostoevsky. The man who asks "Only two?" is a writer who already knows what Mikhail Bakhtin would eventually write about him, who is presciently aware of his late-twentieth-century canonization as the inventor of literary polyphony.
Apparently, not everyone at the New York Times was indifferent to the authenticity of the episode recounted by Tomalin. Queried by that paper about it, Tomalin returned to her research notes and soon admitted that she might have been the victim of a hoax. Responding to charges of unbecoming gullibility levelled at her by Deborah Friedell in the London Review of Books ("She might have been less susceptible had she not so badly wanted it to be true"), Tomalin defended herself by saying that she had found the account "irresistible" and had relied on the scholarship of others.
The meeting of the two novelists had first been described -- at least, in English -- by one Stephanie Harvey, in a short article published in 2002 in the Dickensian, the organ of the Dickens Fellowship, a society founded in London in 1902 with a very large brief: to combat social evils, to spread the love of humanity, "to assist in the preservation and purchase of objects and buildings associated with Dickens or mentioned in his work," and "to knit together in a common bond of friendship lovers of the great master of humour and pathos." Tomalin regarded publication of the article in the *Dickensian* as an authentication of the encounter; moreover, the meeting had subsequently been mentioned in monographs by two leading Dickens scholars, Malcolm Andrews and Michael Slater. "We were all caught out," Tomalin wrote. "The hoax was a clever one precisely because it convinced so many Dickens scholars."
This is odd, backwards logic. The hoax wasn't clever because it convinced so many Dickens scholars; rather, it was clever for the same reason it convinced them: because it was modest. The title of Stephanie Harvey's three-page contribution to the Dickensian contained no mention of Dostoevsky. "Dickens's Villains: A Confession and a Suggestion" began with a restatement of an established interpretive position -- "Since Edmund Wilson’s essay 'Dickens: The Two Scrooges' . . . it has been something of a commonplace that Dickens drew on what he suspected about his own character and disposition for his villains." Then, in its second paragraph, Harvey’s article offers Dickens’s "confession" to Dostoevsky as an "unexpected confirmation" of this truism. The excerpt from Dostoevsky's letter itself opens with a less than earth-shaking declaration: "Obviously," he is supposed to have written, "a writer cannot escape from what he has seen and felt in his own life. It is his own senses that tell him that the sky is blue in summer, that rain is wet, that ice is cold." After quoting from the letter, Stephanie Harvey's short article concludes with a few paragraphs of standard biographical sentimentality before reaching an ending characterized by stylistic kitsch: "By the time Dostoyevsky met Dickens, the latter's father was dead, his wife had been abandoned, his older children were adults, and all but two of his novels had been written and published to great acclaim, but Dostoyevsky's reminiscence of Dickens's words indicates that, even after two decades, some sort of conflict of feeling regarding family obligations was still vivid in Dickens's memory."
Cue the violins.
Although Christopher Hitchens, in a sceptical piece written just before his death, would with a decade's hindsight call Stephanie Harvey’s revelation a "bombshell," her article actually seems designed to muffle its contribution to Dickens scholarship. Nothing about it screams "Dickens met Dostoevsky!" The author is concerned entirely with demonstrating that Dickens drew on his own experience in his creation of characters. A competent writer of expository prose, Stephanie Harvey would not appear to have an acute interpretive faculty. "Poor thing," a more ambitious scholar might think, preparing a work designed to have wider scholarly or popular impact; "she didn’t know what she had."
Stephanie Harvey’s article probably would not have been published had it not included the description of the Dostoevsky-Dickens encounter. What else, in truth, would it have had to offer? Stephanie Harvey made sure, if only in passing, that the editors would know -- if they didn't realize it instantly -- that she was offering a discovery. She provided what looked like adequate documentation, attributing the discovery to a Soviet scholar, K. K. Shaiakhmetov, who had purportedly published it in "Vedomosti Akademii Nauk Kazakskoi SSR: Institut Istorii, Filologii i Filosofii vol.45 (Alma Ata 1987), pp.49–55 at 53–4." This title -- which translates as "News of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic: the Institute of History, Philology and Philosophy" -- is an entirely plausible mouthful for anyone who has worked with Russian materials, even if that first word -- Vedomosti -- tended to be out of use in Soviet times. The title of the article, "Dva Pis'ma 1878" (Two Letters of 1878) was as unassuming as Stephanie Harvey’s own.
Without Dostoevsky's name in its title, her article was unlikely to attract the attention of Russianists. And so it lurked, a scholarly sleeper cell, as Dickens experts began to draw on it. Michael Slater included it in his biography (2009), but only when reviews of that book appeared did specialists in Russian literature begin questioning the authenticity of the encounter. Sarah J. Young, a lecturer in Russian at University College London, mentioned it in her blog, "Russians in London," where she pointed out that after its purported publication in the Soviet Union the letter had not been included in the standard Russian edition of Dostoevsky’s collected works, the epistolary volumes of which began appearing in 1988. It would have been impossible for Soviet scholars to miss the Soviet publication, even one from Alma Ata, of two newly discovered letters by Dostoevsky. "One can only conclude," Young wrote, "that the letter isn’t genuine, which is rather sad, because the idea of the two men meeting is so wonderful."
It was about this time that Michael Hollington, a professor of English at the University of New South Wales, became suspicious of Stephanie Harvey’s article. It had come to his attention only when he read Slater’s biography, and he asked Malcolm Andrews, the Editor of the Dickensian and the Professor of Victorian and Visual Studies at the University of Kent, if he might ask the author for more documentation. When Professor Andrews wrote to Ms. Harvey, she responded that she had lost her notes, had a poor memory, and had moved on to other topics. The letter was written in a shaky hand, reminding Andrews of a child’s scrawl or the penmanship one might expect from a correspondent who was mentally ill. Hollington asked a Russianist at Cambridge to investigate the Kazakh journal, and the latter reported that he could find no evidence of its existence. Hollington then conveyed this information to Slater, who removed the reference to the meeting from the 2011 reprinting of his biography. (Malcolm Andrews also deleted it from the second edition of his own Dickens monograph.) Meanwhile, Andrews had again contacted Ms. Harvey and in reply received an email from her sister informing him that Stephanie Harvey had been severely injured in a car accident, had suffered brain damage, and only intermittently recognized members of her family.
Professor Hollington reported on his investigation in a letter he relayed to me earlier this year for posting on SEELANGS, the LISTSERV used by specialists in Slavic and East European Languages. The list had been buzzing about the Dickens-Dostoevsky meetings since the publication of Kakutani’s review, and I had put out a call for help locating the sources. Cassio de Oliveira, a graduate student at Yale then conducting research in Moscow, was the first to respond. He looked for the elusive “Vedomosti Akademii Nauk Kazakhskoi SSR” in the Russian State Library. He found no record of the journal's existence, and a subsequent inquiry at the Center for Eastern Literature in Moscow also failed to turn up such a title. Similar Kazakh Academy of Sciences titles did exist (not “Vedomosti” but the virtually synonymous "Vestnik" and "Izvestiia"), although none of these contained letters by Dostoevsky. The librarians at the Russian State Library became interested in de Oliveira’s inquiries; customary indifference melted away and they decided to extend him their full help because, after all, this was a matter that related to "our Dostoevsky." They searched the website of the National Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan and reported that not only was there no trace of Vedomosti's existence, but the article's author, K. K. Shaiakhmetov, didn't seem to exist either.
So who was Stephanie Harvey, and why had she written her article? Had she perhaps, as Malcolm Andrews charitably suggested, herself been the victim of a hoax? Ms. Harvey was not included in the List of Contributors of the issue of the Dickensian in which her article appeared. (She was the only contributor that entire year to remain undescribed.) Her self-descriptive note had arrived much too late for inclusion, and it stated only that she was a freelance writer. In his SEELANGS posting Michael Hollington had urged those wishing to investigate this matter any further to exercise restraint and caution in referring to Ms. Harvey. Given her serious injuries, inquiries might cause unnecessary distress to her and to members of her family.
Professor Andrews was understandably reluctant to disclose her address. An editor owes a duty to his contributors as well as to his readers, and this is particularly true where a journal’s sponsoring organization includes both professionals and amateurs. The Dickens Fellowship is a home for both scholars and enthusiasts; in the year that Ms. Harvey’s article was published, the Dickensian’s contributors included retired administrators, a local historian, a horticulturalist, a member of the staff of the National Maritime Museum, and a participant in the Warsaw Uprising. There would be something ignoble about exposing individual contributors to international attention, especially when the author was prevented by illness or injury from responding robustly. Although at some point this duty to protect contributors must yield to the duty not to countenance misleading a journal's readers, the injuries apparently suffered by Stephanie Harvey brought pity and compassion into the equation. Responding to a request for more information about Ms Harvey's whereabouts, Andrews declined, noting that ultimately it was he who had to take responsibility for what he had published.
"Stephanie Harvey" is a fairly common name. Googling it produces over 95,000 results. There are nearly 300 Stephanie Harveys on Facebook. The most famous is a literacy and writing consultant based in Denver. She disclaimed authorship of "Dickens’s Villains" and in an email signed "The Other Stephanie Harvey" told me I wasn’t the first to ask.
The article in the Dickensian had no loose ends at which one could tug. If the editors of the Dickensian were unwilling to track Stephanie Harvey down, how might someone else do it? Having read my share of crime fiction, I suspected that the hoax in the Dickensian might not be her first scholarly crime. Perhaps at an earlier stage she would not have been so careful? Nearly all the publications I could find by Stephanie Harvey were clearly by her American namesake. One, however, stood out as falling within the range of interests and stylistic register of the author of "Dickens’s Villains."
Published in 1993 in the English journal Critical Survey, this article -- “Doris Lessing's 'One off the Short List' and Leo Bellingham's 'In for the Kill'" -- has a title reminiscent of high school compositions lacking a thesis. The article's raison d'être is a straightforward comparison between two stories that deal with a man's forcing sex on a woman; in each case the woman afterwards disappoints her assailant by being unfazed by the encounter. The article presents authorial gender as the most important distinction between the two treatments of this theme. It never raises the question of the stakes involved in comparing a well-known writer with one who would not be familiar to many readers of Critical Survey. Leo who? Stephanie Harvey provides no background for Bellingham's career; indeed, it is as though he, like Lessing, requires no introduction. At several points she makes clear that she believes Bellingham to be the better artist.
Coincidentally, I had already come across Leo Bellingham's name, in a discussion of university novels. Moonlighting from my teaching of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, I had been putting together a new seminar on campus fictions; Bellingham's name had just crossed my radar, initially in an article written by an independent, Cambridge-based scholar named John Schellenberger. In 1980 Bellingham had published Oxford: The novel. Plodding, with stilted dialogue and tiresome, archly constructed scenes of eavesdropping and retelling, the book chronicles the student hero's pursuit -- some might say stalking -- of the elusive woman who will eventually become his wife. I could not find any other book Bellingham had written, nor, on reading Stephanie Harvey’s article, could I locate the journal, New Beginning, that had supposedly published Bellingham's story, "In for the Kill," in 1986. (As with the Kazakh title, a few similarly named journals did turn up. New Beginnings proved to be a periodical devoted to lactation; A New Beginning was intended for the recently widowed and the newly divorced.) In fact the only references I could find to the story appeared in subsequent citations of Stephanie Harvey’s article, mostly from bibliographies of scholarship about Doris Lessing's work -- which just shows how often scholars include an article in a bibliography without really thinking about it.
"In for the Kill' could not be found in any journal, and scarcely seemed to exist outside Stephanie Harvey’s article. Yet that article quoted liberally from it. She also cited the work of several scholars working on Bellingham, expressing particular gratitude towards "Ludovico Parra, who is currently working on a full-length study of Bellingham, for advice and access to unpublished materials," and referring to his article "Oxford: The novel come romanzo storico," from the Annuario dell’Università degli Studi di Bari (1983). This is a difficult issue to find; unlike the Kazakh Vedomosti, the University of Bari’s Annuario did indeed exist at one time, but neither I nor any of SEELANGS’s far-flung detectives could locate an issue published after 1970. Searches of international and Italian databases revealed no trace of a scholar named Ludovico Parra.
So now the meeting between two literary giants had led me to two names with very little behind them: Stephanie Harvey, who had written only these two articles, and Leo Bellingham, whose chief claim to fame may be that he was once compared by Stephanie Harvey to Doris Lessing. Moreover, this barely existent scholar writing about a less-than-prolific writer seemed to be making him more productive by inventing extracts from a work that nobody else could be found ever to have read. What was clear was Stephanie Harvey’s penchant for a distinct modus operandi. Both of her articles were comparative, both owed a debt to defunct or seemingly non-existent foreign journals, and both introduced material that might well have been invented specifically for inclusion in her chosen scholarly publication.
Despite a decent review in the TLS (May 1, 1981), Oxford: The novel had not attracted much attention. The article by John Schellenberger on university novels was the only other critical treatment it had received, at least that I could find. Moreover, Leo Bellingham was just as mysterious as Stephanie Harvey. The dust jacket of his novel contains no biographical information. Lindsay Duguid, the TLS reviewer, had ventured that the name sounded made up; John Schellenberger had written that Bellingham was “rumored to be the pseudonym of a certain distinguished historian of St. John's." Were Leo Bellingham and Stephanie Harvey related or perhaps the same person? That might explain the latter's confident pronouncement that Bellingham was a more efficient plotter and a better stylist than Lessing.
It would also provide a sly twist to her comparative essay. Although ultimately she opts for "narrative style" as the principal distinction between the two authors, the pivotal point is gender. While both Lessing and Bellingham describe encounters that could be qualified as rape, the woman's rendition of the scene is restrained and clinical: "it is indisputable that Doris Lessing does not seem to find the picture she presents titillating." But “when Leo Bellingham writes of 'delightful memories of pointy little titties and spread thighs' and 'an adorable little bum, each succulent buttock . . . as rounded and brown as farmhouse eggs [. . .],' one supposes that this almost voyeuristic lyricism has the aim of making the narrative seem . . . sexy from an uncompromisingly male, macho, even sexist point of view." Stephanie Harvey argues that Bellingham "collaborates in [his story's] sexual abuse . . . by describing rape, or seduction, or whatever it is to be called, with enthusiastically graphic flourishes." (A footnote draws a comparison between Bellingham and Nabokov.) This interpretation is part of a gender-sensitive critique, the kind, so the article implies, a woman would write, except that this woman -- Stephanie Harvey -- cannot refrain from repeating the passages she identifies as erotically charged. She returns once again to the "delightful memories of pointy little titties and spread thighs." "The dark point of [the heroine's] droopy little caramel-coloured boob" also makes two appearances. Was this simply a textbook case for the deconstructionist, a pedestrian example of the text's language contradicting its message, or was the author having something of a paradoxical laugh?
In addition to the untraceable Ludovico Parra, Stephanie Harvey refers in her Critical Survey article to two more scholars whose works-in-progress she has been allowed to consult. Her opening footnote acknowledges the relevance of "Living Together and Writing Apart -- Richard Aldington and H.D.", by A.D. Harvey, and Graham Headley's "Marrying for Position in Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey". I have been unable to locate either of these essays. At least one of these scholars exists, however. We will return to Graham Headley, but A.D. Harvey has a publishing record spanning thirty-five years.
Born in 1947, he grew up in Colchester and received his bachelor’s degree at Oxford (St. John’s College) and his Ph.D. in History at Cambridge. He is the author of nearly ten monographs dealing with English history, literature, and culture, with a sideline in the history of military technology: recent publications include contributions to Air Power History and the Royal United Services Institute Journal, the organ of a military think tank proud to have been founded by the Duke of Wellington. The author of hundreds of articles in scholarly and popular journals, including this one, he has also been an inveterate letter-writer to the TLS, the Times Higher Education Supplement, the Times Education Supplement, and the London Review of Books. He has often featured as a source for the TLS’s NB column, whose author "J.C." refers to him as "our man in the Public Record Office." A regular contributor to History Today, Harvey has also published a science-fiction novel, Warriors of the Rainbow (2000), and a slim volume of poetry (Sonnets, 2006) with a small publishing house based in Guernsey. For a time he was a regular contributor to the Salisbury Review (motto: Seriously Right!), edited by Roger Scruton. In 2000 Scruton introduced A.D. Harvey to the journal’s readers as the publication’s new Editor, but in 2002 Harvey’s name suddenly vanished from the masthead, and he never published there again.
Harvey’s work has been generally well received in those British weeklies that review serious non-fiction, but it has had a mixed reception in the scholarly journals. While he has often been praised for his breadth of reading, his archival tenacity, and his ability to write seriously and eclectically in a popular tone, his work has just as frequently been criticized for a lack of theoretical savvy and interpretive acumen. Harvey’s books have been called "grand in scope, bold in approach and brilliant in detail," but also "quirky," "exasperating," "exhaustive and sometimes exhausting," and hard to digest. Some colleagues have not admired his penchant for lengthy, albeit often quite interesting quotations, which tends to turn chapters into lists and can make a monograph a "veritable quarry" of primary materials. Harvey’s crossing of disciplinary boundaries has often proved his undoing: "The problem is that Harvey's position is so interdisciplinary that it risks incoherence . . . . The comparatist, the economic historian, the sociologist of literature, the intellectual historian: it is an awkward polyphony of voices, which ultimately fails to produce an harmonious whole." His monograph Sex in Georgian England (1994) prompted a distinct sharpening of the critical knives, but perhaps the unkindest cut came from the female reviewer who, in the course of disputing the book's conclusions about realism in paintings of the female nude, opined that Harvey probably had an inadequate familiarity with the range of areolae to be encountered in real life.
Harvey has not held a continuing post at a British university, although he has occupied temporary positions abroad, including stints at Salerno and Saint-Denis de la Réunion. By his own count, since receiving his Ph.D. from Cambridge he has applied for around 700 university positions in Britain, but has been invited for interview only eight times. (This lack of success in the British academic job market has perhaps confirmed him in his staunchly critical view of the hiring and promotion processes to be found in most English universities.) In “My History and My Collections,” published in Critical Quarterly last year, Harvey writes plaintively about his research and his career. After a fascinating account of his attempt to document ephemera (Harvey has collected “plastic shopping bags . . . religious tracts and left-wing leaflets” and has photographed “different designs of street bollard in London, parish boundary markers, nineteenth century coal-hole covers, drain inspection hatches with the initials of the local authorities . . . commercial advertisements painted directly on brickwork, curious gravestones in cemeteries, and so forth”), Harvey turns to consider the fate of his more traditional scholarly activities. In what can best be described as a narrated C.V. of publications he authored and jobs he didn’t get, Harvey portrays himself as the victim of a university system that has no real interest in genuine scholarship. The tone becomes increasingly melancholy, the conclusion tinged by both resignation and resentment: "It is always difficult to be quite sure whether we are shaped by the external circumstances imposed upon us, or whether we ourselves are essentially the shaper of our circumstances . . . . Anyhow, now that I am in my mid-sixties I’m stranded where I am. My books are occasionally offered cheap on Amazon but otherwise repose unread in library bookstacks, though I imagine quite a few copies have been long since thrown away, along with most of the copies of the monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly publications that printed much of my best research. My collections will have the same fate: but then most of the old painted advertisements I photographed, and the buildings they were on, and the grave markers, will also disappear in a few decades’ time, and the future will go on in perfect contentment without them, and the documents I discovered and photocopied will one by one be discovered again, and ignored, or used to launch a brilliant career as a time-serving faculty hack, and vice-chancellors will trouser an even larger share of academic funding."
Harvey has repeatedly focused his ire on several institutions, most notably the left-tilting British Academy, and rarely misses an opportunity to attack F.R. Leavis, for him the epitome of the academic establishment in British literary scholarship, whose whining, resentful, and exclusionary spirit he finds alive and unwell throughout British humanities departments: “Leavis is dead, the details of much of his critical doctrine forgotten, but his sour, self-assured tones live on.” More interesting for our present purposes, however, is Harvey’s singular animus against the scholarly organ of the Historical Association; in both the THES and the Salisbury Review he has singled out the journal History for barring independent scholars from its pages and maintaining “a blacklist of scholars whose work is to be rejected out of hand.” As far as I have been able to determine, that blacklist consists of only two names: A. D. Harvey and Trevor McGovern.
In 1988 History was edited by W. A. Speck, then Professor of History at Leeds and a leading expert on late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain. Towards the end of that year, Speck took the extraordinary step of sending the journal’s subscribers a supplementary article by Howard Nenner, a professor at Smith College, which was printed on gummed pages. Subscribers were instructed to paste the article in over another article in the June issue of History. That contribution, “Conservative Ideology in Britain in the 1790s,” by Trevor McGovern, “so plagiarized a work by A. D. Harvey that it should have been ascribed to him.” Dr. Speck apologized to subscribers for his lack of vigilance and thanked Professor Nenner for allowing his article to be published in this “unorthodox” manner. (This unique method of dissemination has had unexpected consequences in the digital age. Nenner’s contribution has no place in the Wiley digital library for History, where McGovern’s article continues to be available. Some libraries, including Swarthmore College’s, never gummed in the pages. Others, including those at Princeton and the University of Virginia, followed the journal’s suggestion, with the result that McGovern’s contribution was rendered inaccessible to anyone interested in the history of the journal itself.) In a subsequent issue, Speck informed his readers that all prospective authors would now have to supply an entry to a section of “Notes on Contributors.” The journal had considered closing its pages to scholars lacking an affiliation to an institution of higher education, “but that would be a very difficult policy to defend when so many young historians are experiencing difficulties in obtaining posts in such establishments and when indeed the opportunities to obtain them could be enhanced by publication in scholarly journals.” “Trevor McGovern, whoever he is -- and all attempts to identify him have only aroused strong suspicions -- could well have been a graduate needing precisely the kind of break a published article would provide.”
The nature of Speck’s suspicions was never disclosed to subscribers, nor was the extent of his discomfiture, about which I learned when I contacted him last spring. Very soon after becoming Editor, he had rejected a submission from A. D. Harvey, who had published his work in the journal in the past. When the McGovern submission arrived, the Editor sent it off to a reader for evaluation; the response was positive, but the letter with Speck’s notification to McGovern that the piece would be forthcoming in the next issue was returned unopened. Imagining that McGovern was probably a graduate student away on research, Speck went ahead with publication. Shortly thereafter he received a letter from an American colleague informing him that the article had been lifted almost verbatim from Harvey’s Britain in the Early Nineteenth Century. Speck then went to London and found the address from which the McGovern article had been mailed. Nobody called Trevor McGovern had been in residence there, but Speck learned that until recently one of the inhabitants had been A. D. Harvey. Speck offered to resign as Editor and to pay for the costs of printing and mailing Nenner’s article. Both offers were declined.
The McGovern affair was not quite over. Soon after the appearance of an editorial in which Speck announced his desire to keep the journal’s pages open to independent scholars, he received a submission from an Andrea Jones, who identified herself as a graduate student encouraged by History’s willingness to publish works by contributors who were not yet widely known. Something about the submission made Speck suspicious. He cross-checked it with Harvey’s published work and found twenty plagiarized pages. He then wrote to Harvey and asked if he would like to serve as an external evaluator for a recent submission. Harvey agreed and was sent Ms. Jones’s paper. The result, Speck recalls, was the most vituperative letter he has ever received, accusing the academic establishment in general and Speck in particular of running a closed shop. When Harvey submitted another contribution to History, observing that he understood the Historical Association had decided to put the McGovern episode behind it, Speck replied that he would consider Harvey’s work again only if Harvey categorically denied that he was Trevor McGovern and could convince Speck of his integrity. Harvey did not publish there again.
This was not, however, the end of the connection between A. D. Harvey and Trevor McGovern. Having learned of their association in History, I Googled the names together and found something rather peculiar. In 2006, Bookstreet, a web-based publisher of erotica with links to Olympia Press, had uploaded new contributions by several authors, including both A. D. Harvey and Trevor McGovern. McGovern’s posting, “Sixth Form Mistress,” is an “unedited fragment” about a French teacher who seeks the services of a dominatrix and finds himself in the hands of one of his students. The posting attributed to Harvey was identified as a sample from “Shorts,” “A short book of short pieces," poetry, and prose. The former have some overlap with the contents of Harvey’s published collection of sonnets, while a long prose section, “Graduate Sex in the Early Seventies,” begins with one of the most unusual responses by a scholar to a critic that one is likely ever to stumble upon: “Twenty-five years before Polly Morris, reviewing one of my books in Journal of the History of Sexuality, ticked me off for appearing to believe that women’s nipples were ‘normally sepia,’ I discovered how Jackie M., a natural blond with hair dyed chestnut, had perfectly pink nipples that took on a beige tinge in the cold of my bed-room at 40 Histon Road, Cambridge.” Effectively, the reader is being offered a sexual memoir that doubles as a collection of research notes from a scholar who, thirteen years previously, had filled seven pages of the London Magazine with a piece on “The Nipple in Art.”
Not surprisingly, there are quite a few breasts in “Graduate Sex,” and determining the provenance of each would be like Nabokov’s attempt to trace the owners of all the “little feet” in Eugene Onegin. However, one set is paradoxically notable for a failure to stand out: "Although English she had a typically Celt combination of dark hair, eyes like blue topazes, and skin like watered milk, in keeping with which she too had pink areoles though unlike Jackie’s teats -- and most other people’s -- her points refused to pop up when played with. She said the only way to make them stick out was to moisten them with spittle and then blow on them gently for four or five minutes."
These breasts have their precursors: they have been copied directly from the pages of Leo Bellingham’s Oxford: The novel. “Her nipples seemed to have retreated into her breasts . . . . ‘Your nipples won’t stick out,’ he said. ‘They’re always like that. The only way to make them go all pointy is to moisten them a little with spit and then blow on them gently. They stick out then.’”
Several other passages in “Graduate Sex” are nearly verbatim replicas of passages in Oxford, including a sexual partner who cries out “I LIKE you!” in the middle of coitus, and two nearly identical phrases uttered by women to protagonists in erectile distress: “I’m not used to feeling penises casually” (Oxford); “I’m not accustomed to handling penises casually” (“Graduate Sex”). There are also a couple of sentences taken from another novel, Mind-Sprung, published by one Michael Lindsay in 1981. Lindsay’s book, a barely readable account of pot smuggling set mostly in Sweden, is prefaced by a note (attributed to “S.R.H.”) explaining that shortly after completing the novel, Lindsay “was killed in a shoot-out with the Estonian People’s Militia, during the course of an attack on an atomic power station near Lake Pskov.” Mind-Sprung, Oxford: The novel, and A. D. Harvey’s anthology, English Literature and the Great War with France were all published by Nold Jonson Books in London in 1981. Indeed, as far as I can tell, they are the only books ever published by Nold Jonson. (A. D. Harvey’s Christian name is Arnold.) “Graduate Sex” is not very sexy. It consists of a number of intimate scenes in which sexual desire fails to generate any psychological satisfaction, even in the few cases where intercourse is achieved. The final scene, however, is suggestive in quite a different way. Here Harvey is certainly thumbing his nose at his alma mater and the educational establishment in general, but he may also be dropping a clue about the woman who introduced Dickens to Dostoevsky: "'You don’t have to do this if you don’t want,' said an American girl as I knelt beside her, struggling to roll what seemed to be an inside-out condom on to a shrinking erection, in the Fellows' Garden of Trinity College, in the shadow of the great tower of Cambridge University Library. (It was in this garden in 1868 that George Eliot discoursed to Frederic Myers on 'the three words which have been used so often as the inspiring trumpet-calls of men -- the words, God, Immortality, Duty.') After a couple of minutes of frantic press-ups between her spread thighs I hung the condom, now with my pathetic quarter-milliliter of juice in it, on a nearby twig. ‘It looks kinda dead,' she said. Shortly afterwards we parted and she said she'd enjoyed knowing me. She was from Connecticut, one of those Nordic-looking blondes who always seem to dress in blue, doing her mandatory whistle-stop tour of Europe. I was her mandatory English fuck: she's the girl from that period of my life I afterwards thought of most frequently, but only because I once or twice adopted (and adapted) her name as a literary pseudonym."
Could we ever find this woman from Connecticut, who, without knowing it, went on to write two scholarly articles? It might just be that the maiden name of this hook-up began with an R (as in “S.R.H.”, the author of the preface to Mind-Sprung). But who would answer “present” to Harvey’s closing sally: “She probably had the pinkest nipples of them all: very pale Nordic pink and tasting of zinc ointment”?
The overlap between Harvey’s “Graduate Sex” and Bellingham’s Oxford seems to indicate either that Harvey plagiarized his erotic memoirs liberally from Bellingham or that these men are one and the same. The identity of the two becomes more likely when we consider the other linkages between them. Not only do “Graduate Sex” and Oxford share some of the same prose, but Oxford itself might be read as a memoir of Harvey’s time at the university. The hero, William Hotman, hails from Colchester and shares Harvey’s year of birth. Bellingham seems to know something about Thomas Warton, one of the heroes of Harvey’s English Poetry in a Changing Society, 1780-1825 (1980). Moreover, passages quoted by Stephanie Harvey from Bellingham’s “In for the Kill” dovetail with phrases in Warriors of the Rainbow, the novel published by Harvey under his own name. (Here, too, the points of connection between Bellingham’s story and the book the Guardian called a “weirdly compelling eco-sermon” have a sexual foundation: “the caramel inner slopes of her breasts,” a lover with hair tied up “like a twelve-year-old Sikh’s”.) Harvey and Bellingham are further linked by John Schellenberger, the self-identified Cambridge-based scholar whose article on university novels first brought Leo Bellingham’s name to my attention. Schellenberger wrote a few nearly identical articles in the early 1980s (in Critical Quarterly, Cambridge Quarterly, the THES and the New Universities Quarterly) that all make a valiant attempt to inscribe Oxford: The novel into the canonical history of campus fiction. In his footnotes Schellenberger frequently cites A.D. Harvey, interspersing his references to him with mentions of Terry Eagleton, Raymond Williams, and Lucien Goldmann, as if to demonstrate that these names belong on the same level. He shares Harvey’s hostility towards F.R. Leavis, and he seems to have read most of Harvey’s works up to the early 1980s. A letter by Schellenberger to History Workshop in 1982 has as its ostensible and not very surprising point the importance of memoirs to an understanding of what patriotism meant to participants in the First World War, but a closer look uncovers an equally important, covert agenda.
“The best introduction to this kind of material, A.D. Harvey’s English Literature and the Great War with France, perhaps appeared too recently for Hugh Cunningham to have been able to use it in preparing his article, but there is little excuse for his neglect of one of Harvey’s earlier works, Britain in the Early Nineteenth Century (1978), which contains a brilliant chapter on right-wing propaganda in the 1790s.”
The height of Schellenberger’s infatuation with Harvey was reached, however, in an article entitled “Literature and Society: After Raymond Williams,” which appeared in 1984 in New Universities Quarterly. The subtitle refers to the last two-thirds of the article, in which A.D. Harvey is brought forward as an answer to the corner-cutting of Marxist literary scholarship and, in particular, to “the essential weakness of Goldmann, Williams, and Eagleton”: “Harvey’s work on literature in its social context has been appearing in academic journals since 1976 and arguably constitutes a major analytic breakthrough; yet it has been strangely overlooked by other scholars engaged in cultural analysis.” Schellenberger attributes this neglect to the apparent absence of theoretical concerns in Harvey’s writing, but he objects that “simply because theory is not explicit does not mean that it is entirely absent.” “In fact,” he explains, “without once mentioning the concept of hegemony, [Harvey's work] is a pioneer study of upper-class politics in the early nineteenth century as a hegemonic system in the process of disintegration and redeployment.”
The New Universities Quarterly identifies Schellenberger as the author of articles that have appeared in the THES and in a periodical called Foundation. The latter proves to be a science fiction journal where Schellenberger enthusiastically reviewed Mind-Sprung, claiming that for all its eccentricities Lindsay’s novel represented “as important a stage in the reintegration of science fiction with ‘main-stream’ fiction as Orwell’s 1984 or J. G. Ballard’s Crash." Harvey himself sought to keep the author of Mind-Sprung in the public eye, albeit more obliquely. A letter by Harvey in the London Review of Books in 1982 -- ostensibly dealing with literary canonization -- may have been written for the sake of a single phrase: “Presumably, since it is thought to need at least a generation or so before one can know whether contemporary writing has ‘permanent value,’ we cannot be positive that there is any harm in the donnish conspiracy to raise up, let’s say, William Golding or Iris Murdoch at the expense of Len Deighton or Michael Lindsay.” (Five years later Harvey again wrote to the LRB, this time in relation to a correspondent’s remark about Oxford radicalism in the 1960s, and calling on Oxford: The novel as evidence: “All this is brilliantly evoked in Leo Bellingham’s Oxford, The novel which has a particularly savage chapter dealing with the undergraduate Left”.) Chekhov wrote a story, “In the Ravine,” where the father of a counterfeiter begins to worry that every coin passing through his hands is a fake. A similar feeling might befall any researcher trying to keep track of this mutually supportive network of scholars and writers. As one writer collapses into another, anyone who has anything positive to say about Leo Bellingham, Michael Lindsay, or A.D. Harvey falls under suspicion and has to be thoroughly investigated for evidence of a more robust existence. One would think that the spurious reviews could be identified by their authors’ conspicuous failure to temper mercy with justice, but some of the samples in this endogamous collection of scholarship are absolutely ingenious. Let’s return to Graham Headley, the third scholar whose work in progress -- “Marrying for Position in Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey” -- Stephanie Harvey acknowledges in her article on Bellingham and Lessing. Initially, I thought this might be a misprint for Graham Handley, who has published prolifically on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, and has edited study guides for Jane Eyre and Villette. It turns out, however, that there “is” a Graham Headley. In 1989 he listed his residence as Colchester when he published a review of A.D. Harvey’s Literature into History in Philological Quarterly. It demonstrates a greater familiarity with the biography of an author than is usual in such reviews (“it should be noted that though Harvey formerly taught part-time at Cambridge, he has never been able to obtain a university post in his own country, a circumstance which gives some excuse for the coat-trailing manner he often adopts”), and while he does also point out some mistakes, Headley duly expresses his admiration for the dazzling skills and erudition of the author under review. Harvey’s book is original, daring and “very often amusing, as well as timely in its criticisms of figures such as Matthew Arnold and Raymond Williams, though his remarks on F.R. Leavis may be felt to be rather tasteless.” Headley practices an astonishingly informed one-upmanship with regard to the sources drawn on by Harvey, but his carping is always tempered by indulgence. In this review Headley demonstrates admirable insight into the stylistic and evidentiary faults of A.D. Harvey that will later be pointed out by other scholars. Unique to Headley, though, is the grandeur he confers on this author whom he does not entirely seem to like. The review ends on an extraordinary note: "The issues [Harvey] raises are both very numerous and very important. He is provocative on all of them and illuminating on most. Yet by the end of the book, though one is sorry to have reached the close of an amusing display of fireworks, one is left feeling disappointed and even irritated. Harvey may be compared with another scholar who had difficulty fitting in at Cambridge, Professor George Steiner. Harvey is wittier and more concise in argument, as wide in his range of reference, probably more acute in his intellect, and yet, as with Steiner, the issues and the people he writes about remain strangely insubstantial, as if little more than shadowy projections of the author’s own personality and obsessions.”
The last phrase has a Nabokovian shimmer, recalling the final lines of The Real Life of Sebastian Knight or Pale Fire: it begs to be deflected and reapplied to the review itself, as well as to its author.
Graham Headley was not finished with Harvey, or -- perhaps one should say -- vice versa. Two years later, in the Journal of European Studies Headley published one of only two other pieces I could find by him: a second review of Harvey’s Literature into History. This much longer review, cast as a fully fledged article and entitled “The Early Nineteenth-century Epic: the Harvey Thesis Examined,” was an attack on just about every aspect of that section of Harvey’s book that had most attracted Headley’s attention before. In addition to challenging Harvey’s categorizations, Headley accuses Harvey of having neglected a wide range of works that might have been classified as epics. (At one point, he acknowledges that others have already begun supplementing Harvey’s list, citing as one example John Schellenberger’s brief 1983 publication in Notes and Queries, the purpose of which was to provide more evidence to support a “seminal article” by Harvey in Philological Quarterly which Headley has also read.) Headley ends his review by dismissing most of Harvey’s conclusions: “though it is clear that he has opened up a curious and intriguing field of enquiry it is equally clear that his mode of approach and mode of drawing conclusions should provide better-equipped scholars with an example to avoid rather than to imitate.”
In the light of his phenomenal knowledge of both primary and secondary sources, it is odd that Headley seems never to have published anything besides these two reviews of Harvey’s book and a two-page contribution to the newsletter of the Scottish Studies Center at the Gutenberg University in Mainz that also opens with a citation of A.D. Harvey. Given the vigor of his attack on Harvey, it is strange to see the two men sit so comfortably side by side in Stephanie Harvey’s grateful footnote. Yet if Graham Headley is one of Harvey’s projections, we are faced with the astonishing case of a scholar attacking his own book, in part, one supposes, to supplement it with new discoveries, since it is unlikely that a second edition would ever be forthcoming, but, more probably, to draw attention to it. “The Harvey Thesis,” after all, sounds grand, even if it isn’t clear what the thesis is and even if the review’s author is dismissive of Harvey’s methodology. Putting “The Harvey Thesis” in the title of a scholarly article is a bit like putting Leo Bellingham in the company of Doris Lessing.
Charitably, we can see the practice of reviewing one’s own works as a kind of knowing critique of the insider trading that can occur among authors and reviewers. Why bother to solicit reviews for your books when you can write them yourself? There may, however, be something more poignant here. Even for holders of tenured university positions, scholarship can make for a lonely life. One spends years on a monograph and then waits a few more years for someone to write about it. How much lonelier the life of an independent scholar, who does not have regular contact, aggravating as that can sometimes be, with colleagues. Attacking one’s own book can be seen as an understandable response to an at times intolerable isolation. How comforting to construct a community of scholars who can analyze, supplement, and occasionally even ruthlessly criticize each other’s work. I've traced the connections between A.D. Harvey, Stephanie Harvey, Graham Headley, Trevor McGovern, John Schellenberger, Leo Bellingham, Michael Lindsay, and Ludovico Parra, but they may be part of a much wider circle of friends.
We can see some of this as the product of ambition: various members of this community write to attract attention to other members' work, a mode of interaction that could be called symbiotic if there prove to be more than one real person at the bottom of it. In other cases Harvey seems to have been operating as something of a vigilante, punishing scholars who casually appropriate the labor of others. A scholar who lives in the archives sets a trap for lazy but more generously remunerated colleagues. In his Literature into History Harvey enlisted Foucault in his attack on literary scholars who pillage the works of historians for “usable facts.” The philosopher said about the Frankfurt School: “They did little history, they referred to research done by others, to a history already written and evaluated . . . that they presented as explanatory ‘background’ . . . . They are users of history as others have already fabricated it.” This dictum emphasizes both literary scholars' treatment of historians' research and the extent to which the writing of history itself creates or fabricates, although one may well see Harvey's response less as a scholar's version of poetic justice than as a military historian's planting of an improvised explosive device.
The same is true for his attitude towards editors. A chapter on “Second-ratedness” in Literature into History makes two somewhat contradictory arguments. Harvey contends that second-rate literature should be studied carefully, because it can tell us a great deal about the readers it engaged and for whom it had meaning. He also argues that second-rate literature might eventually prove to be first-rate, once historical prejudice wears off. He quotes Henry James: “There’s a hatred of art, there’s a hatred of literature -- I mean of the genuine kinds. Oh, the shams -- those they’ll swallow up by the bucket,” and twice mentions the work of Doris Lessing as an example of unjustly praised artistic failure. “In our day many of the supposedly responsible organs of criticism are involved in the imposture, frequently as criminal accessories, and the faking has become more elaborate, more sophisticated, almost to the point of becoming a type of High Art in itself.” Harvey appears to have set out to demonstrate the proof of this claim, by producing his own impostures and by trying to elevate his own fiction to prominence.
Just before Stephanie Harvey published her first work of criticism, A.D. Harvey co-authored an article with Jean-Michel Racault, an existing specialist on the eighteenth century teaching at the University of La Réunion, on Simon Berington’s Adventures of Sig’r Gaudentio di Lucca. Berington, a Catholic poet and priest, had written this novel and mock-utopian travelogue “for amusement and in a fit of gout,” attributing it to a non-existent Italian and passing off the original as a translation. As Harvey and Racault describe this work, it is composed of a series of narratives: “there are, successively or alternately, no less than six narrative voices within the novel, each one serving to give the semblance of credibility and authority to the successive narratives which they introduce.” The authors speculate that even the first attribution of the work to Berington and the comment about his gout may have been written by Berington himself. They end on a whimsical and perhaps, in Harvey’s case, a self-reflective note: "One would like to have known more personal details about Berington. One suspects a somewhat melancholy life as a priest of an outlawed church, not always in good odor with his superiors, without an adequate market for the productions of a more than averagely able pen, a puckish humor perhaps embittered by habits of self-abnegation and concealment: unable for professional reasons to acknowledge his most successful literary offspring in his own lifetime, but at least spared the knowledge that the last and largest commercial edition of his only bestseller would not only attribute its authorship to someone else . . . but would also totally misrepresent the history of its publication. And yet -- all those narrative voices . . . perhaps Fate itself wished to add one more.”
This is all very sweet, but some of Harvey’s own mystifications leave an unpleasant taste. It is not only that the apparent practice of submitting articles under fictitious names to scholarly journals might well have a chilling effect on the ability of really existing independent scholars to place their work. Nor is it just the embarrassment caused to editors who might in an ideal world have taken more pains to check the contributions of Stephanie Harvey or Trevor McGovern, but who accepted them in good faith, partly out of a wish to make their publications as inclusive as possible. The worst thing here, if they are fictitious, is a violation of the trust that remains a constitutive element of the humanities. There is, it seems to me, a fundamental difference between posting partisan, anonymous reviews on Amazon, where there is no assumption of proper evaluative standards or impartiality, and placing similar reviews or hoaxing articles in academic journals, which are still the most hallowed sites for the development and transmission of humanistic ideas. The former is a cheap act of virtual graffiti; the latter may be the closest a secular scholar can come to desecration.
Most of the journals patronized by the friends of A.D. Harvey were general in scope, aimed at a broad and varied readership. Where area studies or single-author-centered journals were concerned, there was far more risk. We don’t know where else “Stephanie Harvey” might have tried to publish and failed; given its focus, the Dickensian was a bit of a reach. One can take comfort that this sort of deception is harder to pull off in the days of the internet, when it is easier to check collections in Italy or Kazakhstan and to organize a virtual posse of helpful colleagues, but was the web, here, part of the hoaxer’s game?
One has to wonder why Stephanie Harvey has A.D.’s surname, or why A.D. Harvey used his own name to publish the erotica that could connect him so intimately with Leo Bellingham, Trevor McGovern, and Michael Lindsay. Like Berington, Harvey may have been unable “for professional reasons to acknowledge his most successful literary offspring.” Dostoevsky’s meeting with Dickens is a tour de force, though Dostoevsky’s presence in this entire adventure is most readily to be discerned in its drama of conflicting desires -- for concealment and exposure. (There is certainly a masochistic note common to Harvey’s, Bellingham’s and McGovern’s fiction, a sense of thwarted frustration even when it is coupled with aggressive pursuit.) Last year a new edition of *Oxford: The novel* was published by Brewin Books of Warwickshire. It is presented as though a first edition, and the author’s name is given as A.D. Harvey. Leo Bellingham is nowhere mentioned, and the blurb calls Warriors of the Rainbow Harvey’s “previous novel.” The plot is the same, the prose more ornate -- the nipples are now described as “everted” -- and the hero’s wife continues to believe that the TLS is “beyond criticism.” Yet several months ago, when I contacted A.D. Harvey through an intermediary to enquire what if anything he knew about the Dostoevsky-Dickens encounter, he asked that I be forwarded an article on the Luftwaffe and aerial combat in the Second World War, which he characterized as a good example of his recent work. When, more recently, I put to him my findings concerning the substantial overlap between the writings of Stephanie Harvey, Leo Bellingham, et al., he replied, "Dear Professor Naiman, What a coincidence: I was writing a comic novel about everyday life in Soviet Russia just at the time the regime disintegrated. Not that I can read or speak Russian, only French, German, and Italian.
"I look forward to learning about significant overlap in your article. I hope you mentioned all eight of my academic monographs and my contributions to journals published in the U.S."
In the British Library there is a book, little more than a brochure, entitled Symbol and Narrative in Oxford: the Novel. It consists of seven pages, with a cover depicting two figures walking and discoursing beneath a tall tree (a nearly identical image graces the jacket of the Brewin reissue of the novel). In the background one can see the college spires and the dome of the Radcliffe Camera. This item bears no ISBN and is held together by staples. No author is credited, but “Nold Jonson” is scrawled across the bottom, apparently part of the cover design. The brochure’s task is to demonstrate that all those aspects of the novel that might initially appear to be defects are, in fact, subtle manifestations of its greatness. “The frequent stylistic awkwardness of the main narrative is deliberate, evidently intended to suggest the clumsiness and uncertainty of a twenty-year-old undergraduate”; “a comparison of passages of the draft of Oxford: the Novel with the published version confirms that in many instances Bellingham’s alterations have tended to make his prose less rather than more fluent and assured." The British Library’s records indicate that it was purchased rather than donated to the collection, for 50p, from A.D. Harvey.
The discovery of this text marked the end of my pursuit. I entered these lists in a somewhat romantic attempt to protect the honor of what Russianists, too, might call "our Dostoevsky," but Dickens and Dostoevsky were no longer in sight. When I presented my evidence of multiple hoaxing to the Editor of the Dickensian and informed him of A.D. Harvey’s address, he confirmed that it was the same one from which “Dickens’s Villains: A Confession and a Suggestion” had been sent. Much about that article reads differently in the light of knowledge about its author. Dostoevsky’s response to Dickens, especially, now acquires particular salience: "There were two people in him, he told me: one who feels as he ought to feel and one who feels the opposite. From the one who feels the opposite I make my evil characters, from the one who feels as a man ought to feel I try to live my life. 'Only two people?' I asked."
--Eric Naiman is the co-editor, with Christina Kiaer, of Everyday Life in Early Soviet Russia: Taking the Revolution Inside (2006), and the author, most recently of Nabokov, Perversely (2010).