The Scarlet Professor by Barry Werth
Newton Arvin -- A Literary Life Shattered by Scandal

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Synopsis

During his thirty-seven years at Smith College, Newton Arvin published groundbreaking studies of Hawthorne, Whitman, Melville, and Longfellow that stand today as models of scholarship and psychological acuity. He cultivated friendships with the likes of Edmund Wilson and Lillian Hellman and became mentor to Truman Capote. A social radical and closeted homosexual, the circumspect Arvin nevertheless survived McCarthyism. But in September 1960 his apartment was raided, and his cache of beefcake erotica was confiscated, plunging him into confusion and despair and provoking his panicked betrayal of several friends.

An utterly absorbing chronicle, The Scarlet Professor deftly captures the essence of a conflicted man and offers a provocative and unsettling look at American moral fanaticism.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Barry Werth

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Barry Werth brought the story of Newton Arvin and the "Smith College Homosexual Scandal of 1960" to national attention for the first time in almost forty years in The New Yorker. Werth is the author of The Billion-Dollar Molecule and Damages. In addition to The New Yorker, his articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, GQ, and Outside. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
 
Published September 29, 2010 by Anchor. 353 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Scarlet Professor

Kirkus Reviews

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A poignant, distressing portrait of Arvin (1900–63), one of our premier literary critics, whose distinguished career as a professor and writer was destroyed by the revelation of his homosexuality.

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The New York Times

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2, 1960, the literary critic Newton Arvin woke up ''feeling soft-bodied,'' according to ''The Scarlet Professor.'' Barry Werth describes Arvin's four-gabled apartment in Northampton, Mass., as ''his carapace.'' Later that morning, after Arvin, a professor at Smith College, allowed five police inv...

Aug 05 2001 | Read Full Review of The Scarlet Professor: Newto...

Publishers Weekly

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Newton Arwin was a prominent American literary critic of the 1940s and '50s who was vilified for his homosexuality.

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