Dear Sir,

I find it rather hard to understand what you are trying to say from the Pulpit in the January edition. You inform us that N Tolstoy is a brave man and acted out of principle. This may be true, but bravery is sometimes indistinguishable from stupidity, and Tolstoy allied himself with another whose motives were apparently very different. I know nothing of the jury’s line of thinking, but on first reading about the case I did hope that the result would be such as to deter others from pursuing a personal vendetta under the guise of public interest. The jury, for good or bad reasons, seems to have fulfilled the hopes of people like myself but there seems no reason to suppose that they had in mind any general attitude to writers.

You state that writers are seen as thinking themselves cleverer than their peers, unsound in their opinions and opposed to proletarian culture. Is this not true of many of them, but is it not also writers who glorify proletarian culture in the Sun and elsewhere? Why should writers expect to be immune from the decline of deference which so many of them support, and which has affected all professions?

Had you perhaps supposed that because most of us read, and some even buy, books and newspapers, we admire and respect those who write them even although they do not seem much to like or respect each other? It would be absurd to suggest that merely because most us have

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