520. Harrod to E. F. M. Durbin , 7 February 1936 [a]

[Replies to 519 ]

Christ Church, Oxford #

7 February 1936

My dear Durbin

I am very sorry indeed if you have any feeling that the review was not all it should or might have been. When you originally asked me to do it, I did consider saying no. But then I thought that would be very uncivil. I had in mind that you knew roughly my attitude to most of what it contained and that you had asked me to do it none the less. You remind me of the selfish stipulation I made in my reply to you that no controversy should arise from it. You say I referred to your "conventional right of reply." Did I? If you say so, I must have. That surprises me. Because I think it doubtful whether E.J. would allow a right of reply to a review. My stipulation was meant to be that you should not persuade them to concede a right of reply. I should say that one had a conventional right of reply to an article in which one's name is taken in vain, but not to a review. [1]

But over and above this stipulation, which I grant was wholly selfish, did I not also remind you that I might be expected to disagree with much of what you said? I remember writing something of that sort, just in case you might have received the erroneous impression that I was in large measure convinced by your preceding correspondence. [2]

I did not realize that you expected to see the review in advance. I should not have felt at liberty to show it to you [b] without consulting the editors and I should also have felt that such a request coming from a reviewer would place them in a false position. I dont think that really would have been right.

The matter would be quite different supposing I decided here and now to write an article for Economica or some other journal on your doctrines. Then I should feel at liberty to get as much assistance as you would grant from you. But a review must be entirely independent. I have never heard of an author being consulted.

Of course I should have liked to write a more glowing review for various reasons. But, apart from the sterner dictates of conscience, one has one's own position to consider. One hopes, in however small a way, to get one's name associated with this or that. People might say--how can you advance such and such a view after the blessing you gave Durbin on such and such?

I have expressed this at length because I do hope you do not feel "let down"!

I must really take a larger sheet to deal with your points


Roy Harrod


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