To the Editor:
I am writing as the attorney for Reverend William Howard Melish and Edith Segal, both of whom are mentioned in David Evanier’s story, “The Prince of Progressive Humanity,” which appeared in the August 1983 issue of COMMENTARY.
Neither Reverend Melish nor Miss Segal participated in any meeting or demonstration referred to by Mr. Evanier. It is also questionable whether such a meeting ever took place.
New York City
David Evanier writes:
Stanley Faulkner does not seem to understand the nature of fiction as differentiated from a factual article.
The rallies I modeled my fictional, composite rally on were the Rosenberg rallies. Mrs. Segal was frequently present at these rallies and Reverend Melish at least sometimes. Mrs. Segal’s booklet, from which she read at the rallies, was entitled Give Us Your Hand!—Poems and Songs for Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, and was published by People’s Artists in 1953. The foreword states that “In the course of this struggle [for the Rosenbergs] the poems and songs of Edith Segal have been a beacon of inspiration and hope in the tradition of Emile Zola. . . .” In a poem called “A Daily Question,” she wrote:
I pass that way—
evening gown display
What are you wearing today
That same old prison gray?
But Mrs. Segal and Reverend Melish were not, and could not have been, present at a rally which was fictional.