The Scarlet Professor

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In the decades following World War II, a different kind of war was waged on American soil.

Ignited by a fear of domestic communism and fueled by high-minded moralists, the Red Hunt gave way to a Pink Scare. Lefty academics were walking bull’s eyes, none more so than liberal college professors suspected of homosexuality. And in the sleepy Ivory Tower confines of Smith College, a quiet literature professor was about to become the latest casualty. Newton Arvin aspired to an Emersonian ideal of individual freedom but spent most of his life quietly raging against the prison of his closeted sexuality.

That wasn’t the only paradox: When the morality police came knocking, Arvin opened the door to his friends’ collective demise, too. The tortured, tumultuous existence of The Scarlet Professor is here.
(Hosted by Alex Beam)


Barry Werth, author of “The Scarlet Professor: A Literary Life Shattered by Scandal”;

Ned Spofford, retired Stanford professor and colleague of Newton Arvin.