Letter: Long-remembered hoax

THE STORY of Nat Tate is worthy to join those of Ossian and Chatterton/Rowley. However, there is one drawback, in that such hoaxes can and do inhibit true revelatory and scholarly work whose purpose is to discover and restore greatness to those figures from the past who, for one reason or another, have been neglected.

Such a figure is Joseph Crabtree (1754-1854), poet and polymath, in honour of whom the Crabtree Foundation was formed in 1954 at University College London. Articles have been published which have hinted at an element of hoax. Would that more journalists and scholars would admit, as you suggest, "we've never heard of him". At least we could tell them.

BRYAN BENNETT

The Crabtree Foundation

London W4

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