15 March 1992


Dear Tom,


Thanks again for your helpful letter of 9 March and the elucidatory telephone comments. I thence construct an account of your present position, which you kindly agreed to consider and amend as you felt necessary.

   It's this:


   'Tom Merriam now feels that he was mistaken in specifying the long odds of  890,000,000,000,000,000,000 to one against Shakespeare and in favour of Greene as the author of Edmund Ironside. He is sure that the odds in favour of Greene are higher than those in favour of Shakespeare; but he is not now prepared to quantify them, nor indeed to state as a fact either that Greene wrote Ironside or that Shakespeare did not'.

    As I intimated in my letter of 10 March; I feel that Nigel Hawkes himself should be urgently informed, and asked to publish (as The Times scientific correspondent), a retraction of what he stated as a fact in 1986, e.g. 'It isn't by the Bard.'


   I shall of course also tell my original and present publishers, here (Fourth Estate, Gower/Scolar) and in America (St. Martin's Press), and see whether I can get brief statements published in other outlets (such as Notes & Queries, the Times supplements, London Review of  BooksConnotations and so forth). I'll also tell my current correspondents, including Wilf Smith, Don Foster and Rob Matthews.

   In all these fora I'll feel free, as ever, to make a few further points. Thus all the literary commentators over the last six years agree that either Ironside was written by Shakespeare or else that the hundreds of close verbal correspondences with the canon must imply deliberate plagiarism, Nobody has ever fund even the faintest echo of any work by Greene, not even from the most sensitive academic radar. Do you see any Greene in myIronside?, so to speak. I think that the facts would be rather hard to reconcile with odds of two (let alone trillions) to one in favour of Greene,

   I'd be most grateful to have your agreement or comments on the proposed statement of your views as soon as you can manage. I think six years under this ban is long enough, I'm enclosing copies of the original article and of Wilf's comments, for (as we civil servants say) ease of reference.