In response to:
Playing with the Past from the September 21, 2023 issue
To the Editors:
In his review of my novel The Fraud [NYR, September 21], Michael Gorra finds that “as nearly as [he] can tell” the link between William Harrison Ainsworth and the Tichborne Claimant is invented. But as the novel itself makes clear, the young Irish poet Edward Kenealy—who spent a few years coming to dinner at Ainsworth’s—eventually became the Tichborne Claimant’s defense lawyer. Some facts are even stranger than fiction.
Michael Gorra replies:
I thank Zadie Smith for that correction. It would have been more accurate for me to write that the interest Sarah Ainsworth takes in the case of the Tichborne Claimant, and hence its prominence as a topic of discussion in her husband’s 1870s household, seems an invention of Smith’s own.