Jubal Harshaw

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Jubal Harshaw is a fictional character featured in Stranger in a Strange Land, a novel by Robert A. Heinlein. He is described as: "Jubal E. Harshaw, LL.B., M.D., Sc.D., bon vivant, gourmet, sybarite, popular author extraordinary, neo-pessimist philosopher, devout agnostic, professional clown, amateur subversive, and parasite by choice."

The character's name was chosen by Heinlein to have unusual overtones, like Jonathan Hoag.[1]

Many critics[who?] suggest Harshaw, rather than Valentine Michael Smith, is the true main character of the novel. Harshaw is central to the tale in that he often has "center stage", expounding much of his personal philosophy to Smith as the latter contends with the new society in which he finds himself.[2] Smith eventually enshrines him (much to Harshaw's initial chagrin) as the patron saint of the church he founds. Critics have also suggested that Harshaw is actually a stand-in for Robert Heinlein himself, based on similarities in career choice and general disposition.[3]

SF editor David G. Hartwell has said that Harshaw was inspired by the wealth and luxurious lifestyle of Erle Stanley Gardner, the best-selling author and creator of Perry Mason; Gardner was also a lawyer.

Other fictional appearances[edit]

Other Heinlein novels where Harshaw makes an appearance include:


  1. ^ J. Neil Schulman (1999-01-31). The Robert Heinlein Interview and Other Heinleiniana. p. 170. ISBN 1-58445-015-0. 
  2. ^ Aylott, Chris (1999). "Robert Heinlein and Jubal Harshaw". SPACE.com. Retrieved 20 March 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ Marshall B. Tymn (1981). Masterplots II.: American fiction series, Volume 4. ISBN 978-0-89356-460-5. 

External links[edit]