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Letter from Daniel Meador to Ronald Sokol, Tuesday, November 9, 1999

University of Virginia School of Law
Daniel J. Meador
James Monroe Professor of Law Emeritus

November 9, 1999

Dear Ron,

Your comments about Unforgotten are much appreciated. As I
have always regarded you as a discriminating literary critic, I
am especially pleased to have your favorable reaction to the
novel. As you appreciate, dialogue is particularly difficult.

Last week I returned from Columbia, South Carolina, from my
36th booksigning event. Often these occasions are interesting,
as they bring out old friends and former students I have not seen
for years and would not otherwise see for a long while, if ever.
However, many of them are also tedious, and I would be content to
let this be my last.

My student tapers are away in the summer, so it was only
recently that I was able to get your article about the Mitterand
affair taped. It is a fascinating, indeed startling, story. It
occurs to me that there are two questions in the case that the
French courts did not clearly separate. One is whether a
publication of this sort can be prohibited under any
circumstances. The other is whether a court should undertake to
enjoin publication after fourty-thousand copies have been
distributed to the public. I have always thought that Humpty-
Dumpty probably could not be put back together again, and it is
difficult to imagine an American court enjoining something that
has already occurred. The whole episode, as you point out, seems
bizarre from an American standpoint. The piece is very readable,
and I think it is a useful contribution to the literature.

Mary Lee Stapp telephoned me the other day to report that
she had been at the annual meeting of the American Society for
Legal History in Toronto, where Neville was also. She brought
him back with her to Montgomery, where he stayed a few days. She
says that he has been involved in other matters for some time but
that he is now in a position to focus on The Golden Mean. I
believe we have been there before, but we shall see.

Last July Jan and I went on a University of Virginia alumni
outing to Ireland. I had never been to Ireland before and had
sensed no great desire to go. This trip was interesting and
informative, but now, having experienced the place, I have no
great desire to return. We spent the entire time in a hotel in
Ennis but roamed up and down the western side of the country.
Much attention was paid to W.B. Yeats. Our university president,
John Casteen, was along for part of the time and gave a lecture
on Yeats.

580 Massie Road • Charlottesville, Virginia 22903-1789 • 804.924.3947 • FAX 804.924.4749

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There is a third-year student here in the University named
Bert Steindorf. His grandfather was a year ahead of me in high
school in Greenville, Alabama. He later became probate judge
there. Under the Alabama governmental structure, the probate
judge is the top official in the county. (When a contemporary of
mine has a grandson in college, I realize that the clock is
running—indeed, has run!) Bert was born and reared in Montgomery
and entered the University as an Echols Scholar in the College of
Arts and Sciences. As you may know, the Echols Scholars are
considered the cream of the academic crop. He has a double major
in English and French. He is going to Aix-en-Provence during the
upcoming spring semester from mid-January to early June, to study
French in a program run by Vanderbilt University. Recently I had
a conversation with him about this, and he would be quite
interested in meeting you. He seems to be a bright and
interesting fellow, and I think you would enjoy talking with him.
This past summer he taught for six weeks in a creative writing
program here for high school students. He is debating whether to
pursue an academic career, teaching English and French, or
whether to go to law school. I have taken the liberty of giving
him your name, address, and telephone number, and I suspect you
will probably hear from him. If you do, I would appreciate your
seeing him.

I am in the process of completing a manuscript that I will
describe as history/memoir. It is the intertwined story of my
mother’s family and the first capital of Alabama. One publisher
has already turned it down on the predictable and understandable
grounds that the market is too limited. It is now in the hands
of two other publishers, and I think the same response is likely.
I may resort to self-publication, as I would like to get it into

West publishing company has asked me to do a second edition
of my little book entitled American Courts, and I have this under

At the end of this week, Jan and I are off to French
Polynesia for about ten days on a trip sponsored by the American
Bar Association. We will board a ship in Tahiti and spend most
of the time sailing to several of the other islands.

I hope all is going well with you and family. Keep me


Dan [signature]

Daniel J. Meador

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