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 suggest that it is not Valentine Michael Smith who is the true main character of the novel; but rather Harshaw. 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 he finds himself in.[2] Smith eventually enshrines him as the patron saint of the church he founds (much to Harshaw's initial chagrin.) 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[]

Other Heinlein novels where Harshaw makes an appearance include:

  • The Number of the Beast (1980)
  • The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985)
  • To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987)


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