Post Number: 377
|Posted on Monday, August 11, 2003 - 8:07 am: || |
I have recently found a reference to the murders in a letter from the author Henry James to his brother William.
The letter is headed:
To William James.
Hôtel de l'Ecu, Geneva.
October 29th, 1888.
The short extract which refers to the murders is as follows (the "Alice" referred is their sister, Alice James:
I haven't told you how I found Alice when I last saw her. She is now in very good form--still going out, I hear from her, in the mild moments, and feeling very easy and even jolly about her Leamington winter. My being away is a sign of her really good symptoms. She was wüthend after the London police, in connection with the Whitechapel murders, to a degree that almost constituted robust health.
I have looked up the word "wuthend" which appearently means furious. Why Alice James should have taken such an interest in the murders as to be "wuthend" after the London police, is not clear.
Hope this is of interest
Post Number: 201
|Posted on Tuesday, December 23, 2003 - 11:07 pm: || |
Oddly enough I recently missed a chance to purchase a used biography of Alice James, but that was last month - and I only saw this message this morning.
Henry James had an interest in crime - his novel THE PRINCESS CASSIMASSIMA has references in it to contemporary political murders in Europe and the U.S. But some of his letters to the criminal historian William Roughead appear in the last collection of Roughead's works, TALES OF THE CRIMINOUS (ed. by W. R. Roughead) (London, Cassell & Company, LTD, 1956). Most of the crimes mentioned in it are dealing with Roughead's books (Dr. Prichard, Mary Blandy), but he also refers to the trial of Frederick Seddon, and the mystery of the murder of Willie Starchfield in 1914. In that latter letter (dated
March 6, 1914) he makes this comment about his interest in what eventually happened to the defendants in crimes who are not executed. He writes, "...I should have liked to ask of Marshall Hall for instance, expecially perhaps about that prodigious young man -- a glassmaker's designer, or something of that sort -- whom he defended some four or five years ago and who was so amazingly acquitted and acclaimed in consequence." It is a reference to the trial of Robert Wood, an artist, for the murder of Phyllis
Dimmock in Camden Town, London, in 1907. This is the closest reference to the Whitechapel Case, because it was this murder that led to a series of paintings by Walter Sickert of Phyllis's dead
body in her room in Camden Town (which has been suggested to look like Mary Kelly's body in her room in Dorset Street).
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