Sunday, September 22, 2013

PSA

This is just to give a heads-up that I've enabled comments on this blog, in the unlikely event that anyone wishes to communicate with me.

The house policy is simple:  No spam, no trolls, no jerks.  Which probably means that my first action as site moderator will have to be to block myself.

12 comments:

  1. Wooo! Let the trolling begin! j/k j/k

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    1. If Rufus Griswold shows up, I'm done for.

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  2. Hey, I'm interested in where you got your information for you 2012 piece called "Lawyers, Gold Bugs, and Money." Particularly concerning the controversy surrounding Duffee and Du Solle's commentary on Poe's story.

    If you have any links or books to check out, that would be most appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Zack

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    1. My main sources were "The Poe Log" and "Poe in Philadelphia" They're both online at eapoe.org:

      http://www.eapoe.org/papers/misc1921/tplg00ca.htm

      http://www.eapoe.org/papers/misc1921/pipdt00c.htm

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    2. I forgot to mention that if you're interested in the exchanges between Ingram and Duffee, the "Notes & Queries" issue I mentioned is available at Google Books. The book (not online) "Poe's Helen Remembers" also has a bit about the matter.

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  3. Brilliant blog, thanks!
    - Nate

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  4. I see there's no more 'Anonymous' choice on the other blog, and I wish to remain so.
    So here's my comment on the Bodine case in this venue:

    "The next strangest case that the old year has seen,
    Is the vexed prosecution of Polly Bodine :
    Tried twice—once convicted—the inhuman fury
    Gave the scaffold the slip through the loops of a jury.
    Oh Polly Bodine ! Oh Polly Bodine !
    Such a case on our records has never been seen !
    Such a chapter of horror in which scarce a doubt
    Mocks the efforts of justice in tracing it out;
    But tho’ vengeance is baffled, not hushed is the scream
    Of unappeased ghosts upon Polly Bodine!"


    Alright then, I will elaborate in my next and bore your readers. Not you, because Undine showed sweet patience when her soul was won, and your soul is in these blogs and peripatetic walks. Please be assured that I appreciate all your writings, even the crotchety ones. They open up new vistas from askew glances. American (literary) history surely needs skeptical thinking and deserves a good old spanking now and then. That’s the bumpy ride scholarship should tolerate. Criminology, however, requires another approach. The whole Polly Bodine story is, of course, much more complicated than the synopsis you provide from your source(s). The comments I make will have only a bearing on these statements.
    From Holland.

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    1. I like that poem. I've always had a soft spot for a good murder ballad.

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  5. Murder is atrocious no matter how you dress it.
    Are you still interested in this story? I'll be gone before you notice and kill the story except for myself.
    From Holland.

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    1. Sure. As I said before, I'm interested in anything anyone can add to the story.

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  6. I have decided the story is too big for just a blog.
    Suffice to say that, based on the genuine sources, among which two letters Polly herself wrote (one of which was edited by a journalist because her spelling was awful) there's only one possible explanation for this very cold case (170 years and still going strong).
    Her “confession” is, in my view, a classical case of projection or mirroring exculpatory truths by a very desperate woman on a very desperate man. After several abortions Polly decided to keep her baby this time and to force Waite into a marriage. She had been waiting for three years to keep his promise, lending him substantial cash all the while (which he squandered). She managed to conceal her pregnancy, even as she slept in the same bed with her sister and sis-in-law. Her mother never noticed. But the truth willed out with the stillborn.
    Polly’s "confession" has never been treated seriously, but most of the things she confessed are true and can be confirmed. Her counsellor tried to counter them in a “card” in the paper. She came to her confession under severe physical and psychological pressure, with Waite in the same jailhouse. Hopes for the future were shattered.
    From these sources and the many anomalies which beg for resolution, the only scenario possible is that the murders indeed were committed by Waite for money (without Polly knowing) and that the fire was set the next day, out of love for Waite, by Polly.These are the oldest motives in the world.
    Polly had done the same for him in 1837, in an insurance scam, almost burning herself to death. Waite's Dad, who was in the same sundry line of business (lottery, gold beating, pharmacy, dentistry and selling bogus potions), almost wound up in the debtor's prison after he went broke, and George Waite saw the same future looming large. In the end, he never married and died in 1854. Waite had some eerie traits. One tell-tale sign is that he told Albert, Polly’s son, that he never did understand why George Housman could marry such an ugly woman as Emeline (whom he must have seen) and that it was a deuced good thing she’s dead. When he had clubbed his victims to death in his rage, he concealed their bodies underneath the bedstead. Polly probably used turpentine, as she did in 1837, but the fire didn’t spread into the conflagration you mention. Both culprits got awy with their crimes. Polly wasn’t quite a recluse: she practiced medicine for years as a “physician” in a Port Richmond suburb, another thing learned from Waite.
    If you have any questions, don't hestitate.
    From Holland.

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    1. Very interesting! Yes, that scenario makes a good deal of sense. I've had the hunch that Polly was an accessory of some sort to the murders, rather than the actual killer.

      Thanks for the additional information.

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