Thursday, August 15, 2002

People You Didn't Think Had Websites

Lizzie Borden. Includes links to the house, which is now a B&B, and various other Borden sites. The discussions on the message boards are impressively erudite, and you can download PDF files of trial transcripts and other sources. The humor section includes a number of jokes undecipherable except to other experts on the Fall River murders. This may be a mercy.

Jack the Ripper. Actually, he has dozens, but this is the most comprehensive and scholarly site, and it offers links to the Cream of the others. (That's a Ripperologist pun.)

But you don't have to be a spectacular killer or the center of a mystery to get a website long after you've died. Check these out:

Louisa May Alcott. This is the official Orchard House site, though God knows there are plenty of other Alcott sites. Orchard House, the Alcotts’ home and the place where Louisa May wrote most of her books, is a shrine for me. Going there brought tears to my eyes. If you can’t visit, watch the Winona Ryder version of Little Women. Much of it is filmed on location at Orchard House. And yes, I cried at the movie — in fact, I started crying even before the credits. Billy leant over and asked me, “Do you plan to cry all the way through this?” And of course the answer was yes. After the movie, he asked, “Did you deliberately model your life after hers?” To which the answer is a lot more complex, and it deserves its own entry here.

Johann Sebastian Bach. His various sons also have sites, including PDQ.

Cleopatra. This is a page on a site dedicated to all sorts of interesting royal personages. IMX, the more carefully you read about most royalty, the better you understand the French Revolution. Maybe not sympathize, certainly not excuse, but understand.

Joan of Arc. Actually, this is the Joan of Arc Society, but it offers a variety of useful material, including trial transcripts. There are also sites dedicated to her veneration and to the museum near where she was burned at the stake.

Lord Byron. Mad, bad, and dangerous to know — but so beautiful, and such a good writer. An even more complete site, but their server is Godawful slow. Do read the letters; they're brilliant. Witty, honest, moving, sophisticated, and crackling with life. Also, an article by a woman who is dating his lordship. You heard me correctly. I don't know if she also thinks she is his sister.

Here is the place to find psychological analyses of Byron -- as well as Shelley, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, and several other major neurotic poets.

John Alden. Of course. He still speaks for himself.

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