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5Q On The A-Z With PAUL BEGG

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  • 5Q On The A-Z With PAUL BEGG

    Here's a great way to start off a week folks...courtesy of Mr. Begg who answers questions relative to the upcoming A to Z.

    Thank you,sor....


    1. At what point in time did you and the other A to Z collaborators decide it was time to update the previous work? Was there a specific event which served as catalyst for this decision or a sense that "enough " had transpired in general to necessitate this revision?

    Actually it wasn’t our decision. Headline, the book’s original publishers, decided that the book no longer reflected their ‘image’ and declined to publish updated editions. We were unable to take the book elsewhere until contractual issues were satisfied and the rights reverted to us, which eventually they did.

    2. Which part of the A to Z did you specifically focus on in its revision ?

    Compiling the A to Z doesn’t work that way and I had to smile when I read a message board contributor elsewhere claiming that anyone familiar with my writing style could see that I was the main writer of the A to Z. We’ve never made any secret of the fact that for the sake of stylistic continuity the text is written by Martin Fido.

    What has happened in the past is that we have all tried to keep abreast of all the new information, new theories, new insights and so forth, this is then assembled and passed to Martin who précis it and writes the entry. This revision is different because we all have commitments we didn’t have in the past, so the writing has been done by all three of us and we have all played a greater part in editing the final mss., especially removing what might be described as ‘opinion’.

    3. We've seen less discussion on JTRForums and elsewhere in regard to the Maybrick Saga.....the Royals Conspiracy theory and Patricia Cornwell's unique Sickert theory over the last two years. How will the A to Z remark on or cover these three areas of the case in terms of changes which may have occurred over this period of time towards the significance of these theories to the Ripperological community ?

    I’m not sure that the A to Z has ever reflected the significance of theories except that more space gets given to serious and controversial theories - the diary, for example, has more space given to it than its historical importance or significance probably merits. But we have always tried to be objective and treat all theories fairly. As said above, a key feature of this edition has been the removal of ‘opinion’ – by which I mean that although the A to Z has never been unduly opinionated (it’s tough to be opinionated when there are three authors all with different opinions), in the past we have given warnings such as ‘should be treated with caution’ when we felt that theories and arguments and opinions weren’t all they were cracked up to be. Whilst I think there is a place for this kind of ‘guidance’, we have decided to eliminate it in this edition. This means that we don’t imply that people like Joseph Sickert or Jean Overton Fuller can be dismissed.

    4. Are there any significant changes to the candidatures of once highly touted suspects that will be reflected in the pages of the new A to Z ? In addition,are there any new and noteworthy candidates that have made the pages in this edition that were previously unknown or unheralded?

    I hope that every ‘serious’ suspect has an entry, so any new suspects to have emerged in the last decade should be there. More information about Tumblety has emerged, and Stephenson of course. I guess the one suspect whose entry has significantly increased would be Cutbush

    5. How much of a help has it been for you and your co-collaborators of the new A to Z in its construction that there are a considerable amount of genealogical whizzes such as the Scotts.Arifs, & Covells that may not have been working within the community at the time of the prior edition's release ? Elaborate if you will...and get ready for a few dozen more questions by Sunday.

    That’s a tough question. I cannot sufficiently express the respect I have for the people you mention and all the others who quietly beaver away and come up with all the information they have, and, of course, the information is always very welcome. I think the work being done is absolutely fantastic.
    On the other hand, because such researchers are always coming up with new information or new interpretations or new insights, and because there are so many places where this information is published – books, journals, web sites, message boards, private communications and so on – it’s now enormously difficult to keep up with it all, especially as we have to keep abreast of the whole subject from the sensible to the stupid and can’t just read the stuff that interests us.
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