This is an idea I've seen bandied about by a variety of authors who approach the thing from different angles, but never seem to have connected it one to the other: that the "From Hell" letter is written with the intent to be read aloud with a distinctly 'non-English' accent.
Probably the most compelling evidence towards this end is the spelling of "preserved" as 'prasarved', which, when spoken out loud, sounds almost exactly the stereotype of the Irish brogue.
If this is the case, then I feel it's safe to say that the author, whatever his (or her) relation to the crimes, was not Irish or "foreign", for the simple fact that non-Englishmen who are capable of writing English write it just the same as the British do. If this was a deliberate effort to cast aspersions on an accented foreign underclass, then it almost inevitably follows that the author was not a member of it.
I don't agree that the letter is meant to sound Irish. To me, "presairved" would be closer to a southern Irish pronunciation while a northern Irish version would look the same as the correct spelling. Unless the author was a pirate, the only thing we can glean from "prasarved" is that either he could not spell "preserved" or wanted us to think so.
Nor am I convinced that the salutation reads as "Sor". It could easily be "Sir" with the dot missed off the "i" - although a point against this is that all other dots seem to be present and correct.
And who, apart from Sean Connery, says "mishter"? Again, not particularly Irish to my mind.
But of course we will never know and you may be right. This has been discussed here before and as I recall, few people - if any - could be persuaded to change their opinion either way. It is probably a good example of confirmation bias: we all tend to embrace "evidence" and argument which supports our theory while dismissing anything which does not.
A poll might be interesting though. Along the lines of:
was the author
b) pretending to be Irish,
Should we set one up?
Last edited by Steven Russell : 11-11-2010 at 07:49 PM.
It seems that today's Ripper experts are divided as to the salutation. While the new A-Z transcribes it as Sor, Letters From Hell has it as Sir. I wonder what Keith Skinner thinks since he is co-author of both. Anyway, I'll set up the poll as discussed.