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 Post subject: Literary Sleuthing
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2002 1:28 pm 
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If you want an interesting read, check out Don Foster's book Author Unknown. Foster, a Vassar literature professor, hunts down crime suspects using their own writing. He is not a handwriting analyst, but compares text samples of crime suspects and uses their vocabulary, style and other elements to conclusively determine who wrote the text. It's a relatively new field of criminalistics. Foster tracked down the anonymous writer of Primary Colors (Joe Klein) through his previous works and worked on the Unabomber case.

An article about Foster appears in this month's Reader's Digest.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2002 3:46 am 
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Thanks for the recommendation! I remember reading about his investigations into Primary Colors and the unabomber and I'm sure that will be a fascinating read.

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 Post subject: Follow up
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2002 4:13 am 
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What is incredibly interesting about Foster's book is the last chapter where he methodically proves that Clement Moore did not write A Visit from St. Nicholas or 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Foster gives extremely convincing evidence that it was Major Henry Livingston (1748-1828) that wrote this poem.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2002 10:21 am 
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MAJOR HENRY LIVINGSTON JR. (1748-1828)
ACCOUNT OF A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS
Original Text: Don Foster, Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous (New York: Henry Holt, 2000): 222-24.
First Publication Date: Troy Sentinel (Dec. 23, 1823).
http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/ ... ston1.html
His most famous poem, "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas," was until 2000 thought to have been the work of Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863), who published it with his collected poems in 1844. Livingston died Feb. 29, 1828.
http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/ ... gston.html
http://www.henrylivingstonjr.com.future ... ister.com/
http://www.nightbeforechristmas.biz/

Foster writes, "'The Night Before Christmas' is as different from Moore's other children's verses as Christmas cookies from steamed spinach."
http://www.epinions.com/content_54013038212


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2002 6:30 am 
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Here's an interesting article about Foster's recanting of his early Shakespeare conclusions.

http://www.sobran.com/columns/020620.shtml

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 Post subject: Don Foster
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2003 7:39 am 
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Don Foster has made more than one mistake. He publicly admitted he was wrong about his attribution in Shakespeare - and in his book has says he "made a mistake' in the JonBenét Ramsey case.

The truth is, he made several there.

Don Foster identified me as the killer, turned that information over to the authorities and to a national magazine - Newsweek.

When he found out he was wrong, he THEN decided to give the BPD the report they wanted, and he told Detective Steve Thomas that he was going to attribute that ransom note to Patsy Ramsey and no one else.

(This is in Steve Thomas' book on the Ramsey case - his book is not a fact based book but a book of his theory which was NOT supported by the facts - - - - but he does give some interesting insight into Don Foster and his "work".)

Donald Foster was discredited in the Ramsey case - that was documented in the Thomas book, and the Schiller book, and the Ramsey book, and on 48 Hours, and it is made clear in the depositions that have been released in the Ramsey case.

I knew that Foster was not able to correctly identify authors based on limited samples - and it was really nice to see him exposed.

I LOVE his quote in your files - -
No one who cannot rejoice in the discovery of his own mistakes deserves to be called a scholar. Donald Foster

He is not a great detective. But scholar? I guess I will give him that - - he has been able to rejoice over his errors time and time again.


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