Category: Text Analysis

  • Post 6: November 1908 – Scandal

    Previous posts have discussed how the June 1908 coverage of the Steinheil Affair fit into conventional understanding of crime in terms of who criminals and their victims were (immoral members of the lower class and elegant members of the bourgeoisie, respectively) and in terms of the emphasis on physicality as a means for knowing the truth. This is the first … Read more

  • Post 5: Meg and the President

    Note: The following post was written by Sam Gibson, Washington and Lee University class of 2017, who worked on this project in Summer 2016 and Summer 2017.

    A decade before the grisly deaths of her mother and husband catapulted her name and personal life into the public eye, Marguerite – Meg –Steinheil was infamous in certain circles for her illicit … Read more

  • Post 4: Debuting After Prison: Physical Descriptions of Meg Steinheil During the First Day of the Trial

    Note: The following post was written by Megan Doherty, Washington and Lee University class of 2019, who worked on this project in Summer 2017.


    Marguerite “Meg” Steinheil was a captivating woman. Of that we have little doubt, and the newspapers cast her as a sensational actress within the narrative of the affair. During the first day of the trial … Read more

  • Post 3: June 1908 — Class, Crime and Doubt

    This post takes a deeper dive into the commonly used adjectives in the June 1908 coverage of the Steinheil Affair discussed here. There will be fewer visualizations and/or exciting uses of algorithms; instead, I concentrate on two things: how the initial reporting would have been read as a story about class and how we can see signs of doubt … Read more

  • Post 2: June 1, 1908 — Crime Stories

    When reports of the murder of Adolphe Steinheil and his mother-in-law, Mme Japy, broke in the Parisian press, the story was clearly regarded as a significant one. It was front page news for all nine newspapers (since La Croix didn’t publish on Sundays, there was no June 1, 1908 issue) and often had pride of place as the article in … Read more

  • Post 1: Scandal! Murder! Text Analysis!

    What is the language of scandal? This is a question I have been working on over the past two summers with Sam Gibson and Megan Doherty, two Washington and Lee undergraduates, as well Brandon Walsh and Sarah McEleney, both at UVA. This is a first of a series of posts that uses text analysis to explore the press coverage … Read more

  • The Nitty Gritty: The Steinheil Affair and the Press

    Because the blog posts discuss details of the Steinheil Affair and/or the press culture of the time, this page goes into more depth on the unfolding of the affair, its participants, and the newspapers being examine. I’ll be updating as necessary.

    The Newspapers

    The following table lists all ten newspapers studied in this project, their politics, their circulation (as of … Read more

  • Bibliography and acknowledgements

    Note: instead of providing a bibliography for every post on the Steinheil Affair, here’s a running bibliography that I’ll update with new citations as necessary.

    All the newspaper articles are available from the Bibliothèque nationale on Gallica

    On the Steinheil Affair:

    Darmon, Pierre. Marguerite Steinheil, ingénue criminelle? Paris: Perrin, 1996.

    Lanoux, Armand, Madame Steinheil, ou, “la connaissance du président.” Paris: … Read more