Sunday, March 3, 2013

Seven notable writers' graves

Peter Stanford is a writer, biographer, journalist and broadcaster. His new book is How To Read a Graveyard: Journeys in the Company of the Dead.

Seven of his top ten graves are for persons known primarily for their writing. One writer's grave on the list:
Oscar Wilde
Père-Lachaise, Paris

Wilde’s grave vies with that of Jim Morrison as the biggest tourist attraction in this graveyard of the great and good (Balzac, Chopin, Delacroix, Ingres, Molière, Piaf, and the lovers Abélard and Héloïse among others). It is regularly covered in red lipstick kisses and is both a lovers’ rendezvous and a rallying point against homophobia. The memorial – a naked birdman made by the sculptor, Jacob Epstein – has proved controversial. Unveiled in 1914, it had to be covered up because of complaints about the figure’s exposed genitals. A fig leaf was added but in the 1920s a group of anti-censorship protestors tried to chisel it off and ended up inadvertently carrying out a castration. The detached lump of stone was said to have ended up as a paperweight on the cemetery superintendent’s desk.
See the other graves on Stanford's list.

--Marshal Zeringue