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Author Topic: Dead poets' bones
lagatta
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2534

posted 13 October 2004 06:39 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
An odd coincidence: today the Guardian carried an article about the exhumation of Goethe - revealing the great German writer's excruciating back pain and other medical conditions, while the Globe and Mail carried an article about the mystery surrounding the remains of the great Italian poet Petrarch.

[ 13 October 2004: Message edited by: lagatta ]


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Contrarian
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6477

posted 13 October 2004 02:40 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
More misplaced remains: Veronica Lake's ashes
From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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Babbler # 478

posted 13 October 2004 03:21 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Fascinating. I did not know any of those stories, but there is a definite theme here.

At the time of the revolution, the well-intentioned if misguided enthusiasts who had misread their works decided to dig up the remains of both Voltaire and Rousseau and move them to a place of honour in the Pantheon in Paris. (Voltaire had been buried by a friendly priest in a churchyard just outside the city, Rousseau at his rural refuge/retreat. Voltaire in particular had been terrified that he would not be buried in sanctified ground, that his body might be thrown into a public sewer, and there's more of a history to that but I'll save it for now.)

Unfortunately, during one of the upheavals ca. 1812-1814, a mob raided the Pantheon, robbed the crypts, and scattered the remains of both great philosophes in the city streets -- precisely the fate that Voltaire had feared (seriously: the man was phobic, approaching hysterical, on the subject).

If you go to the Pantheon today, you will see the tombs of both, Voltaire's in a closed crypt, over the gate of which is the simple inscription "AUX MANES DE VOLTAIRE." Rousseau's coffin is in a central, open space, and they seem to be claiming that his remains are inside. That puzzled me. Perhaps someone else knows more?

Diderot, luckily, had been buried in Pere Lachaise, and no one has ever disturbed him since.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
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rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6477

posted 13 October 2004 03:31 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Fascinating story. I suppose it's possible that someone picked up some of the bones afterwards out of respect or else for souvenirs; look at the shenanigans that still go on, such as the Veronica Lake story. And Einstein's brain was quietly held on to by the pathologist: Link
From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged

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