Last month, we posted an article detailing some very strange ways that authors have met their end. The morbid side of literature got us thinking about the final resting places of authors, so we did some research and uncovered the cemeteries that can boast the most about the literary quality of their residents. Read on for more gloom.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is likely America’s greatest literary cemetery. It’s located in Concord, Massachusetts has an area known as “Author’s Ridge.” The cemetery was dedicated in 1855, when Ralph Waldo Emerson gave its dedication speech.
Notable writer burials: Louisa May Alcott, William Ellery Channing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Richard Marius, Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, Henry David Thoreau.
Other notable burial: Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial.
Novodevichy Cemetery outside Moscow has over 27,000 buried. Under Soviet reign, it was the second most prestigious cemetery behind the Kremlin Wall Necropolis. Today, only the most symbolic burials still occur there.
Notable writer burials: Mikhail Bulgakov, Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gogol, Vladimir Mayakovsky.
Other notable burial: Boris Yeltsin.
Montparnasse Cemetery has been around since 1824 and is a big tourist attraction in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris. Since it opened, more than 300,000 people have been buried there, and 1,000 burials happen there every year.
Notable writer burials: Charles Baudelaire, Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco, Guy de Maupassant, Jean-Paul Sartre, Susan Sontag, César Vallejo.
Other notable burial: Émile Durkheim.
Père Lachaise Cemetery is home to 70,000 today and is said to be the world’s most-visited cemetery. It’s also home to things like lipstick marks on Oscar Wilde’s grave and the “lewd rubbing” of statues.
Notable writer burials: Miguel Ángel Asturias, Honoré de Balzac, Jean de Brunhoff, Colette, Nancy Cunard, Molière, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Tolkas, Oscar Wilde, Richard Wright.
Other notable burial: Auguste Comte.
The Panthéon in Paris was originally conceived by King Louis XV as a structure worthy of St. Genevieve, Paris’s patron saint. The gorgeous building features Corinthian columns and a triple dome. Since it’s completion in 1780, it has been the site of numerous important events, including Foucault’s demonstration of the Earth’s rotation. Its necropolis is equally impressive and extremely restrictive.
Notable writer burials: Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Rousseau, Voltaire, Émile Zola.
Other notable burial: Louis Braille.
If you’re a writer and eventually find yourself spending eternity in any of these cemeteries, you can rest assured you’ve done some good work in your time. But none of these places can compare to Poet’s Corner in Westminister Abbey.
The first person buried in Poet’s Corner, which is in a section of the South Transept of the Abbey, was Geoffrey Chaucer in 1400. But it wasn’t until his massive tomb was completed in 1556, as well as the burial of poet Edmund Spenser in 1599, that the literary tradition began. The most recent burial was Laurence Olivier in 1989.
Notable writer burials: Robert Browning, Thomas Campbell, Geoffrey Chaucer, Abraham Cowley, Charles Dickens, John Dryden, William Gifford, Thomas Hardy, Samuel Johnson, Rudyard Kipling, Edmund Spenser, Alfred Tennyson.
Other notable burial: George Frideric Handel.