Friday, May 22, 2015

Dead Author's Society: 7 Graves of Famous Authors

Authors often leave a legacy with the books they write, but have you ever wondered if their resting places are as noteworthy? Apparently I'm not the only one with the creepy obsession to author-stalk the dead. In fact, there's a website where you can stalk anyone famous (

One of the greatest writers of all times, or at least one of the most influential is the great bard, William Shakespeare. His grave site, located at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratsford, Warwickshire, United Kingdom, includes a gravestone with this epitaph (supposedly written by Shakespeare himself):

Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones

Famous author grave sites, Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
Church of the Holy Trinity where William Shakespeare was buried in 1616.

The gravestone of F. Scott Fitzgerald (author of The Great Gatsby that we read last year) could be easily missed if you didn't know to look for it. Buried in St. Mary's Church in Rockville, Maryland, Fitzgerald's grave is etched with the last words from his book:

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Delicious Read Dead Author's Society
The grave of F. Scott Fitgerald

Strangely, Fitzgerald and his wife are not even from Maryland, but if you notice on his gravestone, his full name is Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. Does that ring any bells? Yep, you guessed it. His distant cousin was the very writer of "The Star Spangled Banner." The original Francis Scott Key had family ties to Maryland. The story of Fitzgerald, not very religious and a known drunk, and how he came to be buried at a Catholic church is worth the read.

Adventurous geeks all around make the pilgrimage to La Madeliene Cementary in Amiens, France to visit the famous Jules Vern's grave. This iconic author, left his mark in books like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (which we just read for book club last month) and Journey to the Center of the Earth. His grave and the statue climbing from it, make it an icon in and of itself.

Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
Headstone at Jules Vern's grave site.
What about J.R.R. Tolkien (author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings)? He's got to be in some magical place, right?

Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
J.R.R. Tolkien's Grave
I'm going to be honest: I kind of thought it was a bit of a let down. Tolkien was buried in Wolverton Cemetary in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. Maybe in person you can feel the magic or at least the eyes of a hobbit boring into the back of your head.

Many authors have made requests in their wills as to their epitaphs. The great Charles Dickens, buried in Westminster Abbey in Poet's Corner (London, England), write in his will "that my name be inscribed in plain English letters on my tomb . . . I rest my claims to the remembrance of my country upon my published works." He got what he asked for:

Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
Grave of Charles Dickens
In Elmira, New York you can venture to the grave of Mark Twain. Like Dickens, Twain's grave is simple and unassuming. I almost wish that Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer would have added some humor to his final resting place. 

Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
Headstone of author Mark Twain

By far, the prize for the best epitaph goes to H.G.Wells (author of The Time Machine and The Island of Dr. Moreau). It has nothing to do with the location of his grave because there isn't one (he was cremated in England and his ashes cast out at sea). But Wells said once that if he wrote his own epitaph, it would say:

Goddamn you all: I told you so.

And that, my friends, is how you go out with the last word.


Young Adult Author of Remembrandt


(for more funny epitaphs, check out these "last words" of famous authors). 

1 comment :

Kellie H said...

Love it Robin. That was so interesting and makes me want to look up grave sights of my favorite authors but also of the grave sights of some of my favorite musicians.