Category Archives: cemeteries

The Victorians did the dead proud

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 18.49.45Dalrymple perambulates in the cemetery outside the town where he lives when in England. The cemetery was established, he writes, in the early 1850s

because the churchyards were full to bursting and the Victorians fretted about the unsanitary nature of burial in the middle of towns and cities, as we fret over the deleterious effects of pesticides.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 18.50.01It retains its character,

with a gothic entrance and two gothic chapels, and a winding path between the hills, the slopes of which are sown with sandstone or granite tombstones.

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Emotions evaporate, granite remains

Grave of the victualler at Strasbourg

Grave at Père-Lachaise of a Strasbourg victualler (presumably to the imperial armies)

Ottoman romance

Will future generations, asks Dalrymple, 'ever find our age, or anything else, as romantic as we now find fin de siècle Turkey?'

Will future generations, asks Dalrymple, ‘ever find our age, or anything else, as romantic as we now find fin-de-siècle Turkey?’

To gravely go

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 07.53.42Cemeteries: antidote to self-importance

Dalrymple likes to enter graveyards

and linger awhile. I have been like this since my adolescence. Meditation on the transience of life, intermittent rather than continuous and rejuvenating rather than paralysing, is important for achieving equanimity.

When in Paris he always stays within a stone’s throw of Père-Lachaise. He likes to wander there at random among the 65,000 graves, seeking out no-one in particular, including the tombs of the never-heard-of and of the once-heard-of-now-forgotten.

It would almost be a pleasure to reside there permanently, were it not for the rather stringent residence qualifications.

Ironie assez macabre

Alexandre Stavisky

‘La tombe de Stavisky [pictured] se trouve dos-à-dos avec celle d’Édouard Drumont, l’un des plus féroces antisémites français,’ explains the Cimetières de France et d’ailleurs website

Père-Lachaise perambulation

Alphonse Bertillon's grave was 'neglected and overgrown with moss'...

The grave of Alphonse Bertillon ‘was neglected and overgrown with moss’