Saturday, 1 December 2007

Author's Deaths

I have decided that being an author is perhaps not all it’s cracked up to be. Witness –

Ambrose Bierce [1842-1914?] American Author
Disappeared in Mexico while reporting on Pancho Villa’s rebellion. May have been murdered by bandits.

Leo Tolstoy [1828-1910] Russian Author
Gave away entire fortune, froze to death in a railroad station on a cold winter night.

Virginia Woolf [1882-1941] British Author & Critic
Filled pockets with stones and drowned self in the River Ouse.

Euripides [480-406 B.C.] Greek Playwright
Mauled by a pack of wild dogs owned by Archelaus, the King of Macedonia, according to legend.

Sherwood Anderson [1876-1941] American Author
Complications of peritonitis in Colon, Panama, after ingesting a toothpick along with a hors d’oeuvre at a cocktail party.

Hart Crane [1899-1932] American Poet
While en route to New York aboard the S.S. Orizaba, leapt into the Caribbean Sea; reputedly said "Good-bye everybody."

Edgar Allan Poe [1809-1849] American Author
Died of "acute congestion of the brain" several days after he was discovered lying unconscious in a Baltimore street, wearing someone else’s tattered clothes.

Sergei Esenin [1895-1925] Russian Poet
Cut wrists, wrote a final poem in own blood (called "Do svidania drug moi" or "Goodbye my friend") and hanged self in a hotel room in Leningrad.

John Berryman [1914-1972] American Poet
Jumped from a bridge over the Mississippi River; reputedly waved at passersby on way down.

Yukio Mishima [1925-1970] Japanese Author
Committed seppuku (hara-kiri) and was beheaded during failed coup. (To expedite the process, after you disembowel yourself, they cut off your head for mercy.)

Kondraty Ryleyev (1795-1826), Russian Revolutionary and Poet? Sentenced to hang by the Czar after the failed Decemberist revolt. When it was his time to get strung up, the rope snapped. As is customary, it was considered divine intervention and he was set free. His remarks as the rope broke: "You see, in Russia they don't know how to do anything properly, not even how to make rope!" In reply, the Czar stated, "In that case, let us prove the contrary." Ryleyev was executed the next day.

Christoper Marlow (1564-1593), denounced as a heretic but before action was taken by the authorities he was stabbed to death in a tavern in Deptford, south of London, apparently over a disputed bill.

Jacques Futrelle (1875-1912), one of the stories left unpublished at the time of his death was called "The Tragedy of the Life Raft." He died on the Titanic, after pushing his wife and child onto such a raft. (They survived.)

Ödön von Horváth (1901-1938), Austro-Hungarian writer who lived in fear of being struck by lightning all his life, only to be killed by a falling branch during a thunderstorm on the Champs Élysées. (Embarrassing detail: when he was found there was a pornographic magazine in his hands...)

1 comment:

  1. Plath stuck her head in an oven. Hemingway blew his brains out--as did Hunter S. Thompson.


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