Category Archives: Wilde

Oscar Wilde, Pere Lachaise, Paris

© 1993 A. Slack

“Weird Lover Wilde”

I had already seen pictures of Jacob Epstein’s memorial to Oscar Wilde – a 10-ton male angel “flying” over Oscar’s grave. It was paid for by an “anonymous lady in admiration of the poet”. When first erected in 1909 it caused quite an uproar due to its rather large member, which the cemetery authorities soon covered with a discreet plaque in the shape of a fig-leaf. In 1922, it was hacked off – probably by students, although there is a rumour that the cemetery director uses it as a paperweight‚Ķ

I duly stood at the front and took my own unremarkable version of the image that has been reproduced so many times. On wandering round to the back of the monument though, I was surprised to find the step littered with flowers and little messages to Oscar, some scribbled on old metro tickets and cigarette packets, weighted down with stones. There was also a large plaque completely covered in graffiti. What I found even more fascinating was the fact that most of this graffiti was dated July & August 1993 – within the two months prior to my visit. Do the cemetery authorities perform a “clean-up” every few months, only for people to start over again? Very strange…
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