Wednesday, August 30, 2006


John KeatsI guess it could be argued that a site like Find A Grave probably has some utility as a reference source ("Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials"), but personally I think it's more interested in pandering to a morbid fascination with celebrity. The most popular searches at the time of this writing include some unsurprising results:
Number One: JonBenet Ramsey (I refuse to link to this because, well, I like to think that I have some sense of decency. If I seem a trifle self-important, too fucking bad...)
Other 'Celebrities' in the Top 20: Ingrid Bergman (2); Hedy Lamarr (3); Lee Marvin (!) (5); Jim Morrison (15); Diana Spencer (16);
Surprisingly (to me, at least) coming in at number 6 is Saint John the Baptist.
The photo (click for larger view) is from the gravesite of my favorite poet, John Keats (this is a good place to start if you're unfamiliar with Keats' life and poetry). The inscription at the bottom of the gravestone reads, "Here lies one whose name was writ in water". This was what Keats requested shortly before his death, at the age of 25. The words above this were written after Keats' death by a friend who was bitter about how the young poet's life turned out.
This Living Hand

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou wouldst wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calmed—see here it is—
I hold it towards you.

--John Keats 1819


  1. Keats' grave! I visited it my sophomore year in college and eventually did my big English major project on him. I love JK. I think Shelley is buried in the same cemetary, right?

    I don't know if it's a blog faux pas to ask this in a comment, but do you like any particular translation of Brothers Karamazov?

  2. Salamaat,
    aww you are back and i didn't even know.


    i hope you had a great vacation:)

    I didn't know he died at 25! Wow...

  3. emarie: I think you're right about Shelley. It's definitely not a faux pas to ask an OT (off topic) question here. Regarding your question, I've read a few translations (most of which I can't remember). The one I have now is by Andrew R. MacAndrew (Bantam Classics, 1981) and I don't have any complaints about it (but then, I don't know Russian!). I've read good things about a recent translation by Pevear and Volokhonsky. The old standard was Constance Garnett's translation, which I've read bits of and didn't like (the 'poor' people speak like Cockneys, etc.).

    Maliha: Technically I'm still on vacation, secretly wishing I could go back to work and relax. I'll have to do a post sometime on the Japanese concept of vacation...