August 12, 2017

The amazing tombstone of Jules Verne.


CC BY-SA 2.0

I don't think I've ever seen that before. I encountered it as I was working on some photographs I took last month at Hicks Cemetery in Perrysville, Indiana. I had a question that was difficult to phrase, and I only arrived at Jules Verne's tombstone because of the awkwardness of my search terms. I still don't know the answer to my question, which is whether there is a conventional artistic idea of half carving a stone for someone who died young. That is, the stone is made to look incompletely carved as a way to express the idea of a life not fully lived. On one side it resembles rough stone. I don't have an appropriate photograph to show you of that stone, but here is one of the photographs I was working on when I thought of that question.

P1140195

As for Jules Verne's grave:
Two years after his death a sculpture entitled “Vers l’Immortalité et l’Eternelle Jeunesse” (“Towards Immortality and Eternal Youth”) was erected atop his marker. Designed by sculptor Albert Roze, and using the actual death mask of the writer, the statue depicts the shrouded figure of Jules Verne breaking his own tombstone and emerging from the grave.
The grave is in the Cimetière de la Madeleine in Amiens, France. The link goes to Google Maps, where the street view will not take you onto the paths inside the cemetery. The same is true of the Hicks Cemetery. You can go right up to the gate, but you can't "walk" around inside.

25 comments:

Michael K said...

Pere Lachais is a famous Paris cemetery/. I visited Claude Bernard's tomb and several painters, like Camille Pissarro, but all the girls wanted to see was Jim Morrison's grave. It is the most visited grave in Pere Lachais.

I would love to visit the grace of Raphael Sabatini but it is in Switzerland.

I can't find a photo of his tombstone which has the epitaph "He was born with the gift of laughter and aa sense that the world was mad."

It is the opening line of his novel "Scaramouche."

Paddy O said...

Michelangelo's Rondanini Pietà isn't unfinished in light of young life, but there's good argument that it was finished in an unfinished state, expressing Michelangelo's developing understanding of life and art.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Also for expressing different vision altogether.

http://www.bobbiecarlylesculpture.com/SelfMadeMan.php

Ann Althouse said...

@Paddy I was thinking of Michelangelo as I wrote the post — but of his slave sculptures:

"They are some of the finest examples of Michelangelo’s habitual working practice, referred to as “non-finito” (or incomplete), magnificent illustrations of the difficulty of the artist in carving out the figure from the block of marble and emblematic of the struggle of man to free the spirit from matter. These sculptures have been interpreted in many ways. As we see them, in various stages of completion, they evoke the enormous strength of the creative concept as they try to free themselves from the bonds and physical weight of the marble. It is now claimed that the artist deliberately left them incomplete to represent this eternal struggle of human beings to free themselves from their material trappings."

Etienne said...

...still a popular pilgrimage site for adventurous geeks...

ouch...

Paddy O said...

Althouse, yes! I knew there were other examples. Michelangelo went from neo-classical straight to postmodern.

I like the unfinished sculpture for young lives idea, but it seems that would take a bold mourner. Most like to talk about having lived full lives, though there's the sentiment of incompleteness in the mourning process. The sculpture goes more toward memorializing through idealization or by symbols like angels or mourners or such.

whswhs said...

He is not here; he is risen.

George Grady said...

Ann,
Those type of tombstones are called "emerging stones". For example, see here.

Michael said...

Are you sure this is a depiction of Jules Verne and not Robert E. Lee? It would be easy enough to put Jules Verne's name on all of Robert E. Lee statues, no? Is it not safe to just dismantle it now, just in case?

Ann Althouse said...

@George Grady Thank you!!!!

Ann Althouse said...

So weird that the term is "emerging" when that word also describes Verne!

YoungHegelian said...

"And I await the Resurrection of the Dead, and the life of the world to come."

Mark Daniels said...

It appears that someone has put a sticker or a button of some kind in the emerging Verne's right hand. If that's so, I wonder what the slogan might be.

Here in Dayton, in the cemetery where the bodies of the Wright Brothers and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar are buried, people leave coins.

~ Gordon Pasha said...

Findagrave has Jules Verne's information

https://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=2165

buwaya said...

In case anyone hasn't, Verne is still worth reading.
He wrote piles of stuff that never really made it into kids books or movies, and he wrote for adults. Besides which he was the sort of fellow who would throw out concepts almost casually - and by this I dont mean the technical gizmo or scientific mcguffin of the work, important as those were.

The real problem is the English translations of his orginal works are often very poor, as he had no literary reputation in his day.

Its interesting to me how "big" ideas were so freely discussed in the 19th century, and into the middle of the 20th, and how it is all shut down into subcultures now. It is near-impossible to find the mental liberty, or the thirst for knowledge, of those days, in spite of the magical communication apparatus we have and the immensity of our free libraries.

Humanity enslaves itself in solitary mental dungeons, while all the fortress doors are open and, outside, they can fly.
Its as if we are tribes of melancholy monkeys, forlorn in this magic palace made for supermen.

I wonder what Verne would think of this world.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Its as if we are tribes of melancholy monkeys ..."

"Booji Boy /ˈbʊɡi/ is a character created in the early 1970s by the American new wave band Devo.... ...Booji Boy has traits of a simian child and typically wears an orange nuclear protection suit... ...The intent of the figure is to satirize infantile regression in Western culture, a quality Devo enjoyed elucidating."

I am Laslo.

BudBrown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Etienne said...

The real problem is the English translations of his original works are often very poor

20,000 was translated for teens. It was a hack job. I don't think a competent english translation existed for adults until the late 90's.

traditionalguy said...

Thinking about of using that Verne monument for my grave too. I wonder if there is a copyright? That one would make all the other families jealous.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whswhs said...

buwaya: You're quite right about Verne's writing. I have the translation of 20,000 Leagues issued by the Naval Institute Press, and it's brilliant. Not only does it put in a lot of technical details that were omitted from the "classic" English translation, but it makes it clear that this is a story about a man in self-chosen exile, and desperately lonely, who has one more chance at real friendship. Really the encounter between Nemo and Arronax is deeply moving to read about. And I've read a few other more current translations that were worthwhile, though none of them has been up to the impressive quality of 20,000 Leagues.

Bad Lieutenant said...

20,000 Leagues NIP - $36.95? Yeah, no. I thought government publications were free.

Nancy Reyes said...

Since Verne was a (non practicing) Catholic, I interpret the image as belief in the resurrection of the dead.
Ah, but who designed the tombstone: Verne or one of his relatives.?

whswhs said...

The Naval Institute Press (https://www.usni.org/navalinstitutepress) is not a branch of government; it's a private nonprofit organization. Most of what it publishes is academic and/or professional. Such books are very often published by nonprofits and are hardly ever given away free.

Whether you like fiction, and whether you want to read this particular work, and whether it's desirable enough to justify spending $36.95, are purely questions of personal taste.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Well if there's an improved translation of Verne it's worth seeking out, but I daresay I will try a library first.