Author's Note: Literary enthusiasts on the scent of favourite authors often include a pilgrimage to their final resting places as a gesture of readerly devotion. But what does it mean for the reader to fall in love--once again--with the (dead, no longer present, long gone)--author? Does a visit to the writer's ultimate resting place provide the illusion of a narrowing of distance between the reader and written? Or, alternatively, is the rationale for the dynamic quest quite the opposite? That is, does visiting the final resting place confer with finality upon the reader's consciousness the inescapable reality of an original trace that can never be possessed?
This article recounts the experiences and whereabouts of some American literary greats, and how their pilgrims find and memorialize their remains...
"Driving down Veirs Mill Road on the way to the Rockville Amtrak station in Rockville, Md., it's easy to miss the small banner to the side of St. Mary's Church, laying claim to the grave of one of America's most lauded authors: F. Scott Fitzgerald.
But ask a local where Fitzgerald is buried, and you might soon venture through a small metal gate into the cemetery, wander through the overgrowth, and find Fitzgerald's final resting place. He's buried next to his wife, Zelda, and their grave is commemorated with the Great Gatsby quote: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
"There's no rule for how to properly commemorate a literary great—so some authors' grave sites are more modest than mausoleum..."