Where are the famous writers now buried?

Westminster Abbey: Famous Graves

Many famous writers from Europe are buried in various locations across the continent. Here are the resting places of some renowned European writers you'd like to visit the grave:

  1. William Shakespeare - Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, England, UK.
  2. Charles Dickens - Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, London, England, UK.
  3. Jane Austen - Winchester Cathedral, Winchester, England, UK.
  4. Victor Hugo - Panthéon, Paris, France.
  5. Marcel Proust - Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.
  6. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Ducal Vault, Weimar, Germany.
  7. Fyodor Dostoevsky - Alexander Nevsky Monastery, Saint Petersburg, Russia.
  8. Leo Tolstoy - Khamovniki Cemetery, Moscow, Russia.
  9. James Joyce - Fluntern Cemetery, Zurich, Switzerland.
  10. Hans Christian Andersen - Assistens Cemetery, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  11. Dante Alighieri - Tomb of Dante, Ravenna, Italy.
  12. Miguel de Cervantes - Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians, Madrid, Spain.
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien - Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford, England, UK.

The final resting places of famous writers have become sites of pilgrimage for literature enthusiasts and tourists alike, each gravestone offering a solemn commemoration of the life and works of these creative giants. For example, Westminster Abbey, known as the burial ground of English monarchs, is also the final resting place for some of the most venerable names in English literature. In its Poets' Corner, visitors can pay their respects to Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English literature, whose grave laid the foundation for what would become a tradition of interring or commemorating notable literary figures within the abbey's hallowed halls. Inscriptions and memorial windows in the transept of the abbey honor these figures, creating a tangible connection between the present and the literary past.

Across the Channel, in the heart of Paris, lies Père Lachaise Cemetery, renowned for its collection of famous graves, including those of iconic playwrights, novelists, and poets. Among its narrow, tree-lined paths, one can find the grave of Oscar Wilde, a site marked by a modernist angel sculpture and famously covered in lipstick marks left by admirers. This cemetery is also the final resting place of American expatriate writers like Gertrude Stein and Richard Wright, whose gravesites offer a moment of reflection on their contributions to literature and culture.

Not all writers find their final rest in the city or country that birthed them. Ernest Hemingway, the celebrated American novelist and Nobel laureate, was laid to rest in Ketchum, Idaho, far from the European landscapes that inspired some of his most enduring works. His grave, simple yet evocative, attracts fans who leave pens, coins, and bottles in homage to the writer's adventurous spirit and literary genius.

Similarly, the grave of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, located in Rockville, Maryland, near the nation's capital, serves as a quiet reminder of the Jazz Age's luminaries. Though initially buried at another site, their remains were moved to St. Mary's Church cemetery to be interred next to each other, fulfilling a long-postponed wish. Their shared gravestone, inscribed with the final line from Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," offers a poignant epitaph to their storied, tumultuous lives.

The tradition of commemorating famous writers through their final resting places offers both a solemn remembrance and a source of inspiration for visitors. Notably, Ernest Hemingway, an iconic figure of 20th-century literature, is buried in a modest, yet poignant grave in Ketchum, Idaho. His tombstone, inscribed with a short epitaph, attracts admirers from around the world who seek to pay their respects to the man whose work defined a generation. Hemingway, known for his succinct and powerful prose, left behind a legacy that continues to resonate with readers and writers alike, making a visit to his grave a pilgrimage for many.

Westminster Abbey in London serves as a prime example of a sacred space where poets and writers are honored. Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English literature, was the first to be buried in the cathedral's Poets' Corner in 1400. His tomb became a magnet for other famous writers' memorials and burials, including Edmund Spenser, who asked to be buried near Chaucer in 1599. The area has since become a revered site, housing the remains and commemorations of over 100 poets, playwrights, and writers, turning it into a veritable pantheon of British literature.

In contrast, some writers have ended up in less grandiose or even in unmarked graves, their final resting places becoming famous after their deaths. Edgar Allan Poe, initially buried in an unmarked grave in 1870, was later reburied with a proper headstone in Baltimore, Maryland, due to the efforts of admirers who believed his literary stature warranted greater recognition. This act of moving Poe’s remains highlights the posthumous journey of some writers' reputations from obscurity to celebrated status, with their graves becoming sites of homage.

Scott Fitzgerald, another luminary of American literature, offers a unique burial story. Though he died in 1940, Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, were initially buried at Rockville Union Cemetery, away from his family's plot, due to his disreputable reputation at the time. Only in the 1970s were they rebury at St. Mary’s Church cemetery in Rockville, near the grave of Fitzgerald's father. This relocation was a posthumous acknowledgment of his contributions to American literature, underscoring how perceptions of writers can evolve over time, reflecting in where and how they are laid to rest.

These burial sites, whether marked by grandeur or modesty, serve as tangible links to the literary giants whose works have traversed time. They remind us of the human aspect of these cultural icons, whose legacies, encapsulated in stone and epitaphs, continue to inspire reverence and reflection among the living.

The final resting places of famous writers not only serve as memorials to their lives and works but also as destinations for pilgrimage, reflection, and homage by fans and scholars alike. One of the world’s most visited graves, that of Oscar Wilde, is located in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Despite his controversial life, Wilde's grave—adorned with a modernist angel sculpture created by Jacob Epstein—has become a site of admiration and respect, where visitors often leave flowers and bottles of alcohol in tribute. Over a century after his death, Wilde is best remembered today for his wit, his literary contributions, and his enduring symbol of the complexities of human creativity and societal norms.

In the serene grounds of Westwood Village Memorial Park, visitors can find the graves and memorials of numerous cultural icons, including the revered playwright and novelist Truman Capote. His ashes, buried beneath a sleek, simple bronze plaque, draw admirers who reflect on his famous work and the literary legacy that continues to influence writers and readers. Capote's grave is a testament to the lasting impact of his narratives on American literature and culture.

The Brontë family, buried in the family vault beneath the church in Haworth, provides a poignant reminder of the literary contributions of sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë. Their shared grave, fittingly located in the village where they spent most of their lives and which inspired much of their writing, is a place of pilgrimage for those moved by their profound stories of passion, struggle, and resilience. The grave symbolizes the close-knit bond of the Brontë siblings and their collective impact on English literature.

Canterbury Cathedral houses the burial of Geoffrey Chaucer, located in Poets’ Corner, where he lies among other literary luminaries. His burial in the Abbey began a tradition that has turned Poets’ Corner into a revered site, commemorating the legacy of English writers. Chaucer's tomb, marking his contributions as the Father of English literature, has inspired generations of poets and writers to aspire to the heights of literary achievement.

The grave of Jim Morrison, frontman of The Doors, also in Père Lachaise Cemetery, has become an unusual and iconic gravesite, marked by a bust created by sculptor Mladen Mikulin. Morrison’s grave draws fans who view him as a poetic visionary, despite his dying young at 32. His burial site, surrounded by the graves of other legendary artists, has become a symbol of the eternal youth and rebellious spirit that defined his life and work.

These gravesites, each unique in their way, serve as lasting tributes to the literary and artistic geniuses who have shaped our cultural heritage. From the hauntingly beautiful epitaphs to the works of art that mark these final resting places, they remind us of the profound impact these individuals have had on the world. As pilgrims and admirers continue to visit these graves, the legacy of these famous writers and artists is celebrated and preserved for future generations.