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10 Bizarre Literary Deaths

#10: Ambrose Bierce [1842-1914]

Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce

Disappeared in Mexico while reporting on Pancho Villa’s rebellion. May have been murdered by bandits.
“Life. A spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay . . .”

#9:  Leo Tolstoy [1828-1910]

Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy

Gave away entire fortune, froze to death in a railroad station on a cold winter night.
“Our body is a machine for living. It is organized for that, it is its nature. Let life go on in it unhindered and let it defend itself, it will do more than if you paralyze it by encumbering it with remedies.”

#08:  Virginia Wolfe [1882-1941]

Virginia Wolfe

Virginia Wolfe

Filled pockets with stones and drowned self in the River Ouse.
“If we didn’t live venturously, plucking the wild goat by the beard, and trembling over precipices, we should never be depressed, I’ve no doubt; but already should be faded, fatalistic and aged.”

#07:  Euripides [480-406 B.C.]

Euripides

Euripides

Mauled by a pack of wild dogs owned by Archelaus, the King of Macedonia, according to legend.
“A bad beginning makes a bad ending.”

#06:  Sherwood Anderson [1876-1941]

Sherwood Anderson

Sherwood Anderson

Complications of peritonitis in Colon, Panama, after he accidentally swallowed a piece of a toothpick embedded in a martini olive at a party.
“Everyone in the world is Christ and they are all crucified.”

#05:  Edgar Allan Poe [1809-1849]

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

Died of “acute congestion of the brain” several days after he was discovered lying unconscious in a Baltimore street, wearing someone else’s tattered clothes.
“In an instant I seemed to rise from the ground. But I had no bodily, no visible, audible, or palpable presence.”

#04:  Sergei Esenin [1895-1925]

Sergei Esenin

Sergei Esenin

Cut wrists, wrote a final poem in own blood (called “Do svidania drug moi” or “Goodbye my friend”) and hanged self in a hotel room in Leningrad.
“Don’t waken the dream that is dying/Don’t stir the aim that has failed./Life brought me too early to trial;/The loss, the defeat—what availed?”

#03:  John Berryman [1914-1972]

John Berryman

John Berryman

Jumped from a bridge over the Mississippi River; reputedly waved at passersby on way down.
“We must travel in the direction of our fear.”

#02:  Yukio Mishima [1925-1970]

Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima

Committed seppuku (hara-kiri) and was beheaded during after a failed coup d’etat of a Japanese garrison.
“If we value so highly the dignity of life, how can we not also value the dignity of death? No death may be called futile.”

#01:  Aeschylus [525-456 B.C.]

Aeschylus

Aeschylus

An eagle, mistaking his bald head for a stone, dropped a tortoise on his head.

Death is easier than a wretched life; and better never to have born than to live and fare badly.

 

 

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October 9, 2008 - Posted by | Books |

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