Dead Socialists

Concentrating on being in Paris also meant catching up with some dead socialists, with visits to the cemeteries at Père-Lachaise and Montparnasse. (This site is great, by the way.)

Père-Lachaise has (among others) Louis Blanc, Louis-Auguste Blanqui, Pierre Bourdieu, Édouard Daladier, Jules Guesde, Jean-François Lyotard, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, the Imre Nagy memorial, Marceau Pivert, Claude Henri de Saint-Simon, Maurice Thorez (died 11th July, and therefore a casualty of the Hiatus of the Stoa), Oscar Wilde, Richard Wright, and, no doubt, many more, as well as being home to the Mur des Fédérés and the site of many moving monuments memorialising the dead of the Nazi camps and various résistants.

(Question: there’s almost no Jewish iconography on the memorials to the Jewish dead. I assume that’s got something to do with French republicanism, but if anyone’s got any specific details on just why those monuments look the way they do, I’d be very interested to hear them.)

Montparnasse, which I hadn’t visited before, and which is also delightful, is home to what remains of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, as well as (moving beyond the bounds of socialists proper) Tristan Tzara, Emile Durkheim, Alfred Dreyfus and – much more recently – Susan Sontag, whose grave is marked by flowers, but has no headstone set in place just yet. Perhaps one is on the way.

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