How odd that I became aware that Oscar Wilde’s grave has been cleaned and barricaded on the anniversary of his death today, November 30. I am not particularly enamored with Oscar Wilde the man, but his literary works are an important part of my intellect, and I am a bit sad that this has happened. No single person has had more thoughts (thankfully preserved in writing) that I readily agree with. His keen observations on interpersonal dynamics were spot-on and as applicable in today’s society as they were over 100 years ago when he wrote them.
His was the first grave I sought out on my visit to Pere Lachaise in 2010, and I’m so glad I took pictures. The lipstick-stained lip prints covering the tomb are there no more. Neither are the words of admiration (in many different languages) for his work. I spent quite a while there, reading, for every bit of its large surface is covered with love in the form of kisses and thoughts. I think it was a wonderful tribute to the man whose work is timeless, but Parisian officials did not. The next time I go back for a visit, it will have been “decontaminated”, and I’m glad that I got to see the tainted (read: REAL) thing.
One of the reasons why I am sad for the desecration-by-sterilization of Wilde’s grave is that his deep thoughts mean so much to so many people that writing and re-writing them are a way to pay tribute to him. One of my favorite quotes by him was written here (in the lower right) by a fellow admirer:
“Le plus important c’est de vivre. La plupart des gens se contente d’exister” (Most important is to live. Most people are satisfied to exist) was someone’s personal interpretation of one of Wilde’s quotes. The actual quote is one of my favorites, and anyone who took the time to write it as a tribute to Wilde on his grave is A-OK in my book.