Great Moments in Literary Death

Kevin Kizer has been keeping us up to date on the suitably gonzoid preparation’s for Hunter S. Thompson’s funeral. This ceremony will involve a very large cannon, and if you are anywhere near Aspen this Saturday it seems likely that little microscopic bits of Hunter S. Thompson will fall on you.

The best part of the whole arrangement is the Wonka-inspired Golden Ticket scheme, and the news is now out that this guy got the Golden Ticket. He’s allowed to take a guest with him, of course, and we can only hope he’s bringing his Grandpa.

LitKicks applauds Hunter S. Thompson for what may be the best literary final scene since Yukio Mishima committed hari-kari in 1970. We believe writers should always find a way to make their closing chapters (or afterwords, in HST’s case) interesting. What’s your favorite literary death/funeral moment?

7 Responses

  1. Wilde Poe ParsonsGreat topic!
    Wilde Poe Parsons

    Great topic! And thanks, Kevin, for the HST update. Wish I could be there for the big blast.

    When Oscar Wilde died in 1900, his last words were, “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.”

    Edgar Allen Poe’s death is rather interesting, especially the cooping theory.

    Gram Parsons was a songwriter. Does that count? Because his story is as follows:

    Gram is often referred to as the worlds first Country-Rock Star. His influence was key in the development of such early 1970’s bands as The Byrds, The Eagles and The Rolling Stones, as well as such new 1990’s bands as Son Volt, The Jayhawks, The Lemonheads, Wilco and Dash Rip Rock.
    Once, at someone else’s funeral, Gram was overheard stating that when he died, rather than being buried in the ground, he would like to be taken out to The Joshua Tree desert of southern California and burned.

    After Gram died in The Joshua Tree Inn, his body was taken to the Los Angeles International Airport in preparation for being flown to Louisiana for burial. Gram’s road manager Phil Kaufman and a friend, Michael Martin, got very intoxicated, borrowed a broken down hearse and drove to LAX to retrieve the body. When they arrived, they told the shipping clerk that Gram’s remains were to be sent out of another airport, flashed some bogus paperwork and falsely signed for the body. After crashing into a wall and almost being arrested, Phil, Michael and Gram drove back to The Joshua Tree Desert, stopping only to buy more beer and a container of gasoline. They took Gram’s remains into the desert, poured gasoline inside the coffin and set him ablaze. The two were arrested several days later and fined $700.00 for stealing and burning the COFFIN (it was is not against the law to steal a dead body). Gram’s partially burned remains were finally laid to rest in a modest cemetery near New Orleans, LA.

  2. I understand Ibsen’s last
    I understand Ibsen’s last words in response to his wife’s saying: ‘You’re looking better!’ were: ‘On the contrary’.

    Someone else’s – I forget whose (damn vodka shakes) – were: ‘I shall feel better in the morning’.

    To go the other end of the scale: Walter Benjamin took his own life in 1940 on the Spanish border on being detained there running from the Nazis. The border opened up the next day. – & now that my mind is running on these lines the Nazi Heidegger the little shit hounded Husserl to his death in cahoots w/ the Gestapo (no?).

    & didn’t Freud – who got away thank XYZ – die in London proclaiming the place to be unpsychoanalysable?

  3. The Poe death rings for me,
    The Poe death rings for me, he lived and died on these Baltimore streets where I now live, his is a death remembered by many to this very day …

  4. Not quite as glamorous as
    Not quite as glamorous as these was the recent death of Felipe Alfau. Nothing fancy, but around the time he turned 90, he moved out of his apartment (I believe in the meatpacking district of NYC) citing trendy rich kids as his reason, and without any luggage whatsoever moved into a NYC old folks home. When people asked why, he replied simply “I am waiting to die.” Around the same time, someone came fishing for manuscripts, he produced one he had written in 1948 and told them to leave. It became a modest success and they brought back the profits and critical praise. He threw them out of the home and told told them to give the money to someone else, maybe another writer. He only wrote two books, which should be read as a sort of duet, Locos then Chromos. There is something there besides being a crabby old man, but here is an interview with him:

  5. RumoursKnut Hamsun, upon

    Knut Hamsun, upon being told he had tuberculosis and 6 months to live, asked the doctor what he could do. The doctor responded, “Not much, get some fresh air.” Hamsun went to America, bought a train ticket from NYC to San Francisco, and rode on the roof with his mouth open, taking in all the air he could. He lived for another 30 years, dying of completely different circumstances.

  6. Good stuff, Rubiao. That
    Good stuff, Rubiao. That Felipe Alfau was one radical sum’bitch about writing! If only I could be that brazen. Thanks for posting that interview.

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