Dead and Lovely, An Illustrated Lecture with Elizabeth Harper, All the Saints You Should Know
Date: Thursday, August 6th
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn NY
The death then of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world, and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover. --Edgar Allan Poe, The Philosophy of Composition. 1846
Our story begins with two famous poets, two enigmatic dead women... and two moonlit cemeteries with busted locks.
On the surface their crimes aren't related: one man buries his daughter in secret, the other exhumes his lover with something darker in mind. But taken together, the poets' own accounts of these nights form a fascinating bend in history. What begins with a grieving Protestant minister unexpectedly veers into the Catholic practice of relic veneration and a burial tradition known as "double death". Then the story turns again, this time towards sadism and necrophilia. Map this out, and you'll see that the transition from the Neoclassical to Romantic period isn't a line, so much as a web, crawling with poets and littered with dead women.
Elizabeth Harper photographs and writes about Catholic relics and other oddities for her blog, All the Saints You Should Know, a project started as a way to document and demystify the bones and bodies found in churches all over the world. Her work has been featured on Slate, LA Magazine, The Order of the Good Death, Atlas Obscura, Killing the Buddha, and a host of British tabloids (hey, it happens). This fall she'll be lecturing on the subject at Virginia Commonwealth University as part of the Bishop Sullivan Lecture Series.
Image: Young et sa fille by Pierre-Auguste Vafflard. Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Angoulême
Morbid Anatomy Museum (View)
424 A Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215