Any last words?
With minds presumably buzzing with words and many brilliant books and poems to their credit, have you ever wondered what caused literary geniuses to say the very last words they ever spoke? Here’s a list of some of the most interesting last words said by famous authors and poets.
1. Robert Louis Stevenson
Last words – “Do I look strange?”
If only there had been a doctor present when these words were uttered, the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde writer might have still survived. Struggling to open a bottle of wine at just age 44 with his wife, he exclaimed, “What’s that? Do I look strange?”. These words were followed by a brain hemorrhage which killed him soon after.
2. Emily Dickinson
Last words – “I must go in; the fog is rising.”
Best known for her poem Because I could not stop for Death, Emily Dickinson is also remembered for her self-imposed social seclusion. Purportedly because it helped her get in touch with her core, she spent most of her time alone; yet she was well-versed with the work of her contemporaries. She had been bedridden for seven whole months before she died, and often spoke of death with a prophetic, mantric quality.
3. Virginia Woolf
Last words – “I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.”
Born Adeline Virginia Woolf, she wrote works often credited for inspiring many women. The deaths of her loved ones from an early age have been cited as one of many reasons for her mental illnesses developing rapidly. In her suicide note, she spoke lovingly of her marriage and stated that she could not let her depression ruin her husband’s life further. She finally filled her coat with stones and walked into a river, drowning at the age of 59.
4. James Joyce
Last words – “Does nobody understand?”
A sentiment echoed by most people who teach and discuss his books! It was clearly fitting for the modernist writer to say just those words before he moved on. Having pushed the barriers of the English language with his works, he is credited as the author who revolutionized the literary scene of the 20th century. He was only 58 when he passed away while undergoing surgery in Zurich. The last person he addressed was the nurse, asking for his wife and son.
5. Lewis Carroll
Last words – “Take away these pillows, I won’t need them any longer.”
Not many people know the author’s real name, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Nor do they know that he suffered from migraines and possible attacks of epilepsy, and used the resulting experiences in his famous Alice in Wonderland series. Another controversial and little-known rumour is his alleged attraction towards young females, evident in both his literary as well as photographic works. A victim of pneumonia at the age of 66, Carroll seemed to know his end was near and acted accordingly.
6. Charlotte Bronte
Last words – “Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us, we have been so happy.”
Author of the classic Jane Eyre, Charlotte was no stranger to grief. Having witnessed the death of her elder siblings at a very young age, she had finally found solace in her marriage to Arthur Bell Nicholls after much strife. However, she fell ill within nine months of the union and died with her unborn child.
7. Karl Marx
Last words – “Go on, get out. Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”
This has to be my personal favourite, even though it probably makes this blog post a bit ironic! Renowned author and communist Karl Marx said this to his maidservant just before dying, as she wondered what the great thinker’s last words would be.
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