‘And writing […] will preserve his memory’: Laman Blanchard’s Afterlife in Letters and Ledgers
Keywords:death studies, cemeteries in London, monumental masonry, nineteenth-century English literature
This article examines the historical fragments of cemetery records and monumental masonry for the poet and journalist Laman Blanchard, who was interred in West Norwood Cemetery, London, in 1845, and whose monument was cleared a century later by Lambeth Council. It focuses on Blanchard’s role in the Dickens literary circle and his relation to mid-Victorian writers, situating his untimely death in light of changing legislation on suicide. His lost grave marker is recovered by scrutinising his burial record, obituary, epitaph, and periodicals to ferret out connections amongst the archival sources of his death. The nebulous association, between what is written-by a person in life and what is written-about that person after death, is contemplated throughout.
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