Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?


Tombstones of the Romantic Era

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“Romantic” is a vague term, but in the Allegheny Cemetery there is a certain class of tombstones for which no other adjective seems appropriate. Asymmetry and an imitation in stone of forms from the vegetable kingdom are their distinguishing traits.

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The Wilkins family monument crosses the line from simple romanticism into morbid romanticism. It depicts the Wilkins family as a tree trunk, with each deceased member as a branch cut off from the trunk. The metaphor, if carried to its logical conclusion, suggests that the family is extinct, leaving nothing but a dead stump. But someone must have paid for that monument, which is really quite colossal in person.

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