Monday, September 26, 2011

Just what was the root of his neurosis?

September 23, 1939: Sigmund Freud died at age 83, of cancer of the jaw, brought on by the some two-dozen cigars he smoked daily. His last words have been variously recorded, sometimes as:

"My dear Schur (his doctor), you remember our first talk. You promised to help me (by giving him morphine) when I could no longer carry on. It is only torture now, and it has no longer any sense."

And as:

"It's absurd."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Deathless thoughts of Montaigne

I missed this: Michel de Montaigne, the master of the personal essay (he invented the form) and aphorist extraordinaire, died on September 13, 1592. Of death, he had this to say, among other things:

"If you don't know how to die, don't worry; Nature will tell you what to do on the spot, fully and adequately. She will do this job perfectly for you; don't bother your head about it."

"It is not death, it is dying that alarms me."

"Death, they say, acquits us of all obligations."


"The ceaseless labour of one's whole life is to build the house of death."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Words Elvis did not live by

Louis XVIII of France died on this day in 1824. Wheelchair-bound for most of his later life because of a severe case of gout, he supposedly uttered these last words as he was about to die:

"A king should die standing."

The quotation has been attributed to others, as well, such as the Roman emperor Vespasian, and the Danish king Liward, who said:

"Let me up that I may die standing, not lying down like a cow."