On Untimely Death

Categories Opinion

There is nothing romantic about a few ideas. But selecting reading at an impressionable age can set you rolling fast on the wrong path. Let me not pluck names from the universe but name ones I grew up with. Oscar Wilde was jailed and died at 46. Not quite young. Rimbaud died at 37, after his leg was amputated and suffering great pain. Our very own Vivekananda, whom most of us have read while growing up, died at 39. Sylvia Plath struggled with depression and committed suicide at 30. John Toole committed suicide before his first work was published. Then, there was Nietzsche. At 56, he did not die young. He died paralyzed, melancholic, alone. In one of the biographies I read, someone had compared the state funeral given to Voltaire with the death of Nietzsche.

Compare all this to the methodical nature of a Marquez, a Susan Sontag or a Haruki Murakami, for that matter (whose fame I can’t fathom). Method vs. madness. The argument is old and no one is looking for an answer. It is about which idol you have started praying to, a few ask for blood.