Lamenting the dead: the affective afterlife of poets' graves

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


Poets’ graves are important memorial spaces as well as sites of literary and heritage tourism. Yet, they are also spaces of emotional encounter and affective exchange with a long tradition of writers paying respect and performing rituals of homage, composition and recital – hoping to cement their own imaginative agency and burgeoning poetical identities with those of poetical forebears. This chapter explores these practices by drawing upon research into the early Victorian poetic community of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in the north-east of England. My ancestor, Robert Gilchrist (1797-1844), considered to be one of the finest and most prolific poets working in the town, was part of this vibrant community and this chapter analyses a series of laments to dead poets produced by Gilchrist and his contemporaries in ways that illuminate the complex temporalities and affective legacies of the poets’ grave. My account is interweaved with my own narrative of discovery, re-membering, and visiting, as I follow the footsteps of Gilchrist and search for material traces of my kin. The chapter details how the poets’ grave maps onto the present as I consider the multi-temporal and affective afterlife of the poets’ grave as a space of both public heritage and private meaning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAffective Architectures
Subtitle of host publicationMore-Than-Representational Geographies of Heritage
EditorsJacque Micieli-Voutsinas, Angela Person
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780429955737
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2020

Publication series

NameCritical Studies in Heritage, Emotion and Affect

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in Affective Architectures: More-Than-Representational Geographies of Heritage on 21/09/2021, available online:


  • heritage
  • Affect
  • Poetry
  • death
  • memory

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