No More Kisses for Oscar Wilde’s Tomb

Nov 30, 2011 10:54am
gty oscar wilde tomb before after thg 111130 wblog No More Kisses for Oscar Wildes Tomb

(L) The tomb of Oscar Wilde in Pere Lachaise Cemetery is shown in this May 15, 2010 photo in Paris, France. |(R) Tomb of Oscar Wilde's is seen during a ceremony to unveil the renovated tomb at the cemetery in Paris, Nov. 30, 2011. (Photo credit: Newscom | AFP/Getty Images)

Oscar Wilde’s famous tomb in Paris will now be getting a lot less love. Devoted fans of the “The Importance of Being Earnest” author have long journeyed to his tomb in the city’s famed Pere Lachaise Cemetery to plant a lipstick smooch on the tombstone, but not anymore.

Today, the 111th anniversary of Wilde’s death, the cemetery is unveiling a cleaned up monument with a glass barrier around it to prevent tourists from kissing the stone.

Cemetery officials determined that the grease from the kisses was damaging and eroding the stone, according to the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper.

“Every cleaning was causing a bit more stone to wear away,” Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland told the paper.

Holland called a lipstick a “serious problem.”

“From a technical point of view, the tomb is close to being irreparably damaged,” he said. “Each cleaning has rendered the stone more porous necessitating a yet more drastic cleaning.”

Wilde was buried there in 1900, but it wasn’t until the 1990′s that literary buffs began kissing the monument. Authorities imposed a fine of $12,000 for kissing or writing on the tomb, but it proved very difficult to enforce.

The famed cemetery was established in 1804 and is one of the most visited in the world, according to a U.S. website dedicated to the cemetery, created by the authors of the book “Meet Me at Pere Lachaise.” It is 118 acres and houses over 70,000 monuments.

Other notable people buried there include singer Edith Piaf, painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, writer Marcel Proust, dramatist Moliere and musician Jim Morrison.

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