Letters to the Editor

Alison Broinowski et al.
Published in May 2014 no. 361
A banality of bones

Dear Editor,

Having stood in line for nearly two hours to visit the catacombs in Paris recently, I appreciate the pent-up anticipation Christine Piper felt on her visit to Tokyo, which she describes in her Calibre Prize-winning essay, ‘Unearthing the Past’ (April 2014). What the visitor sees at Denfert-Rochereau, however, is quite different. Underground caverns are filled with many thousands of skulls and bones, hundreds of years old, respectfully brought there from overcrowded Paris cemeteries, and neatly stacked in ornamental patterns. Shocking to visitors at first, the eeriness soon wears off, overcome by weight of numbers: it is a banality of bones.  

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Published in May 2014 no. 361

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