Admittedly this is a rather depressing subject for a blog post, but it is an interesting one. Here are 8 famous authors who committed suicide:
(November 9th 1928 – October 4th 1974)
Anne Sexton was a Pulitzer Prize winning American poet. Themes in her confessional style verse included her mental instability and depression. On October 4th 1974 the 45 year-old poet put on her mother’s old fur coat, poured herself a glass of vodka, locked herself in her garage, started the engine of her car and died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Hunter S. Thompson
(July 18th 1937 – February 20th 2005)
The father of Gonzo journalism was an iconic figure in the counter-culture. Hunter S. Thompson suffered from health problems in later life, culminating in him shooting himself in the head aged 67. His ashes were fired out of a cannon in a ceremony funded by friend and star of the movie adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Johnny Depp.
Click here to read my review of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
(January 14th 1925 – November 25th 1970)
Yukio Mishima is widely considered to be Japan’s greatest ever author. On November 25th 1968 Mishima and 4 members of his private militia barricaded themselves in the Tokyo headquarters of the Eastern Command of Japan’s self-defence forces. Having delivered a speech from the balcony to the soldiers below, Mishima committed Seppuku, a Japanese ritual suicide consisting of disembowelment followed by beheading.
(July 21st 1899 – July 2nd 1961)
Ernest Hemingway is today remembered as a pillar of American literature. His accolades include winning The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1953) and The Nobel Prize in Literature (1954). In the early morning hours of July 2nd 1961, following a period of deteriorating health and depression, Hemingway shot himself in the head with his favourite shotgun.
Click here to read my review of The Old Man and the Sea
(October 25th 1914 – January 7th 1972)
John Berryman was an American poet, scholar, and a key figure in the Confessional school of poetry. The poet was a heavy drinker for much of his life. He also suffered from periods of emotional instability. On January 7th 1972 Berryman met his demise when he plunged to his death from a bridge in Minneapolis.
(January 25th 1882 – March 28th 1941)
Novelist and critic Virginia Woolf was an influential interwar writer and one of the foremost modernists of the 20th Century. Shortly after finishing the manuscript of her last novel, Between the Acts, Woolf entered a deep depression. On the 28th March 1941 the author put on her overcoat, filled her pockets with stones and walked out into the River Ouse near her home in Sussex.
(March 1st 1892 – July 24th 1927)
Akutagawa was a Japanese writer, who is considered to be the father of the Japanese short story. Japan’s premier literary award, the Akutagawa Prize, is named after him. The author suffered from deteriorating physical and mental health, and at the age 35 he committed suicide by taking an overdose of Veronal.
(October 27th 1932 – February 11th 1963)
Sylvia Plath was well known for her poetry during her short-life. Examples of her early success included winning The Glascock Prize for poetry in 1955. Plath, who had a history of depression, committed suicide in 1963, by poisoning herself with carbon monoxide in her own kitchen. She went on to achieve posthumous fame.
Click here to read my review of The Bell Jar