Harry Mount

Esprit de Corpse

How to Read a Graveyard: Journeys in the Company of the Dead


Bloomsbury 263pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

For all the agony of grief, it usually has a time limit. As Peter Stanford reveals in this original, engaging book of the dead, graves are visited for an average of only 15 years before falling into neglect.

Stanford noticed this as he took his dog for walks in the cemetery next to his London home. He noticed, too, how little other people used the graveyard for walks, presumably because of an innate fear of death.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Picturesque scenery, hard work in uncomfortable surroundings, eccentric locals, the yearly round: all the ingredie… ,
    • Tarantino's latest film is 'a fairy tale about Hollywood, where fantasy is an industrial product and the boulevards… ,
    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,