Terence MacSwiney (1879-1920)

Death: 25th October 1920
Location: St. Finbarr's Cemetery, Cork, County Cork, Ireland
Cause of death: Hunger Strike

Irish playwright, author and politician. He was elected as Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork during the Irish War of Independence in 1920. He was arrested by the British for possession of seditious articles and documents. He was summarily tried by court martial on 16 August and sentenced to two years' imprisonment in Brixton Prison. In prison he immediately started a hunger strike in protest at his internment and the fact that he was tried by a military court; his hunger strike brought him and the Irish struggle to international attention. Attempts at force-feeding MacSwiney were undertaken in the final days of his strike. On 20 October 1920, he fell into a coma and died five days later after 74 days on hunger strike.
MacSwiney was described as a sensitive poet-intellectual. In 1901 he helped to found the Celtic Literary Society, and in 1908 he helped to found the Cork Dramatic Society and wrote a number of plays for them. His first play The Last Warriors of Coole was produced in 1910. His fifth play The Revolutionist (1915) took the political stand made by a single man as its theme. 
A collection of his writings, entitled Principles of Freedom, was published posthumously in 1921. It was based upon articles MacSwiney contributed to Irish Freedom during 1911–1912. MacSwiney's life and work had a particular impact in India. Jawaharlal Nehru took inspiration from MacSwiney's example and writings, and Mahatma Gandhi counted him among his influences.

Théophile Gautier (1811–1872)

Death: 23rd October 1872
Location: Cimetière de Montmartre, Paris, Île-de-France, France
Cause of death: Cardiac disease.
Photo taken by: Moonik

Buy books by Théophile Gautier

French poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist and literary critic who was held in high esteem by Balzac, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Proust and Oscar Wilde.


János Arany (1817-1882)

Death: 22nd October 1882
Location: Kerepesi temető / Kerepesi Cemetery, Budapest, Central Hungary, Hungary
Photo taken by: Dr Varga József

Hungarian journalist, poet and translator who is often refered to as the ‘Shakespeare of ballads’. He wrote over 40 ballads which have been translated into over 50 languages. His best known work is the epic poem The Toldi Trilogy which was inspired by the legendary Miklós Toldi, who served in the army of Hungarian King Louis the Great in the 14th century.

Alan Coren (1938-2007)

Death: 18th October 2007
Location: Hampstead Cemetery, West Hampstead, London, England
Cause of death:  Cancer


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English humorist, satirist, broadcaster and journalist. Coren published about twenty books during his life, many of which were collections of his newspaper columns. He also wrote the Arthur series of children’s books.

Florence Kate Upton (1873–1922)

Death: 16th October 1922
Location: Hampstead Cemetery, Hampstead, London, England
Cause of death: Complications following surgery.

American-born English cartoonist and children’s author most famous for her Golliwogg series of children's stories. Her first book The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg was published in 1895. In total thirteen Golliwogg adventures were published, the last in 1909.
Florence did not patent the character and many toy companies took advantage of the popularity of the books and manufactured the doll, while other writers and illustrators took equal advantage, many changing the nature of the series. Enid Blyton chose to depict golliwogs in a number of her stories as rude and untrustworthy or stupid. The name "golliwog" came to be used as a degrading term for anyone who wasn't white-skinned. Florence Upton despaired, ‘I am frightened when I read the fearsome etymology some deep, dark minds can see in his name.’