The remains of famous French poet Arthur Rimbaud will not be moved to the Pantheon mausoleum despite a campaign to honor him as an artist and a symbol of gay rights, French President Emmanuel Macron has decided.
A petition last year supported by a number of celebrities as well as the Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot, called for the reinterpretation of Rimbaud alongside his lover and poet Paul Verlaine at the monument in central Paris.
In a letter sent to Rimbaud’s descendants and seen by AFP, Macron said he would respect their wish that the poet’s remains remain in his hometown of Charleville-Mézières, in eastern France, where he has was buried in 1891.
“I don’t want to go against the wishes of the family of the deceased. Arthur Rimbaud’s remains will not be moved, ”Macron wrote to the family’s lawyer.
The Pantheon is a commemorative complex for the great national figures of French history from the political, cultural and scientific world. Other notable literary figures who rest there include Voltaire, Rousseau, Dumas, Hugo and Malraux.
Only the president can decide to move the remains to the old church, whose large columns and domed roof were inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.
Macron used that authority in 2018 to give Simone Veil, a former French minister who survived the Holocaust, the honor of one last rest at the monument.
Rimbaud and Verlaine are celebrated for their innovative poetry but also rose to fame for their tumultuous relationship marked by sex, drugs and problems with the law.
Rimbaud, author of classics such as The Drunken Boat and A Season in Hell, adopted drugs and alcohol as stimuli for his prose and his explorations of human consciousness.