When a 21 year-old journalist working for an anti-Bonapartist political publication was assassinated by the impulsive cousin of Emperor Napoléon III in 1870 after an altercation, it created an uproar and a cult following for the young Yvan Salmon. Salmon, who wrote under the pen name of Victor Noir, became a tragic symbol of the opposition to the Empire. In 1891 the sculptor Jules Dalou created this effigy, which has since become one of the most visited tombs, as well as the most fondled, at the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris. For decades sterile, superstitious women have rubbed it, especially its masculine parts, with the hope it would make them fecund. The local tradition is to leave a flower on the tomb if later their wish come true.
un gisant: a recumbent effigy
brunir: to burnish; to brown
le brunissage: burnishing
une sépulture: a sepulture, a grave
©2012 P.B. Lecron