Erecting a statue of someone to honor their memory and ensure their immortality seems a little dated in the digital age. But history buffs and travel-junkies still go thousands of miles to see monuments to their favorite authors, artists, and historical figures, so there must be something elementally compelling about it. Maybe it’s just us, but we think there’s something satisfying about a life-size (or larger than life) statue of a beloved figure, able to be touched and taking up space in the world. To that end, we’ve collected a series of statues of some of our favorite authors, from the surreal (Kafka) to the cheeky (Hemingway) to the monumentally brooding (Tolstoy). Of course, if you’re famous enough to have one statue erected in your honor, you’re probably famous enough to have more than one, so of course some of these sculptures are only one in a series of renditions (we’re looking at you, Shakespeare), but they happen to be our favorites. Click through to catch a glimpse of some famous authors in the bronze, and let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorite literary sculptures in the comments!
Franz Kafka, astride a headless man, Prague. Sculpture by the Czech sculptor, Jaroslav Róna, 2004.
Honoré de Balzac, nude and looking rather pleased with himself, Paris. Sculpture by Auguste Rodin, 1892.
Ernest Hemingway, chilling at the bar in El Floridita, Havana. Sculpture by Cuban artist José Villa Soberón, 2003.
Edgar Allan Poe looking rather uncomfortable in his seat, Baltimore. Sculpted by Moses Ezekiel in 1916 and erected in 1921.
Mark Twain interrupted from his reading, Utah. Sculpture by Gary Lee Price.
William Shakespeare, acting casual, Westminster. Sculpture by Giovanni Fontana, 1874.
Oscar Wilde taking it way easy, Dublin. Sculpture by Danny Osborne, 1997.
Vladimir Nabokov looking inexplicably grumpy in knickerbockers, Montreux, Switzerland.
Anne Frank straight and tall, Amsterdam. Sculpture by Mari Andriessen. Photo by Stephane D’Alu.
Dylan Thomas wondering what that noise was, Swansea, Wales.
George Eliot in some kind of curtsy, Nuneaton, Wawickshire. Sculpture by John Letts, 1986.
Leo Tolstoy brooding, Moscow.
Hans Christian Andersen with a duck, New York. Sculpture by Georg J. Lober, 1956.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gazing at the view, Crowborough, East Sussex. Sculpture by David Cornell, 2001.
Victor Hugo walking against the wind, Guernsey. Sculpture by Jean Boucher, 1913.
Frederick Douglass and Susan B Anthony having tea, Rochester. Sculpture by Pepsy Kettavong, 2001.
James Joyce (known to inhabitants as ‘The Prick with the Stick’) looking pretty jaunty, Dublin.
F. Scott Fitzgerald fine and proper, St. Paul, MN.
Gustave Flaubert rocking white on white, Calvados, France.
Sun Tzu about to win a battle, Yurihama, Tottori, Japan.