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Poets Book of Days

September 26

George Santayana died, 1952

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Question:

What medical condition allowed Percy Bysshe Shelley's heart, upon its failing to catch fire, to be grabbed from the funeral pyre, given to Mary Shelley, and eventually buried 67 years later with their son?

Answer ->

According to a 1955 article by Arthur Norman in the Journal of Historical Medicine, Shelley may have suffered from a progressively calcifying heart, which would have kept it from burning with the rest of his remains.

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