Robert Graves

Robert von Ranke Graves (24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985), known as Robert Graves,[1] was a British poet, historical novelist, critic, and classicist. His father was Alfred Perceval Graves, a celebrated Irish poet and figure in the Gaelic revival; they were both Celticists and students of Irish mythology. Graves produced more than 140 works. Graves's poems—together with his translations and innovative analysis and interpretations of the Greek myths; his memoir of his early life, including his role in World War I, Good-Bye to All That; and his speculative study of poetic inspiration, The White Goddess—have never been out of print.[2]

He earned his living from writing, particularly popular historical novels such as I, Claudius, King Jesus, The Golden Fleece and Count Belisarius. He also was a prominent translator of Classical Latin and Ancient Greek texts; his versions of The Twelve Caesars and The Golden Ass remain popular for their clarity and entertaining style. Graves was awarded the 1934 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for both I, Claudius and Claudius the God.[3]

Robert Graves
Graves in 1920
Graves in 1920
Born24 July 1895
Wimbledon, Surrey, England
Died7 December 1985 (aged 90)
Deià, Majorca, Spain
OccupationNovelist, poet, soldier
NationalityBritish
Alma materSt John's College, Oxford
Children8
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1914–1919
RankCaptain
UnitRoyal Welch Fusiliers
Battles/warsFirst World War

Early life

Graves was born into a middle-class family in Wimbledon, then part of Surrey, now part of south London. He was the third of five children born to Alfred Perceval Graves (1846–1931), who was the sixth child and second son of Charles Graves, Bishop of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe. [4] His father was an Irish school inspector, Gaelic scholar and the author of the popular song "Father O'Flynn", and his second wife, Amalie Elisabeth Sophie von Ranke (1857–1951), the niece of the historian Leopold von Ranke.

At the age of seven, double pneumonia following measles almost took Graves's life, the first of three occasions when he was despaired of by his doctors as a result of afflictions of the lungs, the second being the result of a war wound (see below) and the third when he contracted Spanish influenza in late 1918, immediately before demobilisation.[5] At school, Graves was enrolled as Robert von Ranke Graves, and in Germany his books are published under that name, but before and during the First World War the name caused him difficulties.

In August 1916 an officer who disliked him spread the rumour that he was the brother of a captured German spy who had assumed the name "Carl Graves".[6] The problem resurfaced in a minor way in the Second World War, when a suspicious rural policeman blocked his appointment to the Special Constabulary.[7] Graves's eldest half-brother, Philip Perceval Graves, achieved note as a journalist and his younger brother, Charles Patrick Graves, was a writer and journalist.[8]

Education

Graves received his early education at a series of six preparatory schools, including King's College School in Wimbledon, Penrallt in Wales, Hillbrow School in Rugby, Rokeby School in Kingston upon Thames and Copthorne in Sussex, from which last in 1909 he won a scholarship to Charterhouse.[9] There, in response to persecution because of the German element in his name, his outspokenness, his scholarly and moral seriousness, and his poverty relative to the other boys, he feigned madness, began to write poetry, and took up boxing, in due course becoming school champion at both welter- and middleweight.[10] He also sang in the choir, meeting there an aristocratic boy three years younger, G. H. "Peter" Johnstone, with whom he began an intense romantic friendship, the scandal of which led ultimately to an interview with the headmaster.[11] However, Graves himself called it "chaste and sentimental" and "proto-homosexual," and though he was clearly in love with "Peter" (disguised by the name "Dick" in 'Goodbye to All That'), their relationship was not sexual.[12] Among the masters his chief influence was George Mallory, who introduced him to contemporary literature and took him mountaineering in vacations.[13][14] In his final year at Charterhouse, he won a classical exhibition to St John's College, Oxford but did not take his place there until after the war.[15]

First World War

At the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Graves enlisted almost immediately, taking a commission in the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers as a second lieutenant (on probation) on 12 August.[16] He was confirmed in his rank on 10 March 1915,[17] and received rapid promotion, being promoted to lieutenant on 5 May 1915 and to captain on 26 October.[18][19] He published his first volume of poems, Over the Brazier, in 1916. He developed an early reputation as a war poet and was one of the first to write realistic poems about the experience of frontline conflict. In later years, he omitted his war poems from his collections, on the grounds that they were too obviously "part of the war poetry boom." At the Battle of the Somme, he was so badly wounded by a shell-fragment through the lung that he was expected to die and was officially reported as having died of wounds.[20] He gradually recovered and, apart from a brief spell back in France, spent the remainder of the war in England.[21]

One of Graves's friends at this time was the poet Siegfried Sassoon, a fellow officer in his regiment. They both convalesced at Somerville College, Oxford, which was used as a hospital for officers. How unlike you to crib my idea of going to the Ladies' College at Oxford, Sassoon wrote to him in 1917. At Somerville College, Graves met his first love, a nurse and professional pianist called Marjorie. About his time at Somerville, he wrote: I enjoyed my stay at Somerville. The sun shone, and the discipline was easy.

In 1917, Sassoon rebelled against the conduct of the war by making a public antiwar statement. Graves feared Sassoon could face a court martial and intervened with the military authorities, persuading them that Sassoon was suffering from shell shock and that they should treat him accordingly.[22] As a result, Sassoon was sent to Craiglockhart, a military hospital in Edinburgh, where he was treated by Dr. W. H. R. Rivers and met fellow patient Wilfred Owen.[23] Graves was treated here as well. Graves also suffered from shell shock, or neurasthenia as it was then called, but he was never hospitalised for it:

I thought of going back to France, but realized the absurdity of the notion. Since 1916, the fear of gas obsessed me: any unusual smell, even a sudden strong scent of flowers in a garden, was enough to send me trembling. And I couldn't face the sound of heavy shelling now; the noise of a car back-firing would send me flat on my face, or running for cover.[24]

The friendship between Graves and Sassoon is documented in Graves's letters and biographies; the story is fictionalised in Pat Barker's novel Regeneration. Barker also addresses Graves's experiences with homosexuality in his youth; at the end of the novel Graves asserts that his "affections have been running in more normal channels" [25] after a friend was accused of "soliciting" with another man. The intensity of their early relationship is demonstrated in Graves's collection, Fairies and Fusiliers (1917), which contains many poems celebrating their friendship. Sassoon remarked upon a "heavy sexual element" within it, an observation supported by the sentimental nature of much of the surviving correspondence between the two men. Through Sassoon, Graves became a friend of Wilfred Owen, "who often used to send me poems from France."[26]

In September 1917, Graves was seconded for duty with a garrison battalion.[27] Graves's army career ended dramatically with an incident which could have led to a charge of desertion. Having been posted to Limerick in late 1918, he "woke up with a sudden chill, which I recognized as the first symptoms of Spanish influenza." "I decided to make a run for it," he wrote, "I should at least have my influenza in an English, and not an Irish, hospital." Arriving at Waterloo with a high fever but without the official papers that would secure his release from the army, he chanced to share a taxi with a demobilisation officer also returning from Ireland, who completed his papers for him with the necessary secret codes.[28]

Postwar

Robert Graves home in Deià
The home of Robert Graves in Deià, Majorca

Immediately after the war, Graves had a wife, Nancy Nicholson, and a growing family but was financially insecure and weakened physically and mentally:

Very thin, very nervous and with about four years' loss of sleep to make up, I was waiting until I got well enough to go to Oxford on the Government educational grant. I knew that it would be years before I could face anything but a quiet country life. My disabilities were many: I could not use a telephone, I felt sick every time I travelled by train, and to see more than two new people in a single day prevented me from sleeping. I felt ashamed of myself as a drag on Nancy, but had sworn on the very day of my demobilization never to be under anyone's orders for the rest of my life. Somehow I must live by writing.[29]

In October 1919, he took up his place at the University of Oxford, soon changing course to English Language and Literature, though managing to retain his Classics exhibition. In consideration of his health, he was permitted to live a little outside Oxford, on Boars Hill, where the residents included Robert Bridges, John Masefield (his landlord), Edmund Blunden, Gilbert Murray and Robert Nichols.[30] Later, the family moved to Worlds End Cottage on Collice Street, Islip, Oxfordshire.[31] His most notable Oxford companion was T. E. Lawrence, then a Fellow of All Souls', with whom he discussed contemporary poetry and shared in the planning of elaborate pranks.[32] By this time, he had become an atheist.[33]

While still an undergraduate he established a grocers shop on the outskirts of Oxford but the business soon failed. He also failed his B.A. degree but was exceptionally permitted to take a B.Litt. by dissertation instead, allowing him to pursue a teaching career. In 1926, he took up a post as a Professor of English Literature at Cairo University, accompanied by his wife, their children and the poet Laura Riding. One of his pupils he reported to include the young Gamal Abdel Nasser.[34] He returned to London briefly, where he split up with his wife under highly emotional circumstances (at one point Riding attempted suicide) before leaving to live with Riding in Deià, Majorca. There they continued to publish letterpress books under the rubric of the Seizin Press, founded and edited the literary journal, Epilogue and wrote two successful academic books together: A Survey of Modernist Poetry (1927) and A Pamphlet Against Anthologies (1928); both had great influence on modern literary criticism, particularly New Criticism.[35]

Literary career

In 1927, he published Lawrence and the Arabs, a commercially successful biography of T. E. Lawrence. The autobiographical Good-bye to All That (1929, revised by him and republished in 1957) proved a success but cost him many of his friends, notably Siegfried Sassoon. In 1934 he published his most commercially successful work, I, Claudius. Using classical sources (under the advice of classics scholar Eirlys Roberts)[36] he constructed a complex and compelling tale of the life of the Roman emperor Claudius, a tale extended in the sequel Claudius the God (1935). The Claudius books were turned into the very popular television series I, Claudius shown in both Britain and United States in the 1970s. Another historical novel by Graves, Count Belisarius (1938), recounts the career of the Byzantine general Belisarius.

Graves and Riding left Majorca in 1936 at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and in 1939, they moved to the United States, taking lodging in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Their volatile relationship and eventual breakup was described by Robert's nephew Richard Perceval Graves in Robert Graves: 1927–1940: the Years with Laura, and T. S. Matthews's Jacks or Better (1977). It was also the basis for Miranda Seymour's novel The Summer of '39 (1998).

After returning to Britain, Graves began a relationship with Beryl Hodge, the wife of Alan Hodge, his collaborator on The Long Week-End (1941) and The Reader Over Your Shoulder (1943; republished in 1947 as The Use and Abuse of the English Language but subsequently republished several times under its original title). In 1946, he and Beryl (they were not to marry until 1950) re-established a home with their three children, in Deià, Majorca. The house is now a museum. The year 1946 also saw the publication of his historical novel, King Jesus. He published The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth in 1948; it is a study of the nature of poetic inspiration, interpreted in terms of the classical and Celtic mythology he knew so well.[37] He turned to science fiction with Seven Days in New Crete (1949) and in 1953 he published The Nazarene Gospel Restored with Joshua Podro. He also wrote Hercules, My Shipmate, published under that name in 1945 (but first published as The Golden Fleece in 1944).

In 1955, he published The Greek Myths, which retells a large body of Greek myths, each tale followed by extensive commentary drawn from the system of The White Goddess. His retellings are well respected; many of his unconventional interpretations and etymologies are dismissed by classicists.[38] Graves in turn dismissed the reactions of classical scholars, arguing that they are too specialized and "prose-minded" to interpret "ancient poetic meaning," and that "the few independent thinkers...[are]...the poets, who try to keep civilisation alive."[39]

He published a volume of short stories, Catacrok! Mostly Stories, Mostly Funny, in 1956. In 1961 he became Professor of Poetry at Oxford, a post he held until 1966.

In 1967, Robert Graves published, together with Omar Ali-Shah, a new translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.[40][41] The translation quickly became controversial; Graves was attacked for trying to break the spell of famed passages in Edward FitzGerald's Victorian translation, and L.P. Elwell-Sutton, an orientalist at Edinburgh University, maintained that the manuscript used by Ali-Shah and Graves, which Ali-Shah and his brother Idries Shah claimed had been in their family for 800 years, was a forgery.[41] The translation was a critical disaster and Graves's reputation suffered severely due to what the public perceived as his gullibility in falling for the Shah brothers' deception.[41][42]

From the 1960s until his death, Robert Graves frequently exchanged letters with Spike Milligan. Many of their letters to each other are collected in the book, Dear Robert, Dear Spike.[43]

On 11 November 1985, Graves was among sixteen Great War poets commemorated on a slate stone unveiled in Westminster Abbey's Poet's Corner.[44] The inscription on the stone was written by friend and fellow Great War poet Wilfred Owen. It reads: "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity."[45] Of the 16 poets, Graves was the only one still living at the time of the commemoration ceremony.

UK government documents released in 2012 indicate that Graves turned down a CBE in 1957.[46] In 2012 the Nobel Records were opened after 50 years, and it was revealed that Graves was among a shortlist of authors considered for the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, along with John Steinbeck (winner), Lawrence Durrell, Jean Anouilh and Karen Blixen.[47] Graves was rejected because even though he had written several historical novels he was still primarily seen as a poet, and committee member Henry Olsson was reluctant to award any Anglo-Saxon poet the prize before the death of Ezra Pound, believing that other writers did not match his talent.[47]

In 2017 Seven Stories Press began its Robert Graves Project. Fourteen of Graves's out of print books will be republished over the next three years.[48] The Reader Over Your Shoulder was the first adult title in Graves's oeuvre, published 9 January 2018. Ann at Highwood Hall, a children's book, was published in July 2017.

Death

Rgravesgrave
Grave of Robert Graves

During the early 1970s Graves began to suffer from increasingly severe memory loss. By his 80th birthday in 1975, he had come to the end of his working life. He lived for another decade, in an increasingly dependent condition, until he died from heart failure on 7 December 1985 at the age of 90 years. His body was buried the next morning in the small churchyard on a hill at Deià, at the site of a shrine that had once been sacred to the White Goddess of Pelion.[8] His second wife, Beryl Graves, died on 27 October 2003 and her body was interred in the same grave.[49]

Memorials

Three of his former houses have a blue plaque on them: in Wimbledon, Brixham, and Islip.[50][51][52]

Children

Robert Graves had eight children. With his first wife Nancy Nicholson he had Jennie (who married journalist Alexander Clifford), David (who was killed in the Second World War), Catherine (who married nuclear scientist Clifford Dalton at Aldershot), and Sam. With his second wife, Beryl Pritchard (1915–2003), he had William, Lucia (also a translator), Juan, and Tomás (a writer and musician).[53]

Bibliography

Poetry collections

  • Country Sentiment, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1920
  • Over the Brazier. London: William Heinemann, 1923; New York: Alfred. A. Knopf, 1923.
  • The Feather Bed. Richmond, Surrey: Hogarth Press, 1923.
  • Mock Beggar Hall. London: Hogarth Press, 1924.
  • Welchmans Hose. London: The Fleuron, 1925.
  • Poems. London: Ernest Benn, 1925.
  • The Marmosites Miscellany (as John Doyle). London: Hogarth Press, 1925.
  • Poems (1914–1926). London: William Heinemann, 1927; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1929.
  • Poems (1914–1927). London: William Heinemann
  • To Whom Else? Deyá, Majorca: Seizin Press, 1931.
  • Poems 1930–1933. London: Arthur Barker, 1933.
  • Collected Poems. London: Cassell, 1938; New York: Random House, 1938.
  • No More Ghosts: Selected Poems. London: Faber & Faber, 1940.
  • Work in Hand, with Norman Cameron and Alan Hodge. London: Hogarth Press, 1942.
  • Poems. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1943.
  • Poems 1938–1945. London: Cassell, 1945; New York: Creative Age Press, 1946.
  • Collected Poems (1914–1947). London: Cassell, 1948.
  • Poems and Satires. London: Cassell, 1951.
  • Poems 1953. London: Cassell, 1953.
  • Collected Poems 1955. New York: Doubleday, 1955.
  • Poems Selected by Himself. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1957; rev. 1961, 1966, 1972, 1978.
  • The Poems of Robert Graves. New York: Doubleday, 1958.
  • Collected Poems 1959. London: Cassell, 1959.
  • The Penny Fiddle: Poems for Children. London: Cassell, 1960; New York: Doubleday, 1961.
  • More Poems 1961. London: Cassell, 1961.
  • Collected Poems. New York: Doubleday, 1961.
  • New Poems 1962. London: Cassell, 1962; as New Poems. New York: Doubleday, 1963.
  • The More Deserving Cases: Eighteen Old Poems for Reconsideration. Marlborough College Press, 1962.
  • Man Does, Woman Is. London: Cassell, 1964/New York:Doubleday, 1964.
  • Ann at Highwood Hall: Poems for Children. London: Cassell, 1964; New York: Triangle Square, 2017.
  • Love Respelt. London: Cassell, 1965/New York: Doubleday, 1966.
  • One Hard Look, 1965
  • Collected Poems, 1965. London: Cassell, 1965.
  • Seventeen Poems Missing from "Love Respelt". privately printed, 1966.
  • Colophon to "Love Respelt". Privately printed, 1967.
  • Poems 1965–1968. London: Cassell, 1968; New York: Doubleday, 1969.
  • Poems About Love. London: Cassell, 1969; New York: Doubleday, 1969.
  • Love Respelt Again. New York: Doubleday, 1969.
  • Beyond Giving. privately printed, 1969.
  • Poems 1968–1970. London: Cassell, 1970; New York: Doubleday, 1971.
  • The Green-Sailed Vessel. privately printed, 1971.
  • Poems: Abridged for Dolls and Princes. London: Cassell, 1971.
  • Poems 1970–1972. London: Cassell, 1972; New York: Doubleday, 1973.
  • Deyá, A Portfolio. London: Motif Editions, 1972.
  • Timeless Meeting: Poems. privately printed, 1973.
  • At the Gate. privately printed, London, 1974.
  • Collected Poems 1975. London: Cassell, 1975.
  • New Collected Poems. New York: Doubleday, 1977.
  • Selected Poems, ed. Paul O'Prey. London: Penguin, 1986
  • The Centenary Selected Poems, ed. Patrick Quinn. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1995.
  • Complete Poems Volume 1, ed. Beryl Graves and Dunstan Ward. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1995.
  • Complete Poems Volume 2, ed. Beryl Graves and Dunstan Ward. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1996.
  • Complete Poems Volume 3, ed. Beryl Graves and Dunstan Ward. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1999.
  • The Complete Poems in One Volume, ed. Beryl Graves and Dunstan Ward. Manchester: Penguin Books, 2004.
  • Selected Poems, ed. Michael Longley. Faber & Faber, 2012.

Fiction

  • My Head! My Head!. London: Secker, 1925; Alfred. A. Knopf, New York, 1925.
  • The Shout. London: Mathews & Marrot, 1929.
  • No Decency Left. (with Laura Riding) (as Barbara Rich). London: Jonathan Cape, 1932.
  • The Real David Copperfield. London: Arthur Barker, 1933; as David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens, Condensed by Robert Graves, ed. M. P. Paine. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1934.
  • I, Claudius. London: Arthur Barker, 1934; New York: Smith & Haas, 1934.
  • Antigua, Penny, Puce. Deyá, Majorca/London: Seizin Press/Constable, 1936; New York: Random House, 1937.
  • Count Belisarius. London: Cassell, 1938: Random House, New York, 1938.
  • Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth. London: Methuen, 1940; as Sergeant Lamb's America. New York: Random House, 1940.
  • The Story of Marie Powell: Wife to Mr. Milton. London: Cassell, 1943; as Wife to Mr Milton: The Story of Marie Powell. New York: Creative Age Press, 1944.
  • The Golden Fleece. London: Cassell, 1944; as Hercules, My Shipmate, New York: Creative Age Press, 1945; New York: Seven Stories Press, 2017.
  • King Jesus. New York: Creative Age Press, 1946; London: Cassell, 1946.
  • Watch the North Wind Rise. New York: Creative Age Press, 1949; as Seven Days in New Crete. London: Cassell, 1949.
  • The Islands of Unwisdom. New York: Doubleday, 1949; as The Isles of Unwisdom. London: Cassell, 1950.
  • Homer's Daughter. London: Cassell, 1955; New York: Doubleday, 1955; New York: Seven Stories Press, 2017.
  • Catacrok! Mostly Stories, Mostly Funny. London: Cassell, 1956.
  • They Hanged My Saintly Billy. London: Cassell, 1957; New York: Doubleday, 1957; New York, Seven Stories Press, 2017.
  • Collected Short Stories. Doubleday: New York, 1964; Cassell, London, 1965.
  • An Ancient Castle. London: Peter Owen, 1980.

Other works

  • On English Poetry. New York: Alfred. A. Knopf, 1922; London: Heinemann, 1922.
  • The Meaning of Dreams. London: Cecil Palmer, 1924; New York: Greenberg, 1925.
  • Poetic Unreason and Other Studies. London: Cecil Palmer, 1925.
  • Contemporary Techniques of Poetry: A Political Analogy. London: Hogarth Press, 1925.
  • Another Future of Poetry. London: Hogarth Press, 1926.
  • Impenetrability or the Proper Habit of English. London: Hogarth Press, 1927.
  • The English Ballad: A Short Critical Survey. London: Ernest Benn, 1927; revised as English and Scottish Ballads. London: William Heinemann, 1957; New York: Macmillan, 1957.
  • Lars Porsena or the Future of Swearing and Improper Language. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1927; E. P. Dutton, New York, 1927; revised as The Future of Swearing and Improper Language. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1936.
  • A Survey of Modernist Poetry (with Laura Riding). London: William Heinemann, 1927; New York: Doubleday, 1928.
  • Lawrence and the Arabs. London: Jonathan Cape, 1927; as Lawrence and the Arabian Adventure. New York: Doubleday, 1928.
  • A Pamphlet Against Anthologies (with Laura Riding). London: Jonathan Cape, 1928; as Against Anthologies. New York: Doubleday, 1928.
  • Mrs. Fisher or the Future of Humour. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1928.
  • Good-bye to All That: An Autobiography. London: Jonathan Cape, 1929; New York: Jonathan Cape and Smith, 1930; rev., New York: Doubleday, 1957; London: Cassell, 1957; Penguin: Harmondsworth, 1960.
  • But It Still Goes On: An Accumulation. London: Jonathan Cape, 1930; New York: Jonathan Cape and Smith, 1931.
  • T. E. Lawrence to His Biographer Robert Graves. New York: Doubleday, 1938; London: Faber & Faber, 1939.
  • The Long Weekend (with Alan Hodge). London: Faber & Faber, 1940; New York: Macmillan, 1941.
  • The Reader Over Your Shoulder (with Alan Hodge). London: Jonathan Cape, 1943; New York: Macmillan, 1943; New York, Seven Stories Press, 2017.
  • The White Goddess. London: Faber & Faber, 1948; New York: Creative Age Press, 1948; rev., London: Faber & Faber, 1952, 1961; New York: Alfred. A. Knopf, 1958.
  • The Common Asphodel: Collected Essays on Poetry 1922–1949. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1949.
  • Occupation: Writer. New York: Creative Age Press, 1950; London: Cassell, 1951.
  • The Golden Ass of Apuleius, New York: Farrar, Straus, 1951.
  • The Nazarene Gospel Restored (with Joshua Podro). London: Cassell, 1953; New York: Doubleday, 1954.
  • The Greek Myths. London: Penguin, 1955; Baltimore: Penguin, 1955.
  • The Crowning Privilege: The Clark Lectures, 1954–1955. London: Cassell, 1955; New York: Doubleday, 1956.
  • Adam's Rib. London: Trianon Press, 1955; New York: Yoseloff, 1958.
  • Jesus in Rome (with Joshua Podro). London: Cassell, 1957.
  • Steps. London: Cassell, 1958.
  • 5 Pens in Hand. New York: Doubleday, 1958.
  • The Anger of Achilles. New York: Doubleday, 1959.
  • Food for Centaurs. New York: Doubleday, 1960.
  • Greek Gods and Heroes. New York: Doubleday, 1960; as Myths of Ancient Greece. London: Cassell, 1961.
  • Selected Poetry and Prose (ed. James Reeves). London: Hutchinson, 1961.
  • Oxford Addresses on Poetry. London: Cassell, 1962; New York: Doubleday, 1962.
  • The Siege and Fall of Troy. London: Cassell, 1962; New York: Doubleday, 1963; New York, Seven Stories Press, 2017.
  • The Big Green Book. New York: Crowell Collier, 1962; Penguin: Harmondsworth, 1978. Illustrated by Maurice Sendak
  • Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis (with Raphael Patai). New York: Doubleday, 1964; London: Cassell, 1964.
  • Majorca Observed. London: Cassell, 1965; New York: Doubleday, 1965.
  • Mammon and the Black Goddess. London: Cassell, 1965; New York: Doubleday, 1965.
  • Two Wise Children. New York: Harlin Quist, 1966; London: Harlin Quist, 1967.
  • The Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam (with Omar Ali-Shah). London: Cassell, 1967.
  • Poetic Craft and Principle. London: Cassell, 1967.
  • The Poor Boy Who Followed His Star. London: Cassell, 1968; New York: Doubleday, 1969.
  • Greek Myths and Legends. London: Cassell, 1968.
  • The Crane Bag. London: Cassell, 1969.
  • On Poetry: Collected Talks and Essays. New York: Doubleday, 1969.
  • Difficult Questions, Easy Answers. London: Cassell, 1972; New York: Doubleday, 1973.
  • In Broken Images: Selected Letters 1914–1946, ed. Paul O'Prey. London: Hutchinson, 1982
  • Between Moon and Moon: Selected Letters 1946–1972, ed. Paul O'Prey. London: Hutchinson, 1984
  • Collected Writings on Poetry, ed. Paul O'Prey, Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1995.
  • Complete Short Stories, ed. Lucia Graves, Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1995.
  • Some Speculations on Literature, History, and Religion, ed. Patrick Quinn, Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2000.
  • 5 November address, X magazine, Volume One, Number Three, June 1960; An Anthology from X (Oxford University Press 1988).

See also

References

  1. ^ "National Portrait Gallery — Person — Robert Ranke Graves". Npg.org.uk. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  2. ^ [1] Review of The White Goddess — A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth outlining different editions
  3. ^ James Tait Black Prize winners: Previous winners – fiction Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Boylan, Henry (1998). A Dictionary of Irish Biography, 3rd Edition. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan. p. 152. ISBN 0-7171-2945-4.
  5. ^ Graves (1960) p. 234.
  6. ^ Graves (1960) p. 172.
  7. ^ Graves (1960) p. 281.
  8. ^ a b Richard Perceval Graves, "Graves, Robert von Ranke (1895–1985)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online ed., May 2010 — accessed 27 July 2010
  9. ^ Graves (1960) pp. 21–25.
  10. ^ Graves (1960) pp. 38–48.
  11. ^ Graves (1960) pp. 45–52.
  12. ^ Bremer, John (2012). C.S. Lewis, Poetry, and the Great War: 1914-1918. Lexington Books. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-7391-7152-3.
  13. ^ Graves (1960) p. 48.
  14. ^ Graves (1960) pp. 55–60.
  15. ^ Graves (1960) pp. 36–37.
  16. ^ "No. 29102". The London Gazette. 16 March 1915. p. 2640.
  17. ^ "No. 29094". The London Gazette. 9 March 1915. p. 2376.
  18. ^ "No. 29177". The London Gazette. 1 June 1915. p. 5213.
  19. ^ "No. 29372". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 November 1915. p. 11459.
  20. ^ Seymour (1995) p. 54.
  21. ^ Seymour (1995) pp. 58–60.
  22. ^ Graves (1960) pp. 214–16.
  23. ^ Graves (1960) pp. 216–17.
  24. ^ Graves (1960) pp. 219–20.
  25. ^ Barker, Pat, 1991. 'Regeneration' (Penguin, 2008) p.199
  26. ^ Graves (1960) p. 228.
  27. ^ "No. 30354". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 October 1917. p. 11096.
  28. ^ Graves (1960) pp. 231–33.
  29. ^ Graves (1960) p. 236.
  30. ^ Graves (1960) pp. 238-42.
  31. ^ India's prisoner: a biography of Edward John Thompson, 1886-1946
  32. ^ Graves (1960) pp. 242–47.
  33. ^ "In addition, between 1919 and 1924 Nancy gave birth to four children in under five years; while Graves (now an atheist like his wife) suffered from recurring bouts of shell-shock." Richard Perceval Graves, 'Graves, Robert von Ranke (1895–1985)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online edition, October 2006 [2] (accessed 1 May 2008).
  34. ^ Robert Graves (1998). Good-Bye to All That. New York: Doubleday. p.346.
  35. ^ Childs, Donald J (2014). The Birth of New Criticism: Conflict and Conciliation in the Early Work of William Empson, I.A. Richards, Robert Graves, and Laura Riding. McGill-Queen's University Press.
  36. ^ Obituary: Eirlys Roberts. The Scotsman. 9 April 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  37. ^ Seymour (1996) pp. 306-312
  38. ^ "[it] makes attractive reading and conveys much solid information, but should be approached with extreme caution nonetheless". (Robin Hard, H. J. Rose, The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology, p. 690. ISBN 0-415-18636-6.) See The Greek Myths
  39. ^ The White Goddess, Farrar Straus Giroux, p. 224. ISBN 0-374-50493-8
  40. ^ Graves, Robert, Ali-Shah, Omar: The Original Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam, ISBN 0-14-003408-0, ISBN 0-912358-38-6
  41. ^ a b c Stuffed Eagle, Time magazine, 31 May 1968
  42. ^ Graves, Richard Perceval (1995). Robert Graves And The White Goddess: The White Goddess, 1940–1985. London, UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 446–447, 468–472. ISBN 0-231-10966-0.
  43. ^ National Library of Australia NLA News June 2002 Volume XII, Number 9, retrieved 15 June 2007 National Library of Australia newsletter (June 2002)
  44. ^ "Poets". Net.lib.byu.edu. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  45. ^ BYU library archive
  46. ^ http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/sites/default/files/resources/document2012-01-24-075439.pdf
  47. ^ a b Alison Flood (3 January 2013). "Swedish Academy reopens controversy surrounding Steinbeck's Nobel prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  48. ^ O'Conner, Patricia T. (2018-01-04). "The Reader Over Your Shoulder". The Paris Review. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  49. ^ "Beryl Graves: Widow and editor of Robert Graves" The Independent 29 October 2003
  50. ^ "Robert Graves Blue Plaque". www.geograph.org.uk. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  51. ^ "Novelist and poet Robert Graves (July 24th 1895-Dec 7th 1985) lived here at Vale House 1940–1946. Vale House (circa 17th century) was originally a farmhouse". openplaques.org. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  52. ^ / Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board
  53. ^ "Obituary – Beryl Graves", The Guardian, 1 November 2003, retrieved 15 May 2007.The Guardian obituary for Beryl Graves

Sources

  • Graves, Robert (1960) Goodbye to All That, London: Penguin.
  • Seymour, Miranda (1995) Robert Graves, Life on the Edge, London: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-40860-9

External links

Works and archives

Articles and interviews

Count Belisarius

Count Belisarius is a historical novel by Robert Graves, first published in 1938, recounting the life of the Byzantine general Belisarius (AD 500–565).

Just as Graves's Claudius novels (I, Claudius and Claudius the God and his Wife Messalina) were based on The Twelve Caesars of Suetonius and other Roman sources, Count Belisarius is largely based on Procopius's History of Justinian's Wars and Secret History. However, Graves's treatment of his sources has been criticized by the historian Anthony Kaldellis, who writes that "There are many historical novels set in the early sixth century, but none can be recommended that are both historically accurate and well-written. R. Graves's Count Belisarius... is at least well-written."Count Belisarius purports to be a biography written by Eugenius, a eunuch who is a servant of Belisarius' wife Antonina. The novel covers the entire life of Belisarius, with the bulk of the text being devoted to accounts of his life while on campaign in North Africa and Italy. Antonina was often with him during these years, and Graves uses stories about her connections to the court of the Emperor Justinian and his Empress Theodora to incorporate political intrigue and other information into the story of Belisarius' military exploits.

Graves's treatment of Belisarius is mostly respectful: the general is, if anything, hampered by his rigid code of honour and loyalty to his Emperor. Other primary characters do not fare so well. Antonina and Theodora are presented as extremely intelligent and capable individuals who are nevertheless prone to holding grudges and to jealousy. Justinian is portrayed as intelligent but reckless, a tragically poor judge of character, and a spendthrift, though driven by genuine piety. Graves recounts how Belisarius suffers trying to satisfy the whims of the two rulers.

Deià

Deià is a municipality and small coastal village in the Serra de Tramuntana, which forms the northern ridge of the Spanish island of Mallorca. It is located about 16 kilometres (10 mi) north of Valldemossa, and it is known for its literary and musical residents. Its idyllic landscape, orange and olive groves on steep cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, served as a draw for German, English, and American expatriates after the First World War.

The English poet, novelist, and scholar Robert Graves was one of the first foreigners to settle in the village, where he collaborated with Laura Riding in setting up the Seizin Press. Graves returned after the war and remained in Deià until his death. He used the town as the setting for many of his stories, including the historical novel Hercules my Shipmate. His house is now a museum.Anaïs Nin visited the village in the 1920s, and she wrote a short story set on the village's beach. The Spanish writer, Carme Riera, recently wrote a short story about Nin's. The town is also the unnamed setting of the Uruguayan novelist Cristina Peri Rossi's The Ship of Fools (La nave de los locos). The Nicaraguan poet and novelist, Claribel Alegría, lives in Deià today. Anja Rubik married fellow model Sasha Knezevic in this village in July 2011.

In recent decades, the stars of literature have been eclipsed by the stars of rock and roll. The Virgin Records mogul Richard Branson has a luxury residence in the town, and his label's stars have often visited the village and sometimes jammed at the local bar, Sa Fonda. Deià was home to several Canterbury-scene musicians over the years, including Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, and Daevid Allen. Mick Jagger, guitarist Mark Knopfler, and Mike Oldfield played there often in the late 1980s, as did Caroline Corr. Much of Fionn Regan's third studio album, 100 Acres of Sycamore was inspired by his time spent in Deià.

Georgian Poetry

Georgian Poetry refers to a series of anthologies showcasing the work of a school of British poetry that established itself during the early years of the reign of King George V of the United Kingdom.

The Georgian poets were, by the strictest definition, those whose works appeared in a series of five anthologies named Georgian Poetry, published by Harold Monro and edited by Edward Marsh, the first volume of which contained poems written in 1911 and 1912. The group included Edmund Blunden, Rupert Brooke, Robert Graves, D. H. Lawrence, Walter de la Mare, Siegfried Sassoon and John Drinkwater. It was not until the final two volumes that the decision was taken to include female poets.

Good-Bye to All That

Good-Bye to All That is an autobiography by Robert Graves which first appeared in 1929, when the author was 34 years old. "It was my bitter leave-taking of England," he wrote in a prologue to the revised second edition of 1957, "where I had recently broken a good many conventions". The title may also point to the passing of an old order following the cataclysm of the First World War; the supposed inadequacies of patriotism, the interest of some in atheism, feminism, socialism and pacifism, the changes to traditional married life, and not least the emergence of new styles of literary expression, are all treated in the work, bearing as they did directly on Graves' life. The unsentimental and frequently comic treatment of the banalities and intensities of the life of a British army officer in the First World War gave Graves fame, notoriety and financial security, but the book's subject is also his family history, childhood, schooling and, immediately following the war, early married life; all phases bearing witness to the "particular mode of living and thinking" that constitute a poetic sensibility.Laura Riding, Graves' lover, is credited with being a "spiritual and intellectual midwife" to the work.

Homer's Daughter

Homer's Daughter is a 1955 novel by Robert Graves, famous for I, Claudius and The White Goddess.

It starts from the idea that Homer's Odyssey was written by a princess in the Greek settlements in Sicily. The novel makes an entirely speculative reconstruction of who she was and why she wrote such a work. It has her modifying the legends that existed in her own time to partly match a crisis in her own life. The idea that a woman wrote the works of Homer was initially proposed by Samuel Butler who developed the theory in his The Authoress of the Odyssey. Graves elaborated from Butler's theory in his novel.

It is not as famous as the Claudius novels, but has its admirers.

I, Claudius

I, Claudius (1934) is a novel by English writer Robert Graves, written in the form of an autobiography of the Roman Emperor Claudius. Accordingly, it includes the history of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and the Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 BC to Caligula's assassination in 41 AD.

The 'autobiography' of Claudius continues (from Claudius' accession after Caligula's death, to his own death in 54) in Claudius the God (1935). The sequel also includes a section written as a biography of Herod Agrippa, contemporary of Claudius and future King of the Jews. The two books were adapted by the BBC into an award-winning television serial, I, Claudius.

In 1998 the Modern Library ranked I, Claudius fourteenth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. In 2005, the novel was chosen by Time as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to present.

Iapetus

In Greek mythology, Iapetus (), also Japetus (Ancient Greek: Ἰαπετός Iapetos), was a Titan, the son of Uranus and Gaia, and father (by an Oceanid named Clymene or Asia) of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus and Menoetius. He was also called the father of Buphagus and Anchiale in other sources.

Iapetus as the progenitor of mankind has been equated with Japheth (יֶפֶת), the son of Noah, based on the similarity of their names and the tradition, reported by Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews), which made Japheth the ancestor of the "Japhetites". Iapetus was linked to Japheth by 17th-century theologian Matthew Poole and, more recently, by Robert Graves and by John Pairman Brown.

King Jesus

King Jesus is a semi-historical novel by Robert Graves, first published in 1946. The novel treats Jesus not as the Son of God, but rather as a philosopher with a legitimate claim to the Judaean throne through Herod the Great, as well as the Davidic monarchy; and treats numerous Biblical stories in an unorthodox manner.

Laura Riding

Laura Riding Jackson (January 16, 1901 – September 2, 1991) was an American poet, critic, novelist, essayist and short story writer.

Martin Seymour-Smith

Martin Roger Seymour-Smith (24 April 1928 – 1 July 1998) was a British poet, literary critic, biographer and astrologer.Seymour-Smith was born in London and educated at Highgate School and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where he was editor of Isis. His father Frank was a chief librarian who supplied books to Robert Graves, and his mother Marjorie wrote poetry and published under the name of Elena Fearn. He began as one of the most promising of Anglophone post-war poets, but became better known as a critic, writing biographies of Robert Graves (whom he met first at age 14 and maintained close ties with), Rudyard Kipling and Thomas Hardy, and producing numerous critical studies.

The poet and critic Robert Nye stated that Seymour-Smith was "one of the finest British poets after 1945." Others to praise his poetry included Robert Graves, C. H. Sisson, Geoffrey Grigson and James Reeves.

He came to prominence in 1963, as the editor of the first twentieth-century edition of Shakespeare's Sonnets to use the 'original' spelling. Characteristically, his commentary concerned Shakespeare's sexuality, which upset many. Later, his Fallen Women (1969) and Sex and Society (1975) would become 'standard plundering material for more famous works' as the author good-humouredly claimed. He had known Alex Comfort, who was then writing The Joy of Sex (1972), from their schooldays at Highgate School and the two often swapped notes.

Seymour-Smith's Poets Through their Letters Vol 1 (Wyatt to Coleridge) was acclaimed for its scholarship, but sold poorly. Hence, Volume 2 was never published.

His two volumes of poetry Tea with Miss Stockport (1963) and Reminiscences of Norma (1971), were praised by many, including Peter Porter. But an apparent creative silence till his last collection, Wilderness (1994), led to a decline in his reputation with the reading public during the 1980s.

The Guide to Modern World Literature is an encyclopedic attempt to describe all major 20th-century authors, in all languages. The book is over 1450 pages long. Cyril Connolly said of the first (1973) edition: "I'm very much afraid he will prove indispensable!" His criticism of Lawrence Durrell singled out his poetry as his real achievement; John Fowles, Muriel Spark, C. P. Snow, Malcolm Bradbury and Ted Hughes received the first adverse criticism of their reputations in this book. The stature of Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (1951–76) as the greatest fictional post-war achievement was asserted: a view endorsed by Kingsley Amis and Hilary Spurling. He also predicted that T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets would not survive as a great poem by 2000.

The polyglot Seymour-Smith further used the book to champion writers he regarded as underrated, such as James Hanley, Laura Riding, Wyndham Lewis, Roberto Arlt, Pio Baroja, Rayner Heppenstall and Jose Maria Arguedas, while attacking those he felt were overvalued, such as George Bernard Shaw, W. H. Auden and as mentioned above, T. S. Eliot. Seymour-Smith also disparaged Harold Pinter, Margaret Atwood, and Tom Stoppard, whom he thought overrated.

Anthony Burgess likened Seymour-Smith to Samuel Johnson due to his many literary surveys from The Guide to Modern World Literature in 1975 onwards.

Orestes

In Greek mythology, Orestes (; Greek: Ὀρέστης [oréstɛːs]) was the son of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. He is the subject of several Ancient Greek plays and of various myths connected with his madness and purification, which retain obscure threads of much older ones.

Penthesilea

Penthesilea (Greek: Πενθεσίλεια, Penthesileia) was an Amazonian queen in Greek mythology, the daughter of Ares and Otrera and the sister of Hippolyta, Antiope and Melanippe. She assisted Troy in the Trojan War, during which she was killed by Achilles.

Robert Graves (rugby)

Robert Henderson Graves (1 September 1883 – 15 February 1958) was a pioneer Australian rugby league and rugby union player and one of his country's first dual-code internationals. He was a versatile forward for the Australia national team. He played in 6 Tests between 1908 and 1909, as captain on 1 occasion. In 1907 he played for New South Wales in the very first rugby match run by the newly created 'New South Wales Rugby Football League' which had just split away from the established New South Wales Rugby Football Union.

The Greek Myths

The Greek Myths (1955) is a mythography, a compendium of Greek mythology, with comments and analyses, by the poet and writer Robert Graves. Many editions of the book separate it into two volumes. Abridged editions of this work contain only the myths and leave out Graves' commentary.

The Islands of Unwisdom

The Islands of Unwisdom is an historical novel by Robert Graves, published in 1949. It was also published in the UK as The Isles of Unwisdom.

The Shout

The Shout is a 1978 British horror film directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, based on a short story by Robert Graves that was adapted for the screen by Michael Austin. The film was the first to be produced by Jeremy Thomas under his Recorded Picture Company banner.

The White Goddess

The White Goddess: a Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth is a book-length essay on the nature of poetic myth-making by author and poet Robert Graves. First published in 1948, the book is based on earlier articles published in Wales magazine, corrected, revised and enlarged editions appeared in 1948, 1952 and 1961. The White Goddess represents an approach to the study of mythology from a decidedly creative and idiosyncratic perspective. Graves proposes the existence of a European deity, the "White Goddess of Birth, Love and Death", much similar to the Mother Goddess, inspired and represented by the phases of the moon, who lies behind the faces of the diverse goddesses of various European and pagan mythologies.Graves argues that "true" or "pure" poetry is inextricably linked with the ancient cult-ritual of his proposed White Goddess and of her son.

Many of the book's themes are also explored in a fictional form, through his depiction of a future society dominated by Great Goddess religion in the 1949 novel Seven Days in New Crete.

Triple Goddess (Neopaganism)

The Triple Goddess has been adopted by many neopagans as one of their primary deities. In common Neopagan usage the three female figures are frequently described as the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone, each of which symbolizes both a separate stage in the female life cycle and a phase of the Moon, and often rules one of the realms of earth, underworld, and the heavens. These may or may not be perceived as aspects of a greater single divinity. The Goddess of Wicca's duotheistic theology is sometimes portrayed as the Triple Goddess, her masculine consort being the Horned God.

The term triple goddess can be used outside of Neopaganism to instead refer to historical goddess triads and single goddesses of three forms or aspects.

The Triple Goddess was the subject of much of the writing of the prominent early and middle 20th-century poet, novelist and mythographer Robert Graves, in his books The White Goddess and The Greek Myths as well as in his poetry and novels. Modern neo-pagan conceptions of the Triple Goddess have been heavily influenced by Robert Graves who regarded the Triple Goddess as the continuing muse of all true poetry and who speculatively reconstructed her ancient worship, drawing on the scholarship of his time, in particular Jane Ellen Harrison and other Cambridge Ritualists. The influential Hungarian scholar of Greek mythology Karl Kerenyi likewise perceived an underlying triple moon goddess in Greek mythology. More recently the prominent archaeologist Marija Gimbutas has argued for the ancient worship of a Triple Goddess in Europe, attracting much controversy, and her ideas also influence modern neo-paganism.

Many neopagan belief systems follow Graves in his use of the figure of the Triple Goddess, and it continues to be an influence on feminism, literature, Jungian psychology and literary criticism.

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