Robert Graves

Topics: Robert Graves, The White Goddess, Siegfried Sassoon Pages: 19 (5865 words) Published: January 7, 2007

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canellun library

Canellun: Robert Graves' Home

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audio: Selected Poetry

audio: More Selected Poetry

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1974 BBC Radio Interview

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The poetry of Robert Graves, Robert Richman

Utopian and Fantastic Dualities in Watch the North Wind Rise, Robert H CanaryGrevel Lindop's website

3 chapters from RP Graves' Biography of Graves

from Miranda Seymour's Biography of Graves

Gore Vidal on Robert Graves

Leslie Norris interviews Robert Graves

I, Claudius on American TV

© 1994-2006 St John's College Robert Graves Trust

Robert Graves - A Critical Biography
Dr Ian Firla, St John's College, Oxford, Robert Graves Trust



Part One - A broad overview of Robert Graves' Life

Part Two - A critical overview of Robert Graves' Works

Part Three - A Survey of Critical Studies for further reference

Part Four - Works Cited and Acknowledgements


Part One: A broad overview of Robert Graves' Life

Robert Graves, poet, novelist, biographer, mythographer, classical scholar and translator was born in 1895 in Wimbledon, a well-to-do suburb of London, and died in 1985 in Deja, the Majorcan village he had made his home (with the exception of the Spanish civil war and the Second World War) since 1929. Graves married twice. His first marriage to Nancy Nicholson, the daughter of the painter William Nicholson, produced four children: Jenny, David, Catherine and Sam. His second marriage to Beryl Pritchard produced a further four children: William, Lucia, Juan and Tomas.

Graves' career spanned the majority of the 20th century. He was a youthful witness to the evolution of this century's self-conscious notion of its own modernity. He nearly died fighting for a belief in nation and England at a time when modern ideals were displacing the notion of 'for king and country' with sometimes contradictory socio-political ideals. He witnessed the same upheavals and suffered many of the same trials of his avant-garde contemporaries (such as Breton, Soupault and Apollinaire in France and T.E. Hulme, David Jones and Wyndham Lewis in Britain) in the First World War yet, along with other poets like Edward Thomas, Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, wrote about them very differently. He saw things going wrong again and decided then to say 'Goodbye to All That' and try out life on his own terms.

His own terms led him to domestic crisis as he separated from his wife and his family to follow a dominant and domineering woman and poet. His own terms saw him abandon, not just England, but the modern world, modern living and modernism to move to a rural village in a remote part of an island set off from the European mainland where he could write the books that he thought needed to be written: some might say for himself, others, the books that he thought a sane world needed. One thing is certain, Graves' life itself was very rarely stable.

The period immediately following Robert Graves' birth is described in an amusing an impressionistic manner in the opening pages of his autobiography. The juxtaposed images of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee procession, that he witnessed at the age of two or three, and then that of the terror of his encounter with his...

Cited: Graves, Richard Perceval. The Assault Heroic 1895-1926, London:Weidenfeld, 1995.
..... The Years With Laura 1926-1940, London: Weidenfeld, 1995.
..... Robert Graves and the White Goddess 1940-1985, London: Weidenfeld, 1995.
Graves, Robert. Goodbye to All That, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1960.
Graves, William. Wild Olives, London: Pimlico, 1996.
Seymour, Miranda. Robert Graves: Life on the Edge, London: Doubleday, 1995.
Seymour-Smith, Martin. Robert Graves: His Life and Work, London: Abacus, 1983.
© Dr Ian Firla, 1999 - 2004
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