Robert Graves

1895–1985
Robert Graves

Robert Graves often stirred controversy in his endeavors as a poet, novelist, critic, mythographer, translator, and editor. Stephen Spender in the New York Times Book Review characterized Graves as a free thinker: "All of his life Graves has been indifferent to fashion, and the great and deserved reputation he has is based on his individuality as a poet who is both intensely idiosyncratic and unlike any other contemporary poet and at the same time classical." A rebel socially, as well as artistically, Graves left his wife and four children in 1929 to live in Majorca with Laura Riding, an American poet. Douglas Day commented on the importance of this move in Swifter Than Reason: The Poetry and Criticism of Robert Graves: "The influence of Laura Riding is quite possibly the most important single element in his poetic career: she persuaded him to curb his digressiveness and his rambling philosophizing and to concentrate instead on terse, ironic poems written on personal themes. She also imparted to him some of her own dry, cerebral quality, which has remained in much of his poetry. There can be little doubt that some of his best work was done during the years of his literary partnership with Laura Riding."

It has been suggested that one of Graves's debts to Riding was his long-standing fascination with the Muse of poetry. Anne Fremantle noted in Nation that T. S. Matthews gave Riding credit for Graves's "mystical and reverent attitude to the mother goddess," that muse to whom he referred by a variety of names, including Calliope and the White Goddess. In his Third Book of Criticism, Randall Jarrell noted that Muse symbolism permeates Graves's writing: "All that is finally important to Graves is condensed in the one figure of the Mother-Mistress-Muse, she who creates, nourishes, seduces, destroys; she who saves us—or, as good as saving, destroys us—as long as we love her, write poems to her, submit to her without question, use all our professional, Regimental, masculine qualities in her service. Death is swallowed up in victory, said St. Paul; for Graves Life, Death, everything that exists is swallowed up in the White Goddess."

Critics often described the White Goddess in paradoxical terms. Patrick Callahan, writing in the Prairie Schooner, called her a blend of the "cruelty and kindness of woman." He contended: "Cerridwen, the White Goddess, is the apotheosis of woman at her most primitive. Graves finds the women he has loved an embodiment of her. If Cerridwen is to be adored, she is also to be feared, for her passing can rival the passing of very life, and the pendulum of ecstasy and anguish which marks human love reaches its full sweep in her." Martin Seymour-Smith also noted the complex personality of the Muse, describing her in Robert Graves as "the Mother who bears man, the Lover who awakens him to manhood, the Old Hag who puts pennies on his dead eyes. She is a threefold process of Birth, Copulation, and Death." Brian Jones, however, found the Goddess one-dimensional. He wrote in London Magazine: "It is interesting that it is often impossible to tell whether the feminine pronoun [in Poems, 1965-1968] refers to woman or Goddess or both; not that this is necessarily an adverse criticism, but in Graves both the woman and the Goddess [are] sentimental, belittled, simplified male creation[s]. The dignity and 'otherness' of the woman is missing."

Graves explored and reconstructed the White Goddess myth in his book The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth. J. M. Cohen noted in his Robert Graves: "The mythology of The White Goddess, though its elements are drawn from a vast field of ancient story and legends, is in its assemblage Graves's own creation, and conforms to the requirements of his own poetic mind." One of Graves's prerequisites was spontaneity. Muse poetry, wrote Graves in his Oxford Addresses on Poetry, "is composed at the back of the mind; an unaccountable product of a trance in which the emotions of love, fear, anger, or grief are profoundly engaged, though at the same time powerfully disciplined." Graves gave an example of such inspiration, explaining that while writing The Golden Fleece he experienced powerful feelings of "a sudden enlightenment." According to Cohen, this insight was into a subject Graves knew "almost nothing" about. Cohen wrote that "a night and day of furious cogitation was followed by three weeks of intense work, during which the whole 70,000 words of the original were written." Monroe K. Spears deplored this method of composition in the Sewanee Review: "Graves's theory of poetry—if it can be dignified by the name of theory—is essentially a perfectly conventional late Romantic notion of poetry as emotional and magical; it is remarkable only in its crude simplicity and vulnerability." Still, Randall Jarrell asserted that "Graves's richest, most moving, and most consistently beautiful poems—poems that almost deserve the literal magical—are his mythic/archaic pieces, all those the reader thinks of as 'White Goddess' poems."

"Unsolicited enlightenment" also figured in Graves's historical method. Peter Quennell wrote in Casanova in London: "The focal point of all of [Graves's] scholarly researches is the bizarre theory of Analeptic Thought, based on his belief that forgotten events may be recovered by the exercise of intuition, which affords sudden glimpses of truth 'that would not have been arrived at by inductive reasoning.' In practice... this sometimes means that the historian first decides what he would like to believe, then looks around for facts to suit his thesis." Quennell suggested a hazard of that method: "Although [Graves's] facts themselves are usually sound, they do not always support the elaborate conclusions that Graves proceeds to draw from them; two plus two regularly make five and six; and genuine erudition and prophetic imagination conspire to produce some very odd results." Spears also questioned Graves's judgment, claiming that "he has no reverence for the past and he is not interested in learning from it; instead, he re-shapes it in his own image... he displays much ingenuity and learning in his interpretations of events and characters, but also a certain coarseness of perception and a tendency to oversimplify."

The story of Graves's translation of The Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayaam served to exemplify the stir he was capable of making when he brought his own theories about history to his writing. First, critics and scholars questioned the veracity of his text. Graves had worked from an annotated version of the poem given him by Ali-Shah, a Persian poet; although Ali-Shah alleged that the manuscript had been in his family for 800 years, L. P. Elwell-Sutton, an Orientalist at Edinburgh University, decried it as a "clumsy forgery." Next came the inevitable comparisons with Edward FitzGerald's standard translation, published in 1859. FitzGerald's depiction of romanticized Victorian bliss is epitomized by the much-quoted lines, "A Book of Verse underneath the Bough / A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, and Thou." Graves's translation, on the other hand, reads: "Should our day's portion be one mancel loaf, / a haunch of mutton and a gourd of wine." A Time critic defended FitzGerald's translation by quoting FitzGerald himself: "'A translation must live with a transfusion of one's own worse life if he can't retain the original's better. Better a live sparrow than a stuffed eagle.'" The critic added that "Graves's more dignified Rubaiyyat may be an eagle to FitzGerald's sparrow. But FitzGerald's work is still in living flight, while Graves's already sits there on the shelf—stuffed." Similarly, Martin Dodsworth commented in Listener: "Graves does not convince here. He has produced a prosy New English Bible sort of Khayaam, whose cloudy mysticism raises more questions than it answers."

Despite his detractors, Graves maintained his characteristically independent stance (he once told his students that "the poet's chief loyalty is to the Goddess Calliope, not to his publisher or to the booksellers on his publisher's mailing list") in defending his translation against the more commercially directed attempt he felt FitzGerald made. In Graves's opinion, the poet was writing about the ecstasy of Sufi mysticism, not—as he says FitzGerald implies—more earthly pleasures. In an extensive apologia for his translation, Graves wrote in Observations: "Any attempt at improving or altering Khayaam's poetic intentions would have seemed shocking to me when I was working on the Rubaiyyat.... My twin principles were: 'Stick as strictly to the script as you can' and 'Respect the tradition of English verse as first confirmed by the better Tudor poets: which is to be as explicit as possible on every occasion and never play down to ignorance.'"

Some critics felt that such statements revealed an admirable strength of character. John Wain, for one, felt that Graves demonstrated an unswerving dedication to his ideals in his writing. He commented in the New York Times Magazine: "Robert Graves's long, eventful and productive life has certainly been marked by plenty of fighting spirit, whatever name you give to it—combativeness, magnificent independence or just plain cussedness. He has faith in his own vision and his own way of doing things—legitimately, since they are arrived at by effort and sacrifice, by solitude and devotion—and when he has arrived at them, he cares nothing for majority opinion. He has never been in the least daunted by the discovery that everybody else was out of step. Whatever is the issue—the choice of a life style, a knotty point in theological controversy, a big literary reputation that should be made smaller, or a smaller one that should be made bigger—Graves has reached his own conclusions and never worried if no one agreed with him." Considering Graves's output, Wain concluded: "He is not an easy writer. He does not make concessions. He has achieved a large readership and a great fame because of the richness of what he has to offer—its human depth, its range, its compelling imaginative power—rather than by fancy packaging or deep-freeze convenience."

The publication of The Centenary Selected Poems and Collected Writings on Poetry offered additional insight into Graves's creative preoccupations. Collected Writings on Poetry is based on a series of lectures Graves delivered at Cambridge in 1954 and 1955 and Oxford between 1961 and 1965, as well as several addresses made during visits to the United States. "[Graves] believed you had to live like a poet, and so he did," wrote Lorna Sage in Observer, adding, "He spoke with an Outsider's edgy authority, as you can see in Collected Writings on Poetry." Neil Powell noted in the Times Literary Supplement, "[Graves] was certainly not a reliable nor even a wholly competent critic, yet the essays and lectures are worth reading for quite other reasons. One consequence of his curiously innocent egocentricity is that his comments on other poets often reveal much more about himself than about their ostentatious subjects." While praising Collected Writings on Poetry, Powell questioned the omission of Graves's love poetry and humorous verse from The Centenary Selected Poems which, in his view, "present[s] Graves as a much duller writer than he is."

Together Dear Robert, Dear Spike, a volume of correspondence, and Miranda Seymour's biography Robert Graves: Life on the Edge expanded public and critical understanding of the poet. Dear Robert, Dear Spike, contains selected letters from the decade-long correspondence between Graves and Spike Milligan, a veteran of war twenty years Graves's junior and the author of Adolf Hitler, My Part in His Downfall. Despite the age difference and their widely dissimilar social backgrounds, they apparently shared much in common, particularly the lasting physical and emotional scars of combat experience. "Both had compelling reasons to hate war," remarked Patrick Skene Catling in Spectator. "As a result, they both rejected authority and always maintained a defiant sort of artistic integrity." According to Mulligan, quoted by Catling, "The common bonding of our friendship was his mischievous, iconoclastic perorations on all stratas of stupidity and unreasonableness."

An Observer review praised the "great insight" provided by the Graves-Mulligan correspondence, which began in 1964. Their letters, as Catling noted, appear "in the easy style of love letters, recounting the small colorful details of their work, opinions, domestic arrangements and moods." Sage similarly commended Seymour's Robert Graves: Life on the Edge, described by the critic as a "balanced, convincing, rounded" portrait. Commenting on the biographer's description of Graves's near-death wounding on the Somme in 1916, Sage noted, "as Miranda Seymour says—it would have been hard [for Graves] not to feel a touch mythic, 'as if he had been borne again.'"

Mark Ford summarized Graves's "wholesale rejection of 20th-century civilization and complete submission to the capricious demands of the Goddess" with a quote from The White Goddess: "Since the age of 15 poetry has been my ruling passion and I have never intentionally undertaken any task or formed any relationship that seemed inconsistent with poetic principles; which has sometimes won me the reputation of an eccentric."

Career

Egyptian University, Cairo, Egypt, professor of English literature, 1926; cofounder with Laura Riding of Seizin Press, 1928, and Epilogue semiannual magazine, 1935, coeditor with Riding of Epilogue, 1935-37; Clarke Lecturer, Trinity College, Cambridge University, 1954-55; lecturer in United States, 1958; Oxford University, Oxford, England, professor of poetry, 1961-65; lecturer in United States, 1966-67. Arthur Dehon Little Memorial Lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963.

Bibliography

POETRY

  • Over the Brazier, Poetry Bookshop, 1916.
  • Goliath and David, Chiswick Press, 1916.
  • Fairies and Fusiliers, Heinemann, 1917 , Knopf, 1918.
  • The Treasure Box, Chiswick Press, 1919.
  • Country Sentiment, Knopf, 1920.
  • The Pier-Glass, Knopf, 1921.
  • The Feather Bed, L. and V. Woolf, 1923.
  • Whipperginny, Knopf, 1923.
  • Mock Beggar Hall, Hogarth Press, 1924.
  • Welchman's Hose, The Fleuron, 1925.
  • Robert Graves, Benn, 1925.
  • (Under pseudonym John Doyle) The Marmosite's Miscellany, Hogarth Press, 1925.
  • Poems, 1914-1926, Heinemann, 1927, Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1929.
  • Poems, 1914-1927, Heinemann, 1927.
  • Poems, 1929, Seizin Press, 1929.
  • Ten Poems More, Hours Press (Paris), 1930.
  • Poems, 1926-1930, Heinemann, 1931.
  • To Whom Else?, Seizin Press, 1931.
  • Poems, 1930-1933, Barker, 1933.
  • Collected Poems, Random House, 1938.
  • No More Ghosts: Selected Poems, Faber, 1940.
  • (With Alan Hodge and Norman Cameron) Work in Hand, Hogarth, 1942.
  • Poems, 1938-1945, Creative Age Press, 1946.
  • Collected Poems, 1914-1947, Cassell, 1948.
  • Poems and Satires, Cassell, 1951.
  • Poems, 1953, Cassell, 1953.
  • Collected Poems, 1955, Doubleday, 1955.
  • Robert Graves: Poems Selected by Himself, Penguin Books, 1957.
  • The Poems of Robert Graves Chosen by Himself, Doubleday, 1958.
  • Collected Poems, 1959, Cassell, 1959, Doubleday, 1961, 3rd edition, Cassell, 1962.
  • The Penny Fiddle: Poems for Children, Cassell, 1960, Doubleday, 1961.
  • More Poems, 1961, Cassell, 1961.
  • Selected Poetry and Prose, edited, introduced, and annotated by James Reeves, Hutchinson, 1961.
  • Poems, Collected by Himself, Doubleday, 1961.
  • The More Deserving Cases: Eighteen Old Poems for Reconsideration, Marlborough College Press, 1962.
  • New Poems 1962, Cassell, 1962, Doubleday, 1963.
  • Ann at Highwood Hall: Poems for Children, Cassell, 1964.
  • Man Does, Woman Is, Doubleday, 1964.
  • Love Respelt, Cassell, 1965, Doubleday, 1966.
  • Collected Poems, 1965, Cassell, 1965.
  • Collected Poems, 1966, Doubleday, 1966.
  • Seventeen Poems Missing From Love Respelt, Stellar Press, 1966.
  • Colophon to "Love Respelt," Bertram Rota, 1967.
  • (With D. H. Lawrence) Poems, edited by Leonard Clark, Longman, 1967.
  • Poems, 1965-1968, Cassell, 1968.
  • Beyond Giving, Bertram Rota, 1969.
  • Love Respelt Again, Doubleday, 1969.
  • Poems About Love, Cassell, 1969.
  • Poems, 1968-1970, Cassell, 1970, Doubleday, 1971.
  • Advice From a Mother, Poem-of-the-Month Club, 1970.
  • Green-Sailed Vessel, Bertram Rota, 1971.
  • Poems, 1970-1972, Cassell, 1972.
  • Timeless Meeting, Bertram Rota, 1973.
  • At the Gate, Bertram Rota, 1974.
  • Collected Poems 1975, Cassell, 1975, published as New Collected Poems, Doubleday, 1977.
  • Poems about War, Moyer Bell, 1992.
  • Across the Gulf, New Seizin Press, 1994.
  • Robert Graves: The Centenary Selected Poems, edited by Patrick Quinn, Carcanet, 1995.
  • Complete Poems, Volume I, edited by Beryl Graves and Dunstan Ward, Carcanet, 1995, published as The Complete Poems in One Volume, 2000.

Also author of Deya, 1973, Eleven Songs, 1983, Selected Poems, edited by Paul O'Prey, 1986.

 

FICTION

  • My Head! My Head! Being the History of Elisha and the Shunamite Woman; With the History of Moses as Elisha Related It, and Her Questions Put to Him, Secker, 1925.
  • The Shout, Mathews and Marrot, 1929.
  • (With Laura Riding, under joint pseudonym Barbara Rich) No Decency Left, J. Cape, 1932.
  • The Real David Copperfield, Barker, 1933.
  • I, Claudius, Smith & Haas, 1934, revised edition, Random House, 1977.
  • Claudius, the God and His Wife Messalina, Barker, 1934, Smith & Haas, 1935.
  • "Antigua, Penny, Puce," Seizin Press and Constable, 1936, published as The Antigua Stamp, Random House, 1937.
  • Count Belisarius, Random House, 1938.
  • Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth, Methuen, 1940, published as Sergeant Lamb's America, Random House, 1940.
  • Proceed, Sergeant Lamb, Random House, 1941.
  • The Story of Marie Powell, Wife to Mr. Milton, Cassell, 1943, published as Wife to Mr. Milton: The Story of Marie Powell, Creative Age Press, 1944.
  • The Golden Fleece, Cassell, 1944, published as Hercules, My Shipmate, Creative Age Press, 1945.
  • King Jesus, Creative Age Press, 1946, 6th edition, Cassell, 1962.
  • The Islands of Unwisdom, Doubleday, 1949 (published in England as The Isles of Unwisdom, Cassell, 1950 ).
  • Watch the North Wind Rise, Creative Age Press, 1949 (published in England as Seven Days in New Crete, Cassell, 1949 ).
  • Homer's Daughter, Doubleday, 1955.
  • Catacrok! Mostly Stories, Mostly Funny, Cassell, 1956.
  • They Hanged My Saintly Billy: The Life and Death of Dr. William Palmer, Doubleday, 1957.
  • Collected Short Stories, Doubleday, 1964, published as The Shout and Other Stories, Penguin Books, 1978.
  • Complete Short Stories, edited by Lucia Graves, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.

NONFICTION

  • On English Poetry; Being an Irregular Approach to the Psychology of This Art, From Evidence Mainly Subjective, Knopf, 1922.
  • The Meaning of Dreams, Palmer, 1924.
  • Poetic Unreason and Other Studies, Palmer, 1925.
  • Contemporary Techniques of Poetry: A Political Analogy, Hogarth Press, 1925.
  • Another Future of Poetry, Hogarth Press, 1926.
  • Impenetrability; or, The Proper Habit of English, L. and V. Woolf, 1926.
  • (With Riding) A Survey of Modernist Poetry, Heinemann, 1927, Doubleday, Doran, 1928.
  • Lawrence and the Arabs, J. Cape, 1927, published as Lawrence and the Arabian Adventure, Doubleday, Doran, 1928.
  • Lars Porsena; or, The Future of Swearing and Improper Language, Dutton, 1927, revised edition published as The Future of Swearing and Improper Language, K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1936.
  • Mrs. Fisher; or, The Future of Humour, K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1928.
  • (With Riding) A Pamphlet Against Anthologies, J. Cape, 1928.
  • Goodbye to All That: An Autobiography, J. Cape, 1929, J. Cape & H. Smith, 1930, revised edition, Doubleday, 1957.
  • T. E. Lawrence to His Biographer, Doubleday, 1938, published with Liddell Hart's work as T. E. Lawrence to His Biographers, Doubleday, 1963, 2nd edition, Cassell, 1963.
  • (With Alan Hodge) The Long Week-End: A Social History of Great Britain, 1918-1939, Faber, 1940, Macmillan, 1941.
  • (With Hodge) The Reader Over Your Shoulder: A Handbook for Writers of English Prose, Macmillan, 1943, revised edition published as The Use and Abuse of the English Language, Paragon, 1990.
  • The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, Creative Age Press, 1948, amended and enlarged edition, Vintage Books, 1958.
  • The Common Asphodel: Collected Essays on Poetry, 1922-1949, H. Hamilton, 1949.
  • (With Joshua Podro) The Nazarene Gospel Restored, Cassell, 1953, Doubleday, 1954.
  • (With Podro) Nazarene Gospel, Cassell, 1955.
  • Adam's Rib, and Other Anomalous Elements in the Hebrew Creation Myth: A New View, Trianon Press, 1955, Yoseloff, 1958.
  • The Greek Myths, two volumes, Penguin Books, 1955, condensed edition, Viking, 1992, as The Greek Myths: Complete Edition, Viking, 1993.
  • The Crowning Privilege: The Clark Lectures, 1954-1955 (includes sixteen new poems), Cassell, 1955, Doubleday, 1956.
  • (With Podro) Jesus in Rome: A Historical Conjecture, Cassell, 1957.
  • 5 Pens in Hand, Doubleday, 1958.
  • Steps: Stories, Talks, Essays, Poems, Studies in History, Cassell, 1958.
  • Food for Centaurs: Stories, Talks, Critical Studies, Poems, Doubleday, 1960.
  • Greek Gods and Heroes, Doubleday, 1960 (published in England as Myths of Ancient Greece, Cassell, 1961).
  • Oxford Addresses on Poetry, Doubleday, 1962.
  • Nine Hundred Iron Chariots, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963.
  • (With Raphael Patal) Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis, Doubleday, 1964.
  • Mammon (lecture; also see below), London School of Economics, 1964.
  • Mammon and the Black Goddess (one section previously published as Mammon), Doubleday, 1965.
  • Majorca Observed, Doubleday, 1965.
  • Spiritual Quixote, Oxford University Press, 1967.
  • Poetic Craft and Principle (collection of Oxford lectures), Cassell, 1967.
  • (Author of introduction) Greece, Gods, and Art, Viking, 1968.
  • The Crane Bag, Cassell, 1969.
  • Difficult Questions, Easy Answers, Cassell, 1972, Doubleday, 1973.
  • Selected Letters of Robert Graves, edited by Paul O'Prey, Hutchinson, Volume I: In Broken Images: 1914-1946, 1982, Volume II: Between Moon and Moon: 1946-1972, 1984.
  • Conversations with Robert Graves, edited by Frank L. Kersnowski, University Press of Mississippi, 1989.
  • Dear Robert, Dear Spike: The Graves-Milligan Correspondence, edited by Pauline Scudamore, Sutton, 1991.
  • Robert Graves: Collected Writings on Poetry, edited by Paul O'Prey, Carcanet, 1995.

FOR CHILDREN

  • The Big Green Book, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, Crowell, 1962.
  • The Siege and Fall of Troy, Cassell, 1962, Doubleday, 1963.
  • Two Wise Children, Harlin Quist, 1966.
  • The Poor Boy Who Followed His Star, Cassell, 1968, Doubleday, 1969.
  • The Ancient Castle, P. Owen, 1980.

EDITOR

  • (And author of introduction and critical notes) The English Ballad: A Short Critical Survey, Benn, 1927, revised edition, Heinemann, 1957, published as English and Scottish Ballads, Macmillan, 1957.
  • John Skelton (Laureate), 1460(?)-1529, Benn, 1927.
  • (Compiler) The Less Familiar Nursery Rhymes, Benn, 1927.
  • (And author of foreword) Algernon Charles Swinburne, An Old Saying, J. S. Mayfield, 1947.
  • (And author of foreword) The Comedies of Terence, Doubleday, 1962, published as Comedies, Aldine, 1962.

Condensed Merrill P. Paine's edition of David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens, Harcourt, 1934.

TRANSLATOR

  • (With Laura Riding) Georg Schwarz, Almost Forgotten Germany, Random House, 1937.
  • Lucius Apuleius, The Transformations of Lucius, Otherwise Known as "The Golden Ass," Farrar, Straus, 1951.
  • Manuel de Jesus Galvan, The Cross and the Sword, Indiana University Press, 1954.
  • Pedro Antonio de Alarcon, The Infant With the Globe, Faber, 1955.
  • Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia: Dramatic Episodes of the Civil Wars, Penguin Books, 1956.
  • George Sand, Winter in Majorca, illustrated by Maurice Sand, Cassell, 1956.
  • Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Cassell, 1957.
  • The Anger of Achilles: Homer's "Iliad" (produced at Lincoln Center, New York, 1967), Doubleday, 1959.
  • Hesiodu Stamperia del Santuccio, Fable of the Hawk and the Nightingale, 1959.
  • (With Omar Ali-Shah) The Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayaam (based on the twelfth-century manuscript), Cassell, 1967, published as The Original Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayaam, Doubleday, 1968.
  • Solomon's "Song of Songs," Cassell, 1968, Doubleday, 1969.

OTHER

  • John Kemp's Wager: A Ballad Opera, S. French, 1925.
  • But Still It Goes On: An Accumulation (includes the play "But It Still Goes On"), J. Cape, 1930, J. Cape & H. Smith, 1931.
  • (Rewriter) Frank Richards, Old Soldiers Never Die, Faber & Faber, 1933.
  • (Rewriter) Richards, Old-Soldier Sahib, Smith & Haas, 1936.
  • Occupation: Writer (includes the play "Horses"), Creative Age Press, 1950.
  • Nausicaa (opera libretto adapted from his novel Homer's Daughter; music by Peggy Glanville-Hicks), produced in Athens, Greece, 1961.
  • Some Speculations on Literature, History, and Religion, edited by Patrick Quinn, Carcanet Press (Manchester, England), 2000.

Also author of television documentary, Greece: The Inner World, 1964. Many of Graves' letters and worksheets, as well as an autograph diary, is in the Graves Manuscript Collection at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Other papers are in the collections of Lockwood Memorial Library, State University of New York at Buffalo; Berg Collection, New York City Library; Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin; and University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale. Graves made several recordings of his work, including Robert Graves Reading His Own Poems, for Argo and Listen; Robert Graves Reading His Own Poetry and The White Goddess, for Caedmon; and The Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayaam, for Spoken Arts.

Further Reading

BOOKS

  • Carter, D. N. G., Robert Graves: The Lasting Poetic Achievement, Barnes & Noble, 1989.
  • Cohen, J. M., Robert Graves, Oliver & Boyd, 1960.
  • Concise Dictionary of British Literary Biography, Volume 6: Modern Writers, 1914-1945, Gale, 1991.
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale, Volume 1, 1973; Volume 2, 1974; Volume 6, 1976; Volume 11, 1979; Volume 39, 1986; Volume 44, 1987; Volume 45, 1987.
  • Day, Douglas, Swifter Than Reason: The Poetry and Criticism of Robert Graves, University of North Carolina Press, 1963.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale, Volume 20, British Poets, 1914-1945, 1983; Volume 100: Modern British Essayists, Second Series, 1991.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook: 1985, Gale, 1986.
  • Enright, D. J., Conspirators and Poets, Dufour, 1966.
  • Graves, Richard Perceval, Robert Graves: The Assault Heroic, 1895-1926, Viking, 1987.
  • Graves, Richard Perceval, Robert Graves: The Years with Laura, 1926-1940, Viking, 1990.
  • Graves, Robert Perceval, Robert Graves and the White Goddess, 1940-85, Weidenfeld and Nicolson (London), 1995.
  • Graves, Robert, Goodbye to All That: An Autobiography, J. Cape, 1929.
  • Graves, Robert, Oxford Addresses on Poetry, Doubleday, 1962.
  • Graves, William, Wild Olives: Life in Majorca with Robert Graves, Pimlico, 1996.
  • Higginson, F. H., A Bibliography of the Works of Robert Graves, Shoe String, 1966.
  • Hoffman, D. G., Barbarous Knowledge, Oxford University Press, 1967.
  • Jarrell, Randall, The Third Book of Criticism, Farrar, Straus, 1969.
  • Nemerov, Howard, Poetry and Fiction, Rutgers University Press, 1963.
  • Poetry Criticism, Volume 6, Gale, 1993.
  • Quennell, Peter, Casanova in London, Stein & Day, 1971.
  • Seymour, Miranda, Robert Graves: A Life on the Edge, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1995.
  • Seymour-Smith, Martin, Robert Graves, Longman Group, revised edition, 1965.
  • Seymour-Smith, Martin, Robert Graves: His Life and Work (originally published in 1982), revised edition, Bloomsbury, 1995.
  • Swinnerton, Frank, The Georgian Literary Scene, Dent, 1951.

PERIODICALS

  • Atlantic, January, 1966.
  • Commentary, February, 1967.
  • Daily Variety, December 10, 1985.
  • Harper's, August, 1967.
  • Horizon, January, 1962.
  • Hudson Review, spring, 1967.
  • Life, June 24, 1963; October 15, 1965.
  • Listener, May 4, 1967; November 9, 1967; December 24, 1970.
  • Literary Times, April, 1965.
  • London Magazine, February, 1969.
  • London Review of Books, September 7, 1995, p. 26.
  • Los Angeles Times Book Review, December 28, 1980; January 23, 1983.
  • Nation, March 18, 1978.
  • National Observer, March 17, 1969.
  • National Review, December 31, 1985.
  • New Leader, October 27, 1969.
  • New Statesman, December 3, 1965.
  • Newsweek, May 20, 1968; July 28, 1969; December 16, 1985.
  • New York Times, December 1, 1966; October 26, 1967; September 20, 1979; December 25, 1981.
  • New York Times Book Review, July 20, 1969; October 12, 1969; March 11, 1973; April 29, 1979; May 30, 1982; October 17, 1982; January 18, 1987, p. 34.
  • New York Times Magazine, October 30, 1966.
  • Observations, July, 1968.
  • Observer, July 2, 1995, p. 15; July 16, 1995, p. 13.
  • Playboy, December, 1970.
  • Poetry, January, 1969.
  • Prairie Schooner, summer, 1970.
  • Publishers Weekly, August 11, 1975; December 20, 1985.
  • School Library Journal, February, 1986.
  • Sewanee Review, fall, 1965.
  • Shenandoah, spring, 1966.
  • Spectator, March 16, 1991, p. 40.
  • Time, November 3, 1967; May 31, 1968; December 16, 1985.
  • Times (London), May 27, 1982; July 26, 1985.
  • Times Literary Supplement, October 7, 1965; December 7, 1967; June 26, 1969; November 21, 1980; September 27, 1985; November 3, 1995, p. 6.
  • Variety, July 26, 1972.
  • Washington Post Book World, November 29, 1981.
  • Yale Review, autumn, 1968.

OBITUARIES:

PERIODICALS

  • Chicago Tribune, December 9, 1985.
  • Los Angeles Times, December 8, 1985.
  • New York Times, December 8, 1985.
  • Times (London), December 9, 1985.
  • Washington Post, December 8, 1985, December 9, 1985.

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Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION England

LIFE SPAN 1895–1985

Robert Graves

Biography

Robert Graves often stirred controversy in his endeavors as a poet, novelist, critic, mythographer, translator, and editor. Stephen Spender in the New York Times Book Review characterized Graves as a free thinker: "All of his life Graves has been indifferent to fashion, and the great and deserved reputation he has is based on his individuality as a poet who is both intensely idiosyncratic and unlike any other contemporary poet . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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