The University of Victoria

Robert Graves Diary Project


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Robert Graves Biography
The Manuscript:
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Robert Graves (1895-1985) is a major twentieth-century English poet, novelist and essayist. After surviving the First World War and subsequent shell shock, he studied at Oxford and began to publish poetry. He married Nancy Nicholson in 1917 and they had four children.In 1926 he met Laura Riding, the American poet, whose poetry he had admired from afar.She became a dominant influence in his life and work.In the late twenties they began an intense working relationship which lasted for over ten years.They founded the Seizin Press together, and in 1929 they moved to Deyá, Majorca. The novels that made Graves famous--Goodbye to All That; I Claudius and Claudius the God--were written in this period.So were many poems, essays and prose pieces, which, notably in the Epilogue series edited by Riding, document their theories concerning writing and the role of poetry, as well as their life together and that of the little coterie of writers and artists they gathered around them. The diary, in its detached recording of day-to-day activities, contains evidence of the disciplined nature of their partnership. Graves regularly submitted his work to Riding's strict editorial scrutiny: if it did not pass, he would patiently revise it until it was approved. Graves also critiqued Riding's work, which suggests that their collaboration at this time was mutually beneficial. This was a productive period for both writers.