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1954 - 1968

International Recognition

The White Goddess had provided Robert with a coherent framework for his particular views on poetry...

...and on the history of Western civilization. The muse figure always remained central to Robert’s theory of poetic inspiration, from the early fifties to the end of his writing life.

Throughout the 1950s, as well as his constant output of poetry, Robert continued to write novels, essays, short stories and translations, as well as The Greek Myths. In 1964 he published his last important mythological study, The Hebrew Myths, which was yet another stage in his efforts to connect the mythical patterns of Western culture. Robert Graves was increasingly seen as a writer who had brought together the culture of the Anglo-Saxon North with that of the Mediterranean South; or as the English poet self-exiled to a Mediterranean island who wrote about ancient Greece and Rome. During these years he also turned his attention to new subjects, such as the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in religious rituals of ancient Greece, and oriental mystic philosophy as expressed in Sufism.

He had now become an internationally recognized figure visited by all kinds of people interested in different aspects of his work; they included celebrities, scholars, artists, writers, poets – names like Ava Gardner, Alec Guinness, Jorge Luis Borges, Ralph Vaughn Williams or Julian Huxley. Robert’s ideas on the female origins of society appealed to the hippie movement of the sixties. Apart from his talks in England and his lecture tours of the U.S, he went to Hungary, Russia, Australia and Mexico. He was invited to visit Israel where he met Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir. In 1962 he attended the premier in Athens of an opera based on his novel Homer's Daughter. In 1972 he was in Ireland to receive a medal from their Academy of Letters.

From 1961 to 1966 Robert Graves held the Chair of Poetry at Oxford. He was never awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature although in 1962 he reached the final tern, together with Durrell and Steinbeck. He refused honours such as the CBE, as being inconsistent with a poet’s integrity; but he did accept the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1968, and, what was for him was a most valued recognition: he was made "Adopted Son" of the village of Deià.