Goodbye To All That
Although a familiar as a poet and already with several books to his name, in 1927 Robert gained public recognition for the biography of his friend Lawrence of Arabia. He followed this in 1929 at the age of 34 by his war memoir Good-bye to All That which was an instant success. He broke with his former life and moved to Mallorca.
Poet, Storyteller, Soldier, Mythographer, Novelist, Essayist
As a historical novelist his “I Claudius” novels were run-away best sellers. “Few incidents here given are wholly unsupported by historical authority or some sort” he says. Later, the historical interpretation when investigating the recovery of Golden Fleece led him deep into Mythology.
Myths and Ancient Religions
Robert’s interest in myths and ancient religions (including the Bible) led him to his seminal study: The White Goddess. This in turn led him to translating classics including Apuleius’s The Golden Ass , Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars and Homer’s Iliad, and to his brilliant recompilation The Greek Myths.
A Poet at the Service of his Muse
Graves saw himself a Poet at the service of his Muse. Writing prose was an occupation which allowed him to continue in her service. Among many other international distinctions he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford University, and he received the Queen’s Medal for Poetry.
Soldier-Poet of the World War I
Robert Graves fought in the First World War. His first book of poems Over the Brazier was published shortly before being severely wounded and left for dead on the Somme battlefield. He was not quite 21 years old and already a captain and company commander.
Goodbye To All That
Although a familiar as a poet and already with several books to his name, in 1927 Robert gained public recognition for the biography of his friend Lawrence of Arabia. He followed this in 1929 at the age of 34 by his war memoir Good-bye to All That which was an instant success. He broke with his former life and moved to Mallorca.
Robert's Life
Life Statement
“Since the age of fifteen 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 sometime won me the reputation of an eccentric.”
(The White Goddess)
Born in 1895; Anglo-Irish father, German mother. Soldier-poet in WWI with his friends Sassoon and Owen. After an unsuccessful first marriage and four children he wrote Good-bye to All That and retired to Majorca with poet Laura Riding (1929). There he wrote his best selling I, Claudius (1934). Rarely covering the same subject twice, his novel The Golden Fleece led him to his ground breaking thesis on ancient religions The White Goddess (1948) and on to his Greek Myths. He was a biblical scholar, biographer, translator, but above all a poet. He published over 1200 poems. He was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford (1961), and was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Poetry (1968). He is buried in Deià, Majorca.

SIXTTEENTH INTERNATIONAL ROBERT GRAVES CONFERENCE

The Robert Graves Society is pleased to announce that the Sixteenth International Robert Graves Conference will be held at St John’s College, Oxford, 15-18 September 2024. The theme of the conference will be ‘Robert Graves and the Popular Imagination’.

In this, the 90th anniversary of the publication of Robert Graves’s massively popular and widely adapted novel, I, Claudius, the Robert Graves Society is hosting a conference focusing on ‘Robert Graves and the Popular Imagination’. The conference will explore Graves and his contemporaries in relation to the broader popular cultures of which their work is an essential part. Many of Graves’s books continue to reach large and diverse audiences: his Good-bye to All That is arguably the best known of all WW1 autobiographies, and his account of the Greek Myths has been a gateway to the classics for generations. His life was lived both in and out of the public eye, and his high-profile friendships with very differently famous people are intriguing: T. E. Lawrence, Ava Gardner, Spike Milligan to name but three.

Robert Graves conferences traditionally embrace the creative in addition to the critical, and the conference will also host musical and literary events to be announced in due course, along with keynote speakers.


CALL FOR PAPERS

Proposals are invited for papers (20 minutes) on relevant topics relating to Robert Graves and/or his contemporaries. These could include but are not limited to:

  • Twentieth century literature and popular culture
  • Robert Graves and popular genres, for example, historical fiction, children’s literature
  • Popularising the Classics
  • Popularising ancient history and/or mythology
  • Adaptations of Robert Graves’s life and/or works into other media – Film, TV, Radio etc.
  • Robert Graves’s friendships and/or collaborations with popular figures
  • Graves, fame and infamy
  • Robert Graves in the Media
  • Robert Graves and cultural tourism
  • Twentieth century literature and archives, museums, artefacts
  • Writers and the public eye
  • Literature and Celebrity

    Please send an abstract (max. 250 words) by 12th July 2024 to the conference director and President of the Robert Graves Society:

    Professor Charles Mundye, FEA
    Head of the Department of Culture and Media
    College of Social Sciences and Arts
    Sheffield Hallam University
    City Campus
    Sheffield S1 1WB
    email: c.mundye@shu.ac.uk

    President, Robert Graves Society
    https://robertgraves.org/rg-society

    Fellow, English Association
    https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/english-association


    PARTICIPANTS

    The conference is open to all. It will be of interest to academics, teachers, research students, and anyone else who is interested in the life and writings of Robert Graves and his circle. The series of Robert Graves conferences have built up a reputation for their scholarly excellence and their friendly dialogue among participants from a wide variety of backgrounds, both lay and academic, and the Graves family itself.

    To register an interest in attending the conference as a non-speaker, please e-mail the Robert Graves Society Treasurer and Secretary Patrick Villa: pjvilla@aol.com.

  • Image Galleries
    Family and friends. Photos, paintings, etc. First Edition book Covers.
    Video & Audio
    Readings, Interviews, TV & Film.
    Poem of the Week
    Random poem from a selection of his best.
    Letter of the Week
    Random letter from O’Prey’s published Selected Letters
    Robert Graves Society
    Meetings, conferences, photos and more.
    Foundation & Museum
    Robert Graves’s House and Foundation in Mallorca.
    Robert Graves Review
    A publication for scholars and academics, now online.
    Online Resources
    Bibliography, diaries, Location of documents, Texts of letters.

    Quotes, sayings and loose verses

    Marriage, like money, is still with us; and, like money, progressively devalued.

    Robert Graves

    Genius not only diagnoses the situation but supplies the answers.

    Robert Graves

    I believe that every English poet should read the English classics, master the rules of grammar before he attempts to bend or break them.

    Robert Graves Lecture at Oxford as quoted in Time (15 December 1961)

    Marriage, like money, is still with us; and, like money, progressively devalued.

    Robert Graves

    The Laureare tells of Robert Graves's early life which caused him to write Good-bye to All That and to move to Mallorca - Now available on DVD.

    Books by Robert Graves and Biographies

    Find novels and poems by Robert Graves or biographies from various publishing houses.