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Collected Writings on Poetry

Robert Graves

Edited by Patrick Quinn

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RRP: GBP 35.00
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Price: GBP 31.50
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ISBN: 978 1 857541 72 4
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Published: June 1995
222 x 142 x 31 mm
604 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • He in a new confusion of his understanding;
    I in a new understanding of my confusion.
    from 'In Broken Images'

     Born on 24 July 1895, Robert Graves had a richly literary early environment. His father was a poet and a schools inspector. He followed, with firmer tread, in his father's footsteps. Admired in his pram by Swinburne, he was not permanently damaged by the meeting but, as a scholarship boy, went to Charterhouse and then to Oxford. His course was interrupted by the First World War, in which his poetry began to mature and in which he was famously reported slain in action in 1916. Shell-shocked, he went on to St John's, Oxford. There in 1918 his hugely prolific writing life began in real (prose and verse) earnest.

    The phases of his critical writing are radically distinct, linked by a serious creative intent and by a remarkable eloquence. From the 1925 volume Poetic Unreason and Other Studies to his collaborative works with Laura Riding (not included here, but perhaps in a later joint volume), to The Common Asphodel (1949) and other work, much of it hitherto scattered, Graves's concerns and discoveries are risky and often momentous. It is as though, almost single handed through the harsh anti-Romantic years and into the decades of irony, he had maintained and defended the lyric tradition, making it classical and viable against the tide, again and again. As advocate, polemicist and mythographer, his work in verse and prose has exercised a constant influence on poets, readers and critics ill at ease with fashion and hungry for the sustaining traditions that underlie the merely conventional.
    Robert Graves
    Robert Graves (1895-1985), poet, classical scholar, novelist, and critic, was one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century. Athough he produced over 100 books he is perhaps best known for the novel I, Claudius (1934), The White Goddess (1948) and Greek Myths (1955). Robert Graves was born in Wimbledon, South ... read more
    Patrick Quinn
    General Editor of the Robert Graves programme, Patrick Quinn is Professor of English Literature at University College Northampton. He is author of The Great War and Missing Muse: The Early Poetry of Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon, editor of Re-charting the Thirties, New Perspectives on Robert Graves, and The Dictionary of ... read more
    Praise for Robert Graves  'There is eloquence, wit and a formal shapeliness in abundance from first to last.'
    Michael Glover, Financial Times 10/02/01
     'While poetry schools came and went, Graves went on writing until his death in 1985, in an elegant, classically inspired style.'
    Andrew Crumey, Scotland on Sunday 07/01/01
     'No one else offers his precise combination of eroticism, nightmare and epigram.'
    Sean O'Brien, The Guardian 13/01/01
     'Graves experiences in the trenches of the First World War are most vivid and moving.'
    Robert Nye, Scotsman on Sunday, 16/12/00
     'In his attitude to verse he remained a Georgian, an eccentric one.'
    Eric Hester, Catholic Times 20/02/00
     'Graves enshrines his archetypal motifs of obsessive love in legendary contexts from which the contemporary world is resolutely excluded.'
    Mark Ford, The London Review of Books
     'One of the twentieth century's major writers.'
    Richard Foster, Yorkshire Evening Press
     Graves is a poet and a visionary in his prose writings, always stimulating and frequently enlightening.
    Patrick Reilly, The Herald
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