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The White Goddess

A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth

Robert Graves

Edited by Grevel Lindop

Cover Picture of The White Goddess
RRP: GBP 35.00
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Price: GBP 31.50
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ISBN: 978 1 857542 48 6
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Published: October 1997
223 x 145 x 27 mm
512 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
  • Description
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  • All saints revile her, and all sober men
    Ruled by the God Apollo's golden mean --
    In scorn of which we sailed to find her
    In distant regions likeliest to hold her
    Whom we desired above all things to know,
    Sister of the mirage and echo . . .

    from 'The White Goddess' (1951)
    First published in 1948, The White Goddess is one of the century's most extraordinary books. A poet's impassioned introduction to the world of poetry, it is also a great scholar's quest for the meaning of European mythology, a polemic about the relations between man and woman, and an intensely personal document. In it Robert Graves explored the sources of his inspiration and, as he believed, of all true poetry. He also came to terms with memories of his painful but formative relationship with Laura Riding, and made peace with his family's Irish inheritance as poets, scholars, and contributors to the Irish Literary Revival. It stands beside Yeats' A Vision as a major work of modern myth-making, and the clarifications it wrought in Graves' own mind made possible the writing of some of his finest poems. Certainly no one can fully understand Graves, or his poetry, without reading The White Goddess.

    This new edition incorporates major corrections to the text, including for the first time all Robert Graves' final revisions, as well as his replies to the book's reviewers and his own account of the months of inspiration in which The White Goddess was written.

    The poet GREVEL LINDOP is also the editor of Thomas de Quincey, a biographer and essayist. He is currently Professor of Romantic and Early Victorian Studies at the University of Manchester.
    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
    Grevel Lindop
    GREVEL LINDOP was born in Liverpool and now lives in Manchester, where he was formerly a Professor of English at the Victoria University. His books include A Literary Guide to the Lake District; The Opium Eater: A Life of Thomas De Quincey and editions of Chatterton, De Quincey and Robert Graves's ... 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
    Praise for Grevel Lindop 'This is a poet who is alert to the human cost and implications of different environments and the ways societies behave in them, able to interrogate what connects and separates us from one another, and yet who never seems to be telling us how clever or well-travelled he is.' - Rory Waterman, TLS 'a fascinating read.'
    William Oxley, Stride Magazine
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