Graves, Robert

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Graves, Robert (1895-1985)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

English poet, novelist and essayist, born in Wimbledon, London, on July 24, 1895. Robert Graves's father, Alfred Perceval Graves, was an Irish poet and Gaelic scholar. Robert, one of ten children, was influenced by his mother's puritanical beliefs and also by his father's love of Celtic myth and poetry. He served in World War I with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and he was injured in the Somme offensive. After the war, he attended Oxford University at St. John's College.

Graves married Nancy Nicholson in 1918, while he was in the army. By that time, he had already published three volumes of poetry. By 1927, he and Nancy had separated. After the divorce, he first spent a number of years with Laura Riding, but by 1940 he had settled down permanently with Beryl Hodge.

Among Graves's best-known novels are I, Claudius (1934) and King Jesus (1946). However, among Witches and Pagans, he is best remembered as the author of The White Goddess (Faber and Faber, 1959). In that book, Graves demonstrates that the language of poetry is inseparably connected with the ancient cult-ritual of the White Goddess (with the Sacred King as her divine victim). In the book's foreword, Graves says, "My thesis is that the language of poetic myth anciently current in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe was a magical language bound up with popular religious ceremonies in honor of the Moon-goddess, or Muse, some of them dating from the Old Stone Age."

Graves claims that he was reading the Welsh epic The Mabinogion when he had a sudden flash of inspiration that the seemingly meaningless poem titled "The Song of Taliesin" was in fact a series of medieval riddles containing clues to an ancient Celtic system of knowledge. In pursuing that system, he found a repeated connection with the moon and with Diana as a moon goddess.

During his lifetime, Graves published more than 140 books, including fifty-five collections of poetry, fifteen novels, ten translations, forty works of nonfiction, an autobiography, and various literary essays. He died in Majorca in 1985 at age ninety.

Graves, Robert


Born July 26, 1895, in London. English writer and critic.

Graves fought in World War I (1914–18), and his wartime impressions are reflected in his early poems and the autobiographical antiwar work Good-Bye to All That (1929). In later collections of poetry he broke with reality. He published the historical novels I, Claudius (1934) and Claudius the God (1934) and theoretical and critical works on English poetry. From 1961 to 1966, Graves was professor of poetry at Oxford University. His translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was published in 1967.


Collected Poems. London, 1965.
Poetic Craft and Principle: Lectures and Talks. London, 1967.


Kirkham, M. The Poetry of Robert Graves. London, 1969.
Higginson. F. H. A Bibliography of the Works of Robert Graves. London. 1966.


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In appointing Graves, Robert MacKnight, general manager of the Flat Panel Division at Watkins-Johnson, stated, "We are new to the FPD industry, and this appointment signals our strong commitment to the industry and to USDC in particular.