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3 February 1983
Robert Graves: His Life and Works 
by Martin Seymour-Smith.
Hutchinson, 607 pp., £14.95, May 1982, 0 09 139350 7
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In Broken Images: Selected Letters of Robert Graves 1914-1946 
edited by Paul​ O’Prey.
Hutchinson, 371 pp., £12.95, May 1982, 0 09 147720 4
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Progress of Stories 
by Laura Riding.
Carcanet, 380 pp., £7.95, August 1982, 0 85635 402 3
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... at the specific question of Riding’s influence on it. A poem like ‘The Cool Web’, written shortly after Graves met Riding, displays major advances in force and technique over his earlier verse. Paul O’Prey’s edition of letters from and to Graves does not make his character any less puzzling. ‘My idea of a poet,’ Graves told Robert Nichols in 1917, ‘is a woman suffering all the ...

Unaccountables

Donald Davie

7 March 1985
The Letters of Hugh MacDiarmid 
edited by Alan Bold.
Hamish Hamilton, 910 pp., £20, August 1984, 0 241 11220 6
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Between Moon and Moon: Selected Letters of Robert Graves 1946-1972 
edited by Paul​ O’Prey.
Hutchinson, 323 pp., £14.95, November 1984, 9780091557508
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... not in the years covered by this selection of his letters. (The earlier ones came out as In Broken Images in 1982.) Alan Bold’s index to the MacDiarmid volume has no entry for Graves, any more than Paul O’Prey’s has for MacDiarmid. The two poets, though contemporaries, might have been inhabiting different planets. And yet the impression one gets from the two books is not dissimilar: both men ...

Old Gravy

Mark Ford

7 September 1995
Robert Graves: Life on the Edge 
by Miranda Seymour.
Doubleday, 524 pp., £20, July 1995, 0 385 40423 9
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Robert Graves and the White Goddess 
by Richard Perceval Graves.
Weidenfeld, 618 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 297 81534 2
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Robert Graves: His Life and Work 
by Martin Seymour-Smith.
Bloomsbury, 600 pp., £25, June 1995, 0 7475 2205 7
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Robert Graves: Collected Writings on Poetry 
edited by Paul​ O’Prey.
Carcanet, 560 pp., £35, June 1995, 1 85754 172 3
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Robert Graves: The Centenary Selected Poems 
edited by Patrick Quinn.
Carcanet, 160 pp., £15.95, April 1995, 9781857541267
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... Since the age of 15 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 sometimes won me the reputation of an eccentric,’ Graves writes at the start of The White Goddess (1948), his synoptic account of the history of Western myth. His eccentricity took many forms, as many as the ...

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