Cover image for Robert Graves : the years with Laura, 1926-1940
Robert Graves : the years with Laura, 1926-1940
Graves, Richard Perceval.
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380 pages ; . 25 cm
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PR6013.R35 Z718 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The history of the torrid, florid, and in all ways remarkable relationship between English poet Robert Graves and American poet Laura Riding. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

This incisively told, compelling story focuses on the passionate relationship between two leading poets of our time, Robert Graves and Laura Riding. A sequel to Robert Graves: The Assault Heroic 1895-1926 , it begins with the slightly shell-shocked WW I veteran Graves, a close friend of T. E. Lawrence, setting off for a teaching stint in Egypt accompanied by his wife and Laura, a menage a trois. The Mallorca years follow, a period that sees the production of much of Graves's best work, including Good-bye to All That , I, Claudius and Collected Poems ; the breakup of his marriage; and finally the defection of his fiery (also bossy) muse. Richard Graves writes of his uncle with cool objectivity, letting the emotionally and intellectually surcharged facts speak for themselves. Readers will look forward to the concluding volume of the trilogy. Photos. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This second biographical volume on Robert Graves, written by his nephew Richard, is essential and informative for anyone who wishes to understand Graves's life and work. During the years covered Robert wrote his successful Goodbye to All That; I, Claudius; Lawrence and the Arabs; and Collected Poems. He also began a 14-year literary association and complicated personal relationship with Laura Riding, a young American poet of distinction and originality, which resulted in much of the most distinguished work by both of them. Richard Graves bases his balanced, objective account on massive documentation, including diaries, personal memoirs, portraits, photographs, collections of papers, correspondence, and eyewitness contacts. Riding is given her due, but in the end is seen as highly manipulative, a woman who was ``first Graves' salvation, but ultimately came close to destroying him.'' This book is a follow-up to The Assault Heroic: 1895-1926 ( LJ 12/15/86). A third and final volume is promised; judging by its predecessors, one can anticipate a careful, painstaking, graceful, and sympathetic biography of the first and finest order. For Graves's own writing, see Robert Graves's Between Moon and Moon and Poems About War, reviewed in this issue, p. 91.--Ed.-- Addie Lee Bracy, Atwood Lib., Beaver Coll., Glenside, Pa. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This second installment of Graves's biography goes from his departure for Egypt to the poet's separation from Laura Riding. She is the principal focus, along with Graves's relatives and group of associates in Majorca and England. The chronicle is like repetitive comic opera with elements of pathos, including family squabbles, alienation, suicide attempts, transferred affections, sexual and literary menages, the constant threat of literary and personal crisis. Situations were sometimes pitiable. In her "outrageous arrogance," Riding was unflaggingly brilliant, imperious, manipulative, and elitist. In her "critical surveillance" of Graves's work she made her "adoring disciple" write what he really meant; the biographer shows those critical ideas of hers that had enduring effect in his work. Even in thrall, his production was notable, including in part work on modernist poetry and T.E. Lawrence, the celebrated autobiography of 1929, the two Claudius novels, and the collected poems of 1938. Yet Graves's writing appears curiously underplayed here, almost functional, so compelling and grotesque is the personal story. This fascinating and otherwise well written volume almost totally misuses colons and semicolons. Notes; select bibliography: index. Except for the deplorable punctuation (almost comical in places), recommended to all modernist collections. -L. K. MacKendrick, University of Windsor