Robert Graves

1895-1985

 'Poeta'

Robert von Ranke Graves is buried at Deià Church on the Island of Majorca, Europe. (The church and its tiny cemetery are located at the top of the village, on a ledge above a deep gorge. There is no gravestone - only a small block of concrete into which his name and dates were scratched.)
 



Gravestone of Robert Graves

 

Robert Graves

Robert Graves was born in London and educated at Charter-house and St John's College, Oxford. He served in the First World War - taking a commision in the Roya Welch Fusiliers. His first collection Over the Brazier was published in 1916 and was informed by his wartime experiences. During the war his was friendly with both Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.

In 1946 Graves moved back to Ca Na Lluny in Deià with his second wife Beryl Hodge. (He had previously lived here with the American poet Laura Riding prior to WW2.) With the exception of occasional trips abroad, he lived on the island until his death in 1985. He used the town as the setting for many of his stories, including the historical novel Hercules my Shipmate. His house is now a museum.

Between 1950-74 Graves had a string of relationships with younger women - his 'muses' - who inspired him to write some of the finest love poetry of the 20th century.

Graves was professor of poetry at Oxford University from 1961-1966.

Graves is also remembered for his unorthodox historical novels such as I, Claudius (1934), his autobiography Good-bye to All That (1929) and his study of poetic inspiration - The White Goddess (1948).

From 1974 onwards his mental and physical health declined and he died on 7 December 1985.

See also Georgian poets and Poets on Poetry.

The spoils of love present a different case,
When all is over and you march for home:
That lock of hair, these letters and the portrait
May not be publicly displayed; nor sold;
Nor burned; nor returned (the heart being obstinate)-
Yet never dare entrust them to a safe
For fear they burn a hole through two-foot steel.

From Spoils

The Robert Graves Trust

 

 


 

 

 
 
 
 

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