Robert Ranke Graves (1895-1985) died 25 years ago today, here, on this very island.
Graves had come to Mallorca and the village of Deià with fellow poet Laura Riding, in October 1929, having just separated from his first wife, Nancy Nicholson. Here in Deià, Graves built a house, Ca n’Alluny, and established himself as a full time writer for the first time in his life. For his simple lifestyle, he was soon labelled as the 20th century’s first Robinson Crusoe poet. With the hostilities of the Spanish Guerra Civil in 1936 however, Robert and Laura were obliged to abandon Mallorca and move back to London after only seven years. With Europe in ruins and his beloved son David just deceased and also with a severe dissatisfaction with England, Graves and his second wife, Beryl Hodge, as well as their three remaining children, returned to Mallorca and Deià again. In 1946, they were able to return to Graves’s house and they resided there until his death in 1985.
Allow me to quote from europeanhistory.about.com: “Robert Graves was born into a dynasty of true European heritage, for within his family tree were English, German, Scottish, Danish and Irish nationals. Despite this, the Graves were a typical British Victorian family of the upper-middle classes: strict and somewhat cold, but also loyal and well-educated. Biographies often stress the literary history of Robert’s ancestors, for his great uncle, Leopold von Ranke, was a highly accomplished historian, while an eighteen century relative, Richard Graves, wrote The Spiritual Quixote, a novel successful within its era. Robert’s father kept this ‘tradition’ alive by writing poetry“.
Ca n’Alluny, the Casa Museo Robert Graves on the outskirts of Deià will hold a day of Open Doors on Friday, December 10th, from 10h00 to 14h00. Any other day of the year, except Sundays, entry admission will be 5 € for adults and 2.50 € for children under the age of 12. Also on Friday, at 17h00, a conferencia/lecture on Robert Graves and Mallorca will be given at the UIB university on the outskirts of Palma, to be followed at 19h00 by a screening of the 1963 movie The Inner World, directed by Bert Lawrence, with actors from the Greek National Theatre, including an introduction by Robert Graves himself. I believe admission to be free for both, the lecture and the screening.
The photo (above) shows Robert Graves in the presence of his granddaughter, Margaret Dalton, being introduced to Reina Sofía, the Queen of Spain, in 1978. The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of robertgraves.org.
Thank you very much.