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Good Bye To All That

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 “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

Thank you very much.

3 replies »

  1. Many thanks for your daily blogging – I look forward to reading it each day. You might be interested to know that Robert Graves had a long connection with my home town of Limerick, in Ireland. He was stationed with the Royal Welch Fusiliers (as was Siegfried Sassoon) in the barracks of King John’s Castle from whence he went into retirement from the army. (Incidentally, in the 1930’s a number of houses were built around the barracks’ square – I was brought up in one of them.) His family on both sides had Limerick connections. As a result of the Cromwellian Settlement the Graves family had acquired lands and later public office at Limerick.

    Robert Graves’ father, Mr Alfred Percival Graves (1846-1931) came to Limerick as President of the Irish Literary Society. He was a poet and the writer of the well known ballad “Father O’ Flynn” and a leading figure of the Irish Literary Revival. He was the son of Charles Graves, who succeeded Bishop Griffin as the Church of Ireland Bishop of Limerick in 1866. Mr A. P. Graves is remembered as a leading figure in the development of Technical Education in Ireland and at the Limerick Athenaeum in particular. He was also the father by his second marriage, of Robert Graves, the poet who wrote “The White Goddess”.

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December 2010


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