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Alternative ‘Modernists’: Robert Graves and Laura Riding

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Abstract

With the exception of a few perceptive studies, such as those by Douglas Day, Michael Kirkham and Daniel Hoffman, academics surveying twentieth-century poetry have tended to classify Robert Graves as a poet of secondary importance whose main achievement is the writing of a handful of elegant love poems.1 The hegemony of Eliot and Pound in critical orthodoxy is, of course, principally responsible for the academy’s downgrading of Graves’s reputation since he is a poet of a very different kind, as also is the resistance his work throws up to fashionable belletristic categories: it is impossible, for example, to encompass his massive corpus of work within such narrow definitions as ‘Georgianism’ or ‘anti-Modernism’. Graves, for a large part of his writing life, challenged the dominant views of the literary establishment, and is too independent a poet to be reductively pigeonholed by it.

Keywords

Romantic Love British Poetry Imaginary Dialogue British Poet Modernist Poetry 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Douglas Day, Swifter Than Reason: The Poetry and Criticism of Robert Graves (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1963). Michael Kirkham, The Poetry of Robert Graves (London: University of London, Athlone Press, 1969). David G. Hoffman, Barbarous Knowledge: Myth in the Poetry of Yeats, Graves and Muir (London: Oxford University Press, 1967).Google Scholar
  2. Douglas Day, Swifter Than Reason: The Poetry and Criticism of Robert Graves (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1963). Michael Kirkham, The Poetry of Robert Graves (London: University of London, Athlone Press, 1969). David G. Hoffman, Barbarous Knowledge: Myth in the Poetry of Yeats, Graves and Muir (London: Oxford University Press, 1967).Google Scholar
  3. Douglas Day, Swifter Than Reason: The Poetry and Criticism of Robert Graves (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1963). Michael Kirkham, The Poetry of Robert Graves (London: University of London, Athlone Press, 1969). David G. Hoffman, Barbarous Knowledge: Myth in the Poetry of Yeats, Graves and Muir (London: Oxford University Press, 1967).Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    Martin Seymour-Smith, Robert Graves: His Life and Work (London: Abacus, Sphere Books Limited, 1983). Richard Perceval Graves, Robert Graves: The Years with Laura, 1926–40 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990).Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    Martin Seymour-Smith, Robert Graves: His Life and Work (London: Abacus, Sphere Books Limited, 1983). Richard Perceval Graves, Robert Graves: The Years with Laura, 1926–40 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990).Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    Quoted in Joyce Piell Wexler, Laura Ridings Pursuit of Truth (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1979) p. 12.Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    Laura (Riding) Jackson, The Poems of Laura Riding; A New Edition of the 1938 Collection (Manchester: Carcanet New Press, 1980). All quotations from Laura Riding’s poems are taken from this edition, and page numbers are indicated in parentheses.Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    Laura Riding and Robert Graves, A Survey of Modernist Poetry (New York: Haskell House Publishers Limited, 1969). [The original publication was 1927, London: Heinemann.] Quotations are from the 1969 edition, with page numbers indicated in parentheses.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1995

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