Robert Graves

Bruce King

The long life of Robert Graves was both unconventional and eccentric. He prized his reputation as a poet above all else, but it was his remarkable natural skills as a writer and a classicist that made him famous.

A friend of both Siegfried Sasoon and Wilfred Owen, he was considered one of the most talented First World War poets; his memoirs of the conflict were later published in the landmark autobiography Goodbye to All That.

In spite of early expressions of homoeroticism, he married Nancy Nicholson at the end of the war and fathered four children. In 1926 Graves left to teach at Cairo University and, after briefly returning to England, he set up home in Deià, Majorca, and vowed ‘never to make England my home again.’

This was among the most prolific periods of his life, during which he wrote the two historical novels for which he is best known; I, Claudius and Claudius the God, both made famous by their legendary BBC TV adaptations.

By the time of his death Graves was internationally famous and none of his works have since been out of print. This is the first biography to be written in over a decade and it sheds new light on his intriguing life.

BRUCE KING has taught at universities in England, the USA, Nigeria, New Zealand, Canada, France and Israel, while spending many summers in Deià, where Robert Graves lived. He has published books on Shakespeare, 17th-century literature, Derek Walcott and post-colonial literature. He lives in Paris where he is a freelance writer and editor.

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