Oh dear, a nodeshell. I don't know enough about him to do him justice. Someone else please expand.
A writer known for his poetry, novels, autobiography, literary theory, mythography, and translation. Robert von Ranke Graves was born in Wimbledon, London, on 24 July 1895, son of the Irish balladeer A.P. Graves. He was educated at Charterhouse, and served in the First World War. One of his encouraging house masters was George Mallory the mountaineer, and in the War he became close friends with Siegfried Sassoon. His early poetry was associated with the Georgian school.
For much of his life he lived at Deyá on the island of Majorca: from 1926 to 1939 with his fellow poet Laura Riding. Here they worked with Jacob Bronowski, among others. His first wife was Nancy Nicholson, sister of the painter Ben Nicholson; his second wife was Beryl Hodge; between them was Laura Riding. He was professor of poetry at Oxford in 1961-1966, and died on Majorca in 1985. He had four children by each marriage.
His two Roman historical novels about the emperor Claudius are very popular, and became television successes. His retellings and interpretations of the Greek myths are valuable.
For some his most notable work is his extraordinary theory of poetic inspiration, claiming that all true poetry comes from the Moon goddess, the White Goddess, Ishtar and Diana and all her other forms throughout the world's cultures. Adapting a line of Keats (which Keats actually used about his beloved Fanny Brawne), he said, "Everything that reminds me of her goes through me like a spear."
The following bibliography makes no claim to completeness.
After writing all this, referring to various books and cross-checking with some websites, I found the official website of the Robert Graves Trust, Society, Journal and Archive at
and this seems to be so thorough that my heart sank at the thought of reading through it and adding to my write-up. I merely mention that they're trying to track down and catalogue Graves's fifty thousand letters.