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Robert Graves

Robert von Ranke Graves (July 24, 1895 - December 7, 1985) was an English scholar, best remembered for his work as a poet and novelist, who wrote over 140 works.

Graves was born in Wimbledon (England). He was educated at Charterhouse public school[?] and won a scholarship to Oxford University (St John's College). With the outbreak of war he enlisted with the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

The horror of his wartime experiences had a profound effect upon him; he published his first volume of poems in 1916, but he later tried to suppress his war poetry. At the Battle of the Somme in 1916 he was so seriously injured that his family were informed of his death. However, he recovered, at the cost of permanent damage to his lungs, and spent the remainder of the war in England - despite his efforts to return to the front.

In 1917, Graves played an important part in saving his fellow-poet, Siegfried Sassoon, from court-martial after the latter went absent without leave and wrote to his commanding officer denouncing the war. The two officers had become firm friends while serving with the RWF. The story is well documented in the biographies and is the subject of Pat Barker[?]'s novel, Regeneration. Through Sassoon, Graves encountered Wilfred Owen, whose talent he recognised. Owen was present at Graves' wedding to Nancy Nicholson[?] in 1918.

Following his marriage, Graves entered the University of Oxford, and attempted to make a living by running a small shop; the business soon failed. In 1926 he took up a post at the University of Cairo[?], accompanied by his wife, their children, and the poet Laura Riding. He founded the Seizin Press with Riding and they co-authored two successful academic books - A Survey of Modernist Poetry (1927) and A Pamphlet Against Anthologies (1928). In 1929 he moved with Riding to Deya, Majorca[?] (Spain), but they were forced to leave in 1936 due to the civil war. He wrote his autobiography, Goodbye to All That (1929, revised by him and republished in 1957); it was a success but cost him many of his friends. In 1934 Graves published his most successful work, I, Claudius: Using classical sources he constructed a complex and compelling tale of the life of the Roman emperor Claudius, a tale extended in the sequel Claudius the God[?] (1943).

In 1939 he returned to England and began a new relationship with Beryl Hodge. In 1946 he re-established a home in Deya, Majorca, and he married Beryl in 1950. He published the controversial The White Goddess in 1948 and went on to a series of affairs and lesser amours with his 'muses'. In 1961 he was made Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford, a post he held until 1966.
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