NOVEMBER 1937

At the beginning of the month Graves' yew bow finally breaks; local rodents and wild fowl are safe for the next few weeks as Graves and Riding pack, say their good-byes at Ewhurst, and make the move to 31 Alma Square, NW8, London.
It is a month of late nights as Graves continues to work on Belisarius and sends sample chapters of the book to Random House. He promises to have the full draft to the publishers by the end of January in the new year. He completes a draft of a new poem entitled " Self-praise ," and expresses no surprise when he doesn't win the Nobel Prize for Literature, which goes instead to Martin Du Gard, a French author. This month Graves begins to write personal commentary in the diary in Spanish.
Also this month, Graves begins to write a book on Riding, a project inspired by talks with her the previous month. Riding herself is busy with the last section of the " Letter Book " ( The World and Ourselves ). She receives a "silly, patronizing" note from Heinemann about her poems and declares she will frame it.
November is a busy month socially. Graves and Riding extend a grudging welcome to Gordon (of whom Graves disapproves) "as a Christmas present to Honor." Mary Lucy visits from Ireland. Evenings often include marble tournaments with Alix, Harry, Beryl and Alan. (Hodge's negotiations with the Times Literary Supplement to publish his letter on Auden seem promising at first, but in the end the letter is deemed "too controversial.") A new game - alliterative sentences - also proves popular. Riding comes up with "Public praise pleases poets provided private payment plays prominent part." This time spent with friends is clearly rewarding: at one point Graves writes, "Honor to supper. Went for a walk with her at night round her childhood memories."
On 15 November Karl and Marie are married, and Graves and Riding move into the new flat, which Graves declares is the best place they've lived in since Deyá. The remainder of the month includes shopping for home décor (including a painting by Polish refugee Yankel Adler) and renewing London friendships.
Graves' mother comes to lunch at the new flat, and Graves takes a walk with Clarissa through Kensington Gardens. David drops by as well, though he brings disturbing news about Nancy: apparently she fainted in the bathtub and spent five days unconscious. She seems to have recovered fully, but clearly Graves is disturbed by the account.
There are three enclosures this month:

Hands Referenced

Places Mentioned

  • Ewhurst

    Ewhurst, Surrey, England
    Highcroft, the house RG and LR rented with Harry and Alix Kemp between July and November 1937, was located there. eds.
  • Deyá

    Deyá, Majorca, Sp
    Town located on the northwest coast of Majorca, on the hillside between the Teix Mountains and the sea: this was RG's home with Laura Riding from 1929 to 1936. He returned there with his family after WW II. Eds.

People Mentioned

  • Robert

    Graves, Robert
    [1st person]. (1895-1985). Poet, novelist, essayist, critic, and author of his diary. eds.
  • Laura

    Riding,Laura
    (1901-91) American poet. Laura Riding (née Reichenthal; then Laura Gottschalk).
  • Gordon

    Glover, Gordon
    Married to Honor Wyatt. WG
  • Honor

    Wyatt, Honor
    Journalist. Arrived in Deyá fortuitously. Married to Gordon Glover...Son Julian. W.G. First acquainted with R.G. and L.R. early in 1934; returned to visit in 1935; continued friendship in England. eds (RPG 211).
  • Mary Lucy

    Lucy, Mary
    Visited R.G. and L.R. at Ewhurst. An admirer of both Graves and Riding, but her marital problems brought tensions to their household. See diary entry January 2, 1938 (and K.G. note).
  • Alix Kemp

    Kemp, Alix
    Married to poet Harry Kemp. The couple shared a house with Graves and Riding in Ewhurst, Surrey (1937). eds (RPG 277); also referred to as Frau Eierman by RG eds. see Diary August 30, 1936
  • Harry Kemp

    Kemp, Harry
    Poet. Met Graves and Riding through James Reeves in August 1936, just after their arrival in England. In their previous correspondence, Riding had been intrigued by his falling-out with Communism. He became associated with their circle, collaborating on various projects. (RPG 248-49)
  • Beryl

    Pritchard, Beryl
    daughter of Harry and Amy Pritchard, R.G.'s second wife. Formerly married to Alan Hodge. Robert and Beryl had four children: William, Lucia, Juan and Tomas. eds
  • Alan

    Hodge, Alan
    Oxford history graduate. Became close friends with LR & RG. First husband of Beryl Graves. CP & WG
  • Auden

    Auden, W.H.
    British poet (1907-1973). R.G. disliked. eds
  • Karl/Carl

    Goldschmidt, Karl
    Karl Goldschmidt, later Kenneth Gay: Graphic artist, friend and secretary of Robert Graves and Laura Riding since 1934. R. G. spells both as Carl and Karl.
  • Marie

    Goldschmidt, Marie
    Karl Goldschmidt's first wife. RPG 280-81. The couple met when Marie was employed as domestic help at Ewhurst (summer 1937). eds.
  • A.G. (A.E.S.G)

    Graves, Amy
    Amy Graves, RG's Mother. WG
  • Clarissa

    Graves, Clarissa, Janie
    R.G.'s sister who was in charge of children's broadcasting in Palestine. R.G. and she were estranged from 1932 until the fall of 1936. See RPG p 273 CP
  • David

    Graves, David
    R.G.'s second child [by Nancy Nicholson]. W.G. In RAF; killed in the war. The only one of Graves' children who might have become a poet had he lived. K.G., eds.
  • Nancy

    Nicholson, Nancy
    (1899-1977) First wife of Robert Graves; married 1918, separated 1927, divorced 1949. eds.
  • Richards

    Richards, Frank
    Author of Old Soldiers Never Die and Old Soldier Sahib which R.G. rewrote for him. Was in The Royal Welch Fusiliers, R.G.'s regiment. eds.; Birth name is Francis Phillip Woodruff eds. see Diary September 27, 1936
  • Catherine

    Nicholson, Catherine
    Catherine Nicholson: (1922- ) third of four children of Robert Graves and Nancy Nicholson. eds.
  • Graves, William
    Son of Robert and Beryl Graves. Helped to identify names, places and titles in Deya (1935-1936) and with translations and other references in three ways. He left an annotated printout of the first six months of the diary in the Graves Trust Room at St. John's College, Oxford. He also sent Chris Petter an Excel file with a list identifying names and places, principally in the Majorcan sections of the diary, and a glossary of Spanish terms. Finally he has sent the editors answers in response to reference questions. Notes by William Graves are identified with the initials WG.
  • Petter, Chris G.
    Project manager of text encoding and annotation.

Organizations Mentioned

  • Random House

    American publishers (New York) eds.
  • Walter Heinemann Ltd.

    Heinemann
    publisher eds.
  • Editors

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.

Bibliography

    • Title: Count Belisarius [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Cassell
    • Idno: A47
    • Date: 1937-07-21
    • Title: Self-Praise [poem]
    • Title: Collected Poems (1938)
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassell
    • Idno: A48
    • Date: 1938-11
    • Title: Letter Book [became The World and Ourselves]
    • Editor: Riding, Laura
    • Title: The World and Ourselves [former title: Letter Book]
    • Author: Riding, Laura [contributor; with Sally Graves, Sir Edward Marsh et al]
    • Editor: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Chatto & Windus
    • Date: 1938-11
    • Title: Times Literary Supplement
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Times London
    • Date: 1902-1968