AUGUST 1938

This month sees much work by Graves and Alan Hodge on the dictionary project. Graves is almost finished the final stages of his Collected Poems , and rewrites the introduction "for the severalth time, to Laura's amendments." Later in the month he sends the collection to the publisher. He also drafts two new poems - one about being cross, and one (suggested by James Reeves) about a signpost. He also tackles the proofs of The World and Ourselves .
Riding is working on Lives of Wives ("Aristotle"), and Year of Damage with Hodge. She continues her work on Rimbaud and David Reeves' Furniture (Reeves is visiting for an extended period of time), and helps Hodge and Graves with the dictionary project.
At the castle (La Chevrie), there are various domestic disturbances. Riding is "shouting in exasperation at Modeste, who finds everything pas bon and is an obstinate mule." It is decided that Modeste will be let go, although as soon as the decision is announced, her culinary skills improve: "We are glad that Modeste is going, but she is sad and doing exceptionally good cooking - the best baked-custard ever, for example." There is also evidence that the castle is haunted - both Beryl and Graves have direct personal experiences with a ghostly presence, and various otherwise unexplainable incidents - noises, misplaced objects - could also be attributed to the mischief of an otherworldly character. Beryl attempts to rescue a black kitten that had been attacked by a dog and left out in the rain, but it dies despite her efforts. Later, Yvonne brings her another kitten.
Juan and Anita announce that they are expecting another child; Honor Wyatt suffers a miscarriage. Relations with Norman Cameron disintegrate as he backs out of his role as protocol secretary. It seems nothing can be done to dissuade him from his "disastrous" upcoming marriage to Vandervelde, who has apparently "deliberately quarrelled with Len & Jane & his other friends."
In the diary Graves notes the second anniversary of his and Riding's leaving Majorca. He and Riding also send money to Deyá, though when Nancy Nicholson requests money later in the month, Graves writes back that he has none. But his paternal responsibilities clearly weigh on his mind, for when Random House informs him that the Literary Guild in New York has taken Belisarius , Graves writes that this development "solves the problem of money for the children."
Food is a highlight this month: Graves writes fondly of "sponge cake bought at Montauban with wine & strawberry-jam sauce," and relishes the morning "by ourselves grinding coffee half-roasted at Montauban: made first decent coffee since we arrived in France." Graves and Beryl pick four pounds of blackberries in half an hour by the lake, and Graves tries his hand at making greengage jam. As August ends, the nights become chillier, and the four friends spend evenings by the fire telling stories, while Hitler's threat to invade Czechoslovakia looms in the shadows.
There are two enclosures this month:

Hands Referenced

Places Mentioned

  • Château de la Chevrie

    Montauban-de-la-Bretagne, Brittany, France
    translating as "Venison Castle," La Chevrie was manor of an estate that RG & LR rented with Alan Hodge and Beryl Pritchard during their stay in France in 1938
  • Majorca/ Mallorca

    Majorca, Sp
    Largest of the Balearic Islands, located in the Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of Spain. R.G. and L.R. lived there, in Deyá, from 1929-1936. 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.
  • Montauban

    Montauban-de-la-Bretagne, Brittany, France

People Mentioned

  • Robert

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

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

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

    Reeves, James
    Schoolmaster, writer and Poet. Friend of Jacob Bronowski. W.G./ K.G.; m. to Mary Phillips; daughter Stella born June 14, 1938 eds.
  • David Reeves

    Reeves, David
    Brother of James Reeves [and Ethel Herdman] RPG 292.
  • Modeste

    Dreuxlin, Modeste
    cook and house maid at La Chevrie, France eds.
  • 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
  • Yvonne

    de Gault, Yvonne
    maidservant to RG and LR at La Chevrie, France eds.
  • Juan

    Vives, Juan
    The Doctor's brother. Married to Gelat's daughter. Lived in Rennes, France. WG
  • Anita

    Ana, Anita
    Marroig. Gelat's daughter, married to Juan Vives the Doctor's brother. Live in Rennes, France. 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).
  • Norman Cameron

    Cameron, Norman
    Poet. Built Can Torrent in 1932-1933. W.G.; m. to Elfriede, then to Catherine Vandervelde; friend and contributor to LR and RG's work eds.
  • Catherine Vandervelde

    Vandervelde, Catherine
    one of Korda's scriptwriters; friend of RG and LR, met at Denham studios; contributor to World and Ourselves; married Norman Cameron in September, 1938. eds. Diary, and Friedmann 302
  • Len

    Lye, Len
    New Zealand painter, sculptor, and filmmaker whom LR & RG had met in London. He helped with the Seizin Press publications. WG; married to Jane Lye, son Bix. eds.
  • Jane

    Lye, Jane
    Married to New Zealand artist/ film-maker Len Lye; son Bix Lye. Friends with R.G. and L.R. Visited Graves and Riding in Majorca (1930), where Jane provided secretarial assistance. eds (RPG 138).
  • Nancy

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

Organizations Mentioned

  • Random House

    American publishers (New York) eds.
  • Editors

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.

Bibliography

    • Title: Dictionary [projected project; unfinished]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1935
    • Title: Collected Poems [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassell and Co. Ltd
    • Idno: A48
    • Date: 1938
    • 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: Lives of Wives [prose]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassell and Co. Ltd.
    • Idno: A39
    • Date: 1939
    • Title: Year of Damage [novel]
    • Author: Hodge, Alan
    • Date: 1936-12
    • Title: Translation [prose: unpublished?]
    • Author: Graves, Robert, Riding Laura
    • Date: 1936-02
    • Title: Furniture: An Explanatory History
    • Author: Reeves, David
    • Editor: [Riding, Laura]
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Faber
    • Date: 1947
    • Title: Covenant of Literal Morality, The [subtitle Protocol I; privately printed]
    • Author: Aldridge, John, Dorothy Hutchinson, Lucie Brown, Ward Hutchinson, George Buchanan, Alix Kemp, Mary Buchanan, Hary Kemp, Norman Cameron, Len Lye, Gordon Glover, Albert Mills, Robert Graves, Mary Phillips, Sally Graves, Beryl Pritchard, Liddell Hart, David
    • Editor: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: Bristol
    • Publisher: Western Printing Services Ltd.
    • Idno: A37
    • Date: 1938
    • Title: Count Belisarius [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Cassell
    • Idno: A47
    • Date: 1937-07-21
    • Title: Assumption Day [poem: draft enclosed; see diary Aug. 15th and 18th, 1938 eds.]
    • Title: Robert Graves: Complete Poems Vol. III
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Editor: Beryl Graves and Dunstan Ward
    • PubPlace: Manchester
    • Publisher: Carcanet Press
    • BiblScope: pp.346, 528 (note)
    • Date: 1995-1999