OCTOBER 1938

The rains set in, and Graves works in his bedroom with the fire going. He reads over The Swiss Ghost , having lost touch with the piece, and begins working on Chapter 9. He begins a children's story, eventually titled " The Castle-Keeper ," and also drafts two new poems, "Adam and Death of God" (later referred to as " The Worm Gods ") and "The Suicide" (later titled " The Suicide in the Copse "). He continues to work on the dictionary project with Riding and Hodge.
Riding drafts two new poems, " When the Skies Part " and a piece about habit. She is also overloaded with other work: the dictionary , The Swiss Ghost , Rimbaud , Greeks and Trojans , "Aristotle" for Lives of Wives (which continues to give her trouble), a children's story, and Year of Damage with Alan. Notes Graves, she "never goes out of the house."
There is a bad review of Riding's poems in the Times Literary Supplement , to which Graves replies "suitably." Although it does not print his letter, the Supplement writes a "smarmy" reply to Graves, and Graves writes hotly back. The business ends with Riding cancelling her 10-year subscription to the publication. But there is good news this month as well: Methuen has accepted Harry Kemp's Left Heresy .
Dorothy Simmons and David Reeves bring gifts and other items from England, including Graves' moss-agate box from Mary Lucy, and a bound copy of the T. E. Lawrence proofs. The month includes ketchup-boiling and mushroom-picking (with Dorothy, who has never gone before). A move to make blackberry jam with the leftover berries is quashed by a sugar shortage due to general hoarding.
Also this month is a distressing letter from David Graves, "saying that Graves could afford - he knew from nameless informants - to send the whole family to university & that he didn't propose to try for a college scholarship," and that he bore grudges against Graves for his childhood and for his handling of Jenny's difficulties. Graves spends much of the day answering the letter. Also disconcerting is Anita's announcement that she "does not now know, after all, if she is having a child."
There is more disturbing news from Europe: The Germans have entered the Sudetenland, and German passports held by Jews are cancelled; Riding and Graves worry about Georg Schwarz.
Alan's birthday provides an enjoyable diversion; there is a surprise party in the chapel with friends and food. But Graves accidentally leaves a lamp smoking in Riding's room; they come back to find everything covered in a layer of fine soot. Graves cleans until 3:15, while Laura works on "Aristotle."
There are two enclosures this month:

Hands Referenced

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).
  • Alan

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

    Simmons, Dorothy
    Sculptor associated with the Graves-Riding inner circle (1938-39). Married to Montague Simmons. eds
  • David Reeves

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

    Nicholson, Jenny
    Jenny Nicholson: oldest daughter of Robert by Nancy Nicholson.
  • Anita

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

    Schwarz, Georg
    German Jew. Deyá neighbour. Antique dealer. Lived with Frau Emmy Strenge, his house keeper, in Can Caballo some hundred yards from Canellun. RG and LR translated his "Almost Forgotten Germany." WG
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Methuen Publishing

    Methuen Publishing
    Publisher of Harry Kemp's The Left Heresy eds.
  • Editors

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.

Bibliography

    • Title: The Swiss Ghost [formerly The Kind Ghost] [novel]
    • Author: Graves, Robert/ Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1937-04-22
    • Title: Castle-Keeper, The [children's story; unpublished?]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Date: 1938-10-30
    • Title: Worm Gods, The [poem; published as The Worms of History (Check drafts in Buffalo for this title. DW)]
    • Title: Poems 1938-1945 [1945]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassell
    • Idno: A58
    • Date: 1938-10-12
    • Title: Suicide in the Copse, The [poem]
    • Title: Poems 1938-1945 [1945]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassell
    • BiblScope: 11
    • Idno: A58
    • Date: 1938-10-27
    • Title: Dictionary [projected project; unfinished]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1935
    • Title: When the Skies Part [poem; see Friedmann 321-2]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1938-10-03
    • Title: Translation [prose: unpublished?]
    • Author: Graves, Robert, Riding Laura
    • Date: 1936-02
    • Title: Trojan Ending [dramatised version based on Laura Riding's book; later called Greeks and Trojans]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Date: 1938-01
    • 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: Times Literary Supplement
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Times London
    • Date: 1902-1968
    • Title: The Left Heresy in Literature and Life [the essay "Politics and Poetry" comprises the closing section of this book.(RPG 278) eds.]
    • Author: Kemp, Harry/ Riding, Laura/ others
    • Editor: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Methuen
    • Idno: B29
    • Date: 1939
    • Title: T.E. Lawrence to His Biographer
    • Author: Lawrence, T.E.
    • Editor: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: New York
    • Publisher: Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc.
    • Idno: A49
    • Date: 1938