May 1935

Throughout May, Graves works on the Claudius film version, including 15,000 words of background information. He also goes over the proofs of Riding's Progress of Stories (a collection of short fiction, which is sent off to the publisher later in the month) and drafts the poem "A Foreign Land" (which he will later tear up).
Constable writes, agreeing to undertake distribution for Seizin Press. Edward Marsh writes to let Graves know he has won the Hawthornden Prize for I, Claudius, and asks him if he will be able to attend the award ceremony in England; Graves sends his regrets. The last pages of the Epilogue proofs are finished and sent to the printer, with Len Lye's "Film-Making" added at the last minute.
Graves and Riding have a number of discussions with German friends and acquaintances living in Deyá about Hitler and the prospect of a conflict between Fascism and Communism. Graves and Riding are in sympathy with the political left, but long talks on the subject are both exhausting and discouraging. It doesn't help that the weather for much of the first half of the month is muggy and close. Riding suffers a bad case of dysentery, and Graves' mood is low.
Then, mid-month, Graves and Riding hear the horrifying news of T. E. Lawrence's accident; the diary reflects Graves' distress as he attempts to find out more from Spanish news reports, which are not detailed enough, not in English or do not mention the accident. He must rely on telegrams from colleagues and friends in England. He submits Lawrence's obituary to literary agent Eric Pinker on the condition that it not be used unless Lawrence dies. When Lawrence succumbs to his injuries after several days, the obituary is published in the Evening Standard, and Graves notes that other papers request reprint rights. The obituary attracts the attention of Basil Liddell-Hart, who will later collaborate with Graves on a T. E. Lawrence book project. Korda writes to inquire if Graves will write a film script about T. E. Lawrence - Graves says he will, as long as the Lawrence Trustees agree.
Honor Wyatt writes to confirm her arrival on 22 May with Gordon Glover, the newborn Julian and Mary Phillips. She will also bring the provisions Graves and Riding have requested from England (toiletries, beads, et cetera). The visit is welcome after the heartache of Lawrence's death, and the friends spend time on the beach and in the sun, as the weather improves.

Hands Referenced

Places Mentioned

  • 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).
  • Edward Marsh

    Marsh, Edward
    Influential civil servant and friend of R.G.'s and many others from WW I, also Georgian poets and artists. W.G. & C.P.
  • 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.
  • T.E.

    Lawrence, T. E.
    'Lawrence of Arabia.' Met Robert in Oxford in the early twenties. Made Robert his biographer and had him write "Lawrence and the Arabs." WG
  • Pinker

    R.G. & L.R.'s agent in London. W.G. They later changed to A.S. Watt. eds.
  • Liddell Hart

    Liddell Hart, Capt. Basil
    War-fare expert and friend of T.E. Lawrence. Collaborated with RG on a book of T.E.L'.s letters, published in 1938. See RPG p.231. WG & Eds.
  • Korda

    Korda, Alexander
    Director of the film version of I Claudius.
  • 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).
  • Gordon

    Glover, Gordon
    Married to Honor Wyatt. WG
  • Julian

    Glover, Julian
    Honor & Gordon's baby. WG
  • Mary

    Phillips, Mary
    Visitor. Typed most of I, Claudius. Later married James Reeves. WG
  • Petter, Chris G.
    Project manager of text encoding and annotation.
  • 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

  • Constable & Co., Ltd.

    Constable Publishers. Arranged with them to print and distribute Seizin Press Epilogue and books. WG
  • Seizin Press

    Founded when Robert Graves and Laura Riding began their partnership in London. R.G. and L.R. continued to operate their own press in Deyá, but stopped printing in 1935. Seizin Press published a number of literary works in conjunction with Constable in London, including the Epilogue series, and other works by Laura Riding and their literary associates. eds
  • Hawthornden Prize

    A literary prize awarded to R.G. for "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God." (RPG 224; diary May 12, 1935). Oldest of the famous British literary prizes, founded by Alice Warrender in 1919. eds.
  • Editors

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.


    • Title: Claudius Film Version [The Fool of Rome] [a condensed novel based on I, Claudius]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Title: Progress of Stories
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: Deyá & London
    • Publisher: Seizin & Constable
    • Date: 1935
    • Title: A Foreign Land [poem: unpublished; see diary June 13, 1935]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Date: 1935
    • Title: I, Claudius [novel]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Arthur Barker
    • Idno: A42
    • Date: 1934
    • Title: Epilogue I: A Critical Summary
    • Editor: Riding. Laura/ Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: Deyá & London
    • Publisher: Seizin & Constable
    • Idno: B22
    • Date: 1935
    • Title: Film-Making (Movement as Language; Movement as a Medium)
    • Title: Epilogue I, 1935
    • Author: Lye, Len
    • Editor: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: Deyá & London
    • Publisher: Seizin & Constable
    • BiblScope: 231-235
    • Idno: B22
    • Date: 1935
    • Title: London Evening Standard
    • PubPlace: London