As the new year opens, Graves is still hopeful that he and Riding will be able to return to Spain in short order. But as the political situation in the south continues to worsen, this hope seems more and more unrealistic. Graves makes dour reference to the Germans' "sinister intervention" in Spain, and to talk of "the European war's imminence." Later in the month, Germany will launch an unsuccessful attack on Madrid. But despite the political turmoil, Graves continues to buy furnishings and accessories for the house in Deyá. He and Riding arrange for these to be shipped to Spain at the end of the month, prior to their leaving London for Switzerland in February (a move that will allow Graves to avoid paying tax as an English domicile).
In the meantime, January is busy. Jenny is still convalescing at Belleville, and Graves and Riding visit her regularly, as does Nancy Nicholson. Nancy and Graves continue to have frequent - and for the most part collegial - contact with each other throughout the month, as they sort out Jenny's care and as Sam undergoes new treatment for his hearing impairment. Graves is particularly delighted when Sam is able to hear birdsong for the first time, and can carry on a conversation with Nancy from across the room. Mid-month, Jenny undergoes successful surgery in Hammersmith Hospital in West London, and is discharged soon after. Sam is seen off by family members at Charing Cross for a last term at school after Graves buys him a second train ticket (Sam lost the first); Graves seems pleased when Sam later mails him the lost ticket, which he had found en route. Graves' relationship with Catherine is also strong; he takes her shopping and to the films. Relations with brothers Charles and John, however, are strained: Charles is "truculent," and during a visit towards the end of the month John "stayed late talked a lot listened not at all." Sally Graves' marriage to Richard Chilver, though acknowledged in the entry for the 23 January, receives no further comment by Graves.
Despite their own health concerns (everyone is downed by the flu at some point in the month, and Graves continues to fight off various minor ailments), Graves and Riding entertain friends and family at 10 Dorset Street frequently. Riding's birthday celebration enables Graves to indulge in the kind of gift-giving he so enjoys (although he rarely needs the excuse of a special occasion to buy jewellery and pretty things for the women in his life - January sees Graves buying gifts for both his daughters and for friends). These little luxuries, as well as the purchases for the house in Deyá and the financial demands of London social life, undoubtedly contribute to Graves' mournful month-end financial assessment: "We have got through £200 in 3 weeks somehow."
But in writing, the month is a fruitful one. The final proofs of A Trojan Ending are sent off and Constable agrees to publish the book. Riding finishes her "Letter on International Affairs." Work on Epilogue III moves forward, and Graves finishes the first draft of a new poem, "The Exile." Two other poems also meet with Riding's approval: "Jealous Man" and "The Marble Table." Graves begins work again on the Claudius film version,1 and new director von Sternberg seems set to accept Graves' Claudius scenario with very little change. Talks about the refugee film conceived of in the last few months of 1936 continue. And Graves is confident enough to turn down a £2000 offer made by Rich & Corvan for a book to be titled In the Steps of Hannibal. Remarks Graves drily, "I said I didn't go in anyone's steps - H. V. Morton's, Christ's, or anyone's."
There is one enclosure this month: Graves' letter to the editor of the Colne Times.

Editorial Notes

1the "bookstall" version. eds.

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.
  • Belleville

    London, England
    a private nursing home where Jenny Nicholson convalesced in late 1936/ early 1937 RPG 264
  • Charing Cross

    London, England

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).
  • Jenny

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

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

    Graves, Samuel
    R.G.'s youngest child by Nancy Nicholson. C.P.& WG
  • Catherine

    Nicholson, Catherine
    Catherine Nicholson: (1922- ) third of four children of Robert Graves and Nancy Nicholson. eds.
  • Charles

    Graves, Charles Patrick Ranke
    RG's brother with whom he did not get on. WG Estranged from RG in 1937 over Jenny Nicholson's crisis. See RPG p.281 CP
  • John

    Graves, John
    R.G.'s brother. Visited R.G. & L.R. in 1934 with R.G.'s mother. WG
  • Sally

    Graves, Sally
    R.G.'s niece. Daughter of his half-brother Philip. KG
  • Richard

    Chilver, Richard
    husband of Sally Graves RG
  • von Sternberg, Josef
    Austrian filmmaker (1894-1969); involved in the unfinsihed I, Claudius film eds.
  • H.V. Morton

    Morton, H.V.
    (1892-1979), British travel writer and journalist eds.
  • Graves, Robert
    Author of the diary.
  • Goldschmidt, Karl
    Karl Goldschmidt, d.1995, who later changed his name to Kenneth Gay, was Robert Graves' and Laura Riding's personal secretary during the period when the diary was written. He later annotated another printout of the diary produced from the B.A. Graves transcript, which is at the Graves Trust Archives in St. John's Oxford. Notes by Karl Goldschmidt are denoted as KG.
  • 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

  • Constable & Co., Ltd.

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

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.


    • Title: Trojan Ending, A [novel]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: Deyá & London
    • Publisher: Seizin & Constable
    • Date: 1937
    • Title: Letter on International Affairs
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: Chatto & Windus
    • Publisher: London
    • BiblScope: 15-19
    • Idno: A36
    • Date: 1938
    • Title: Epilogue III
    • Editor: Riding, Laura/ Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: Deyá & London
    • Publisher: Seizin & Constable
    • Date: 1937
    • Title: The Exile [poem]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London & Deyá
    • Publisher: Constable & Seizin Press
    • BiblScope: 164-169
    • Idno: B25
    • Date: 1937
    • Title: A Jealous Man [poem]
    • Title: Collected Poems [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassell & Co. Ltd.
    • Idno: A48
    • Date: 1936-11-01
    • Title: At the Marble Table [poem; was The Marble Table]
    • Title: Epilogue III
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: Deyá & London
    • Publisher: Seizin & Constable
    • BiblScope: [138-172]
    • Idno: A33
    • Date: 1936-11-22
    • Title: Claudius Film Version [The Fool of Rome] [a condensed novel based on I, Claudius]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Title: Claudius [the film: based on I, Claudius, directed by Alexander Korda, starring Charles Laughton. It was never completed.]
    • Title: Refugee Scenario [working title of a screenplay for Korda]
    • Author: Graves Robert/ Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1936-11
    • Title: [review of Antigua, Penny Puce]
    • Title: Colne Times
    • Author: Halliwell, Mrs.
    • PubPlace: Lancashire
    • Date: 1937-01-15