MARCH 1937

The continuing unrest in Spain nags at Graves; political undercurrents shape many of the diary entries this month. March opens with the news that Gelat has been jailed. Three weeks later, Graves learns that he has not yet been released, and still no charges have been laid. Graves' observations include frequent updates on the war, and he notes the general tenor of "moral shock" at the Italians' defeat. Tom Matthews sends a press clipping from the New York Times about shootings in Majorca. These are "anxious times," muses Graves, marked by his buying "too many newspapers."
In work, too, the month begins in a dissatifying manner: early on Korda declares that the Claudius script is not ready, although shooting of the film had apparently begun two weeks previously. Though Graves continues to work on the Claudius film version throughout the month, the diary entries suggest that he is finding himself more and more uninspired; he begins to measure his progress by how many words he has left to write, or how many chapters he has left to go. Then, towards the end of the month, as he is finishing the piece, he hears rumours that the film is likely to be scrapped; needless to say, these developments are frustrating.
The final page proofs of Epilogue III are done mid-month. Riding receives several answers to her "Letter on International Affairs." Both Antigua, Penny, Puce and A Trojan Ending receive favourable reviews in America, and Random House expresses interest in publishing some of Riding's poetry. Graves begins to put together another collection of his own poetry, and works on the drafts of four new poems: "The Fallen Tower of Siloam," "Jack," "Victory," and "The Wounded Man."
A busy work month is complicated by news from London: Jenny is ill again - with pleurisy this time - and wishes to come to Lugano to recuperate. Graves advises against this, instead suggesting that perhaps a cruise would be more appropriate. News also arrives of the death of Mary Hale.
But the days are also peppered with small pleasures: dinners and outings with Schwarz and Strenge (and Schwarz's son Nickel), and a day-trip by car to Italy with Walter and Violet McCormack. Graves makes poetic observations about the natural world: on a walk to Sorengo, Graves sees "all Lugano coming home to supper, with bunches of windflowers in hand"; one evening late in the month he makes note of "snow on hills, hoar-frost at night, lake rising"; and on a walk with Karl during a break in the weather on a particularly dreary day, he writes of "small white useless crocuses in the woods."
There is one enclosure this month: a clipping about the Claudius film, entitled "Laughton as Claudius."

Hands Referenced

Places Mentioned

  • 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
  • Lugano

    Lugano, Switzerland
    near the Italian border, where RG and LR spent part of 1937 eds.
  • Sorengo

    Lugano, Switzerland

People Mentioned

  • Robert

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

    Más, Juan Marroig
    Juan Marroig Mas, called Gelat: Landowner on Deyá and friend of Robert Graves and Laura Riding (L.R. & R.G.'s factotum. W.G.)
  • Tom

    Matthews, T.S.(Tom)
    American journalist. Took sabbatical from TIME and arrived in Deyá in 1930. Involved from then on with L.R. and R.G. WG
  • Korda

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

    Hale, Mary
    Welsh maid at Nottingham Place, sister Violet eds.; later, maid for RG and LR at Dorset St. "Laura pinched [her] from Kitty West" eds. KG
  • 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
  • Strenge

    Strenge, Frau Emmi
    Schwarz's house keeper and ? mistress. WG
  • Nickel

    Schwarz, Nickel
    Son of Georg Schwarz.
  • McCormacks

    McCormack, Walter & Violet
    Tenants of Ca'n Torrent. Had two daughters: Jennifer, a dancer, & Betty. Continued their friendship with Robert and Laura in England. 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.
  • Laughton

    Laughton, Charles
    Actor. Was to play 'Claudius' in the film version of R.G.'s book, "I, Claudius".
  • 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.

Organizations Mentioned

  • Random House

    American publishers (New York) eds.
  • Editors

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.


    • Title: New York Times
    • PubPlace: New York
    • Title: Claudius [the film: based on I, Claudius, directed by Alexander Korda, starring Charles Laughton. It was never completed.]
    • Title: Claudius Film Version [The Fool of Rome] [a condensed novel based on I, Claudius]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Title: Epilogue III
    • Editor: Riding, Laura/ Graves, Robert
    • 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: Antigua Penny Puce
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: Deyá & London
    • Publisher: Seizin & Constable
    • Idno: A46
    • Date: 1936
    • Title: Trojan Ending, A [novel]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: Deyá & London
    • Publisher: Seizin & Constable
    • Date: 1937
    • Title: Fallen Tower of Siloam [poem]
    • Title: Collected Poems [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassel and Co. Ltd.
    • Idno: A48
    • Date: 1937-03-19
    • Title: Victory [poem] [Presumably "Defeat of the Rebels". (Check drafts in Buffalo for this title.) DW]
    • Title: Collected Poems (1938)
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassell and Co. Ltd.
    • Date: 1938-11
    • Title: The Wounded Man [poem; discarded according to RPG (p. 270); Not traced. Apparently not published. DW]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Date: 1937-03-31