JUNE 1937

The month is consumed with the move back to England and Graves' surgery for a fistula (diagnosed soon after his return to London). Travel, health issues and the renewal of old friendships leave almost no time for writing.
Though Graves and Riding had originally given notice that they would leave Lugano on 1 June, the Ewhurst house is not available until 18 June. They encounter difficulties renewing Karl's passport, and the work of packing and settling the account at Lugano seems to take longer and be more expensive than Graves anticipated. The last few days in Lugano are punctuated by the death of General Mola in Spain.
But on 7 June, the trio leaves Switzerland behind and arrives in London to the welcome of friends and family. The next few days are a whirlwind of social activity, and Riding and Graves spend time with Alix Eierman, Harry Kemp, Alan Hodge, Dorothy and Ward Hutchinson (and their baby daughter, Wanda), Honor Wyatt, Norman Cameron and Maisie Somerville. Riding and Maisie's previous disagreement has blown over. A now-healthy Jenny stops by to visit (and to borrow money), and Graves hears from Sally that his brother Philip (Sally's father) plans to marry Kitty Palmer, a decision of which Graves does not approve, although he sends his brother his best wishes later in the month.
While still in Lugano, Graves had begun writing an account of his earlier poems, and work continues sporadically on The Kind Ghost (later The Swiss Ghost). Graves and Riding also compose a letter to the Daily Telegraph, which appears mid-month. Graves has a meeting with Korda, who is still keen to do I, Claudius next year, under better circumstances. Graves agrees to a contract for another film.
While in hospital recuperating from surgery, Graves has little energy to write, but manages to finish drafts of two poems, "Leda" and "Mercies." Also while in hospital, Graves receives news that Gelat has been released from prison. Weakened from the surgery and overwhelmed with relief, Graves weeps at the news. The month ends on an emotional note as well, with a visit from his sister Clarissa, whom Graves had not seen for a decade.
There are three enclosures this month:
  • An envelope from Deyá postmarked 7 June, 1937. Addressed to Juan Vives in Rennes.
  • A telegram to Riding from Anita, dated 24 June 37, announcing Gelat's release from prison.
  • A letter in Spanish from Laura Riding to Robert Graves (transcription in English provided).

Hands Referenced

Places Mentioned

  • Lugano

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

    Ewhurst, Surrey, England
    Highcroft, the house RG and LR rented with Harry and Alix Kemp between July and November 1937, was located there. eds.
  • Rennes

    Rennes, France
    where Gelat's daughter, Anita, and son-in-law, Juan Vives live; visited by RG and LR et al in 1938 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).
  • 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.
  • Mola

    Mola, General
    1887-1937; General in the Spanish Army eds.
  • Alix Kemp

    Kemp, Alix
    Married to poet Harry Kemp. The couple shared a house with Graves and Riding in Ewhurst, Surrey (1937). eds (RPG 277); also referred to as Frau Eierman by RG eds. see Diary August 30, 1936
  • 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)
  • Alan

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

    Hutchinson, Dorothy
    Ward Hutchinson's wife. WG
  • Ward

    Hutchinson, Ward
    Photographer. Contibuted to"Epilogue." W.G. R.G. often refers to "the Hutchinsons" (Ward & Dorothy) as a couple especially when they were staying on the island. eds.
  • 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.
  • Maisie

    Sommerville, Maisie
    Head of BBC Education broadcasting department. Friend of R.G. and L.R. Arranged accomodation for them when they returned to London as exiles. W.G., eds.
  • Jenny

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

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

    Graves, Philip
    R.G.'s half brother. WG
  • Kitty Palmor Graves

    Palmor, Kitty
    Married to Philip Graves, R.G.'s half-brother. eds
  • Korda

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

    Graves, Clarissa, Janie
    R.G.'s sister who was in charge of children's broadcasting in Palestine. R.G. and she were estranged from 1932 until the fall of 1936. See RPG p 273 CP
  • 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
  • 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

  • Editors

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.


    • Title: The Swiss Ghost [formerly The Kind Ghost] [novel]
    • Author: Graves, Robert/ Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1937-04-22
    • Title: Daily Telegraph
    • PubPlace: London
    • Date: 1856-1936
    • Title: Claudius [the film: based on I, Claudius, directed by Alexander Korda, starring Charles Laughton. It was never completed.]
    • Title: Leda [poem]
    • Title: Collected Poems [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Cassell and Co. Ltd.
    • Idno: A48
    • Date: 1937-06-13
    • Title: Mercies [poem]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Date: 1937-06-29