JULY 1937

July opens with Graves still in hospital recovering from surgery. It is not an idle convalescence; friends and relatives visit frequently, bearing gifts of food and trinkets and reading materials. From his bed, Graves writes letters and continues to work on his poetry, completing drafts of "Florist Rose" and "To Break Delight," about which he expresses some artistic doubt. He grumbles about Philip and Kitty's marriage - particularly his concern that if his older brother has a son, David will lose his place as the family heir apparent.
On 6 July, Graves is discharged, and on 7 July he and Riding head for the house in Ewhurst along with Harry and Alix. The next few days are domestic: unpacking, buying furniture and arranging the house to suit Graves and Riding's tastes, and employing a maid. Alan Hodge and Karl arrive on 12 July and join the house-beautifying efforts. Graves continues to take things slowly but is in good spirits. The house is "not so depressing as Riding had described it," although Graves admits there are a few aesthetic problems: "How to deal with the ineluctable mauve carpet & the irremediable yellow-brown fire-place tiles?"
As the household establishes a routine, work begins again on The Swiss Ghost, and Riding finishes the preface to her "Letter Book" (later published as The World and Ourselves). Graves is almost satisfied with the introduction he is writing to his poems. He rewrites "Pygmalion to Galatea," "The Stake," and a longer poem called "Angry Samson." He decides to discard "A Wounded Man," but seems happy with the draft of a new poem, "Cataphracts."
This month, Graves also begins work on Belisarius (later published as Count Belisarius). Doubleday expresses interest in Graves and Riding's dictionary project, and Graves sends the finished Claudius film version to Random House. Disappointingly, Constable rejects Hodge's Year of Damage.
Mid-month sees Graves plagued by an abscessed tooth, which must be removed. The resulting pain and discomfort has a dampening effect on both his work and his mood until the end of July.
But there are small celebrations: Riding is charmed by her new kitten, whom she names Celia (later "Solace"). The household marks Graves' forty-second birthday on 24 July with Alix and Harry, Alan, Karl, James and Mary and the poet Mary Lucy, whom Graves meets for the first time. Alix and Harry present Graves with an old English yew bow and a quiver of arrows; some time is spent arguing cheerfully about how best to string a bow. Over the next several weeks, Graves' archery skills improve markedly, and the local rabbits learn to give the man a wide berth.
There are two enclosures this month:
  • 1. Letter to Graves from Riding (in Spanish)
  • 2. Letter to Graves from Sam

Hands Referenced

Places Mentioned

  • 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.

People Mentioned

  • Robert

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

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

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

    Riding, Laura
    (1901-91) American poet. Laura Riding (née Reichenthal; then Laura Gottschalk).
  • 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)
  • 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
  • Alan

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

    Reeves, James
    Schoolmaster, writer and Poet. Friend of Jacob Bronowski. W.G./ K.G.; m. to Mary Phillips; daughter Stella born June 14, 1938 eds.
  • Mary

    Reeves, Mary
    wife of James Reeves; daughter Stella born 14 June, 1938 eds.
  • 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).
  • Sam

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

  • Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc.

    Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc.
    U.S. Publishers
  • Random House

    American publishers (New York) eds.
  • 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: Florist Rose, The [poem]
    • Title: Collected Poems [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Cassell
    • Idno: A48
    • Date: 1938
    • Title: To Break Delight [poem: became "To Challenge Delight"? (Check drafts in Buffalo for this title.) DW]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Date: 1937-07-04
    • Title: The Swiss Ghost [formerly The Kind Ghost] [novel]
    • Author: Graves, Robert/ Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1937-04-22
    • Title: Letter Book [became The World and Ourselves]
    • Editor: Riding, Laura
    • Title: The World and Ourselves [former title: Letter Book]
    • Author: Riding, Laura [contributor; with Sally Graves, Sir Edward Marsh et al]
    • Editor: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Chatto & Windus
    • Date: 1938-11
    • Title: Pygmalion to Galatea [poem; revised July 1937 eds.]
    • Title: Poems (1914-1926) [1927]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: William Heinemann, Ltd.
    • Idno: A23
    • Date: 1927
    • Title: Stake, The [poem; revised July 1937 eds.]
    • Title: Pier-Glass, The [1921]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Matin Secker
    • Idno: A6
    • Date: 1921
    • Title: Angry Samson [poem; revised July 1937]
    • Title: Collected Poems [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassell
    • Idno: A48
    • Date: 1937-07-17
    • Title: The Wounded Man [poem; discarded according to RPG (p. 270); Not traced. Apparently not published. DW]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Date: 1937-03-31
    • Title: Cataphracts [poem] [the initial title on drafts of "The Cuirassiers of the Frontier". See Complete Poems, Vol. II, pp. 80-81, and p. 311 (note and footnote). DW]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Date: 1937-07-20
    • Title: Count Belisarius [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Cassell
    • Idno: A47
    • Date: 1937-07-21
    • Title: Claudius Film Version [The Fool of Rome] [a condensed novel based on I, Claudius]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Title: Year of Damage [novel]
    • Author: Hodge, Alan
    • Date: 1936-12