January begins with Belisarius: Graves continues to check the manuscript and finish the preface. Riding, too, makes her edits before the final version is sent to the publisher. A painting by John Aldridge will be used for the cover. Graves remarks drily, "Laura takes 2¼ hours to correct; I, 4 hours to adopt her corrections for each chapter." Graves also writes an article on his Harlech cottage, which he has learned is to be demolished. A new poem, "A Letter from Ernest Neale" (later "The Censored Letter," and then "Safe Receipt of a Censored Letter") is inspired by a letter that Graves receives via Palma more than a year and a half after Neale's death. Graves continues to work on the preface to his poetry collection, and begins a significant new project: the dramatic version of A Trojan Ending (also called A Trojan Ending). Though Graves works late nights and complains of eye fatigue, the weather is unseasonably warm for January and he takes many pleasurable late-night walks, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends.
Riding, too, works late nights on the "Letter Book" (The World and Ourselves). She also makes an address at Manchester University, entitled "The Story of Poetry." Graves is not impressed with "the very low mental age" of the audience; he writes that a "local poet Godwin who calls himself William Blant made ambitious interruptions." Graves and Riding also meet a Miss Hussey, "a birdlike Byzantine Theologian." Graves dismisses Manchester itself as "a dirty place with a clean face."
January sees Jenny Nicholson diagnosed with "catarrhal jaundice" - Graves describes her as "very yellow." Nancy writes to Graves about money and about the possibility of moving to Oxford, and the month includes visits with Sally and Richard Chilver.
The situation with Mary and John Lucy continues to be volatile. Early January Mary writes that John wants nothing more to do with her. John then writes an unbalanced letter to Graves and Riding, "asking for forgiveness between threats." A subsequent letter from John ignites Graves irritation: "Last time it was threats and a 'forgive me.' This time threats and 'you cruel shits!'" Graves and Riding discuss options with Mary and lawyer Patrick Hilberry, but nothing is resolved.
Also this month, Honor Wyatt gets "the sack" from the London Press Exchange. Graves and Riding celebrate Riding's birthday with Alan, Beryl, Alix and Harry: "Alix left a grease-mark on the back of a chair, and a bad impression generally." At the end of January, Alan and Beryl are married, to the great displeasure of her parents.
There is one enclosure this month: a poem to Graves from Jenny Nicholson, entitled "Bills."

Hands Referenced

Places Mentioned

  • Harlech

    Harlech, North Wales, Great Britain
    The location of the Graves family home, called "Erinfa."
  • Palma

    Palma, Majorca, Sp
    Capital and largest centre of Majorca.
  • Manchester

    Manchester, England
    Location of Manchester University eds.
  • Oxford

    home of Oxford University 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).
  • Aldridge

    Aldridge, John
    (1905-1983), painter and close friend and collaborator. WG m. to Lucie Brown 1940 eds.
  • Ernest Neale

    Neale, Ernest
    of Islip post office R.G.
  • 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.
  • Sally

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

    Chilver, Richard
    husband of Sally Graves RG
  • 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).
  • John Lucy

    Lucy, John
    Estranged husband of Mary Lucy; RG and LR are drawn into their marital problems. 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).
  • Alan

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

    Pritchard, Beryl
    daughter of Harry and Amy Pritchard, R.G.'s second wife. Formerly married to Alan Hodge. Robert and Beryl had four children: William, Lucia, Juan and Tomas. 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)
  • 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.

Organizations Mentioned

  • Editors

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.


    • Title: Count Belisarius [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Cassell
    • Idno: A47
    • Date: 1937-07-21
    • Title: Safe Receipt of a Censored Letter [poem: formerly "Letter from Ernest Neale" then the "Censored Letter": see diary Jan. 11-13, 1938 eds.]
    • Title: Robert Graves: Complete Poems, Vol. III
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Editor: Beryl Graves and Dunstan Ward
    • PubPlace: Manchester
    • Publisher: Carcanet Press
    • BiblScope: pp. 40; 450-51 (note)
    • Date: 1995-1999
    • Title: Trojan Ending, A [novel]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: Deyá & London
    • Publisher: Seizin & Constable
    • Date: 1937
    • Title: Trojan Ending [dramatised version based on Laura Riding's book; later called Greeks and Trojans]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Date: 1938-01
    • 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: Story of Poetry, The [Address at Manchester University, Jan 14, 1938 see Friedmann 306]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1938-01-13