MARCH 1939

Spring weather is unpredictable: "Most extraordinary sight. Snow-sleet, green grass, dark sky, evening light, pink budding tops-of-trees in the grove. We were all at different windows."
Graves continues his work on the Dictionary. He also reads Riding's "Painting" "with great excitement." He records having difficulty with the Left Heresy proofs, and grumbles about having to do some rewording: "Proofs still, my God!" He is also writing a blurb for Lives of Wives. These ongoing projects do not seem to leave Graves much time to write anything new.
The whole household battles illness and discontent in March. Graves and the others are sick with the flu, and Beryl develops a bad toothache. Riding quits smoking and reduces her coffee intake - she then has headaches and becomes agitated and nervous, and everyone is affected. Dorothy bangs her head on a chair and knocks herself out.
But despite ill health, the friends are excited about the spring: their hope to travel to America becomes a plan, and Graves makes reservations on the Paris, the same boat on which Riding sailed to Europe more than a decade earlier. On a walk with Alan, Graves talks about Riding "as a focus of love among us." The friends spend the rest of the month packing for the trip to the United States. David Reeves calls unexpectedly from Paris, and then stops in; by the end of his visit, and to the delight of Graves and Riding, he decides to accompany the group to America.
The political situation in Europe is charged: the Germans have seized "Czechland," and when Valencia surrenders, Graves heralds the "end of the Spanish War."
There are four enclosures this month:

Hands Referenced

Places Mentioned

  • Paris

  • Valencia

    Valencia, Valencia, Spain
    City on East coast of Spain 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).
  • 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
  • Dorothy

    Simmons, Dorothy
    Sculptor associated with the Graves-Riding inner circle (1938-39). Married to Montague Simmons. eds
  • Alan

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

    Reeves, David
    Brother of James Reeves [and Ethel Herdman] RPG 292.
  • Marie

    servant at La Chevrie eds.
  • 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

  • CGT Paris

    CGT Paris
    CGT (Compagnie Générale Transatlantique) liner Paris, built in 1912. LR travelled to Europe on the Paris and she & RG booked to sail to America on the same boat, but it was destroyed by fire at le Havre in 1939 eds.
  • Editors

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.


    • Title: Dictionary [projected project; unfinished]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1935
    • Title: The Left Heresy in Literature and Life [the essay "Politics and Poetry" comprises the closing section of this book.(RPG 278) eds.]
    • Author: Kemp, Harry/ Riding, Laura/ others
    • Editor: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Methuen
    • Idno: B29
    • Date: 1939
    • Title: Lives of Wives [prose]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassell and Co. Ltd.
    • Idno: A39
    • Date: 1939
    • Title: Hostage [poem; published as Dawn Bombardment]
    • Title: Poems 1938-1945 [1945]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassell
    • Idno: A58
    • Date: 1939-01-10
    • Title: Serpent, The
    • Title: Collected Poems [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassell and Co. Ltd
    • Idno: A48
    • Date: 1938