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1. I, Claudius : From the Autobiography
2. The Greek Myths: Complete Edition
3. King Jesus: A Novel
4. The White Goddess: A Historical
5. Graves: Collected Short Stories
6. Good-Bye to All That
7. The Big Green Book
8. The Complete Poems (Graves, Robert,
9. Count Belisarius
10. Ich, Claudius, Kaiser und Gott.
11. Swifter than reason: The poetry
12. Conversations with Robert Graves
13. Robert Graves: Life on the Edge
15. Robert Graves: His Life and Work
16. Robert Graves (Bloom's Modern
17. A Wild Civility: Interactions
18. The Anger of Achilles: The Iliad
20. Claudius the God: And His Wife

1. I, Claudius : From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54 (Vintage International)
by Robert Graves
Paperback: 468 Pages (1989-10-23)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067972477X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Considered an idiot because of his physical infirmities, Claudius survived the intrigues and poisonings of the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and the Mad Caligula to become emperor in 41 A.D.A masterpiece.Amazon.com Review
Having never seen the famous 1970s television series based onGraves' historical novel of ancient Rome and being generallyuneducated about matters both ancient and Roman, I wasn't prepared forsuch an engaging book.But it's a ripping good read, this fictionalautobiography set in the Roman Empire's days of glory anddecadence. As a history lesson, it's fabulous; as a novel it's alsowonderful. Best is Claudius himself, the stutterer who let everyonethink he was an idiot (to avoid getting poisoned) but who reveals himselfin the narrative to be a wry and likable observer. His story continuesin Claudius the God. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (170)

4-0 out of 5 stars I Claudius, the candid "autobiography" of a brutal dynasty
This "autobiographical novel" is written in first person (Claudius), and the novel feels as such, with the reader always embedded in the future emperor's perspective. This is already a great achievement, a fiction autobiography that reads like it was a real memoir.

The account of Claudius' life and his assent to emperor are entertaining and informative. Most of the historical "facts" are taken from Suetonius' Twelve Caesars. Robert Graves adds to this a consistent and detailed narrative of events. The reigns of Augustus, Tiberius and Caligula are explained in great detail. It is, however, Livia (Augustus' third and last wife) who has the most influence in the events that unfold at the outset of the Roman Empire. She is the spine that holds the story and the book together.

It's understandable why this book is a classic of historical novels. Graves really makes you feel that you're reading Claudius (and not him). The research is comprehensive and, most important, the novel is fun and entertaining, but also deep in humanism. One can even understand how humans in that roman society (i.e. the nobility) understood life and how that defers (or is similar) from our own experience.

I'm only giving this edition 4 stars because the editors could do a better job. The story is full of characters, and one gets lost at times. An Glossary and a Family Tree would be helpful.

5-0 out of 5 stars I CLAUDIUS

5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece - truly
This book is amazing.I was shocked and amazed at how well written and researched it was.It read almost exactly like an authentic Roman history of Plutarh or Suentonius.This should make it a must read for any classicist -

for those who are not, the book is still excellent and engaging, and informative.the veneer he pastes over everyday roman life, and how he fills in the blanks in our collective history, is quite impressive.

I recommend to anyone and everyone.Thumbs thumbs thumbs up! over and over, thumbs up.Excellent book.

5-0 out of 5 stars First Rate Historical Fiction
As part of my "advance reading" for a trip to Rome this past summer, I read Robert Graves' "I, Claudius". I found Roman history rather intimidating - it's so rich and varied, and the sources are so many, that it was hard to find the right place to jump in. And so I began with history "lite" - historical fiction. I started with "Claudius" to tap into this key period of Roman History - the early Empire and the first emperors. I sought history "lite", though there's nothing particularly light-weight about Graves' masterpiece.

Graves' seminal work, which is also well known from its British TV offering, is dense. It's not for those looking for nice light beach reading. "I, Claudius" is an exceedingly well-crafted history of the first four Emperors of the Roman Empire - roughly 30 B.C. when Augustus rose to sole power, through Tiberius and Caligula, to 41 A.D. when Caligula is murdered, and Claudius is declared emperor.

Graves gives voice to his story by writing through a series of Claudius' own memoirs. The bulk of the book focuses on the empire's first two emperors - Augustus and Tiberius - and the rather strong willed, smart, and devious Livia, Augustus' wife and Tiberius' mother. Much of the story's perspective is naturally biased however much Claudius (and Graves) posit alternative opinions on who murdered whom, by what method, and whether or not anyone really cared.

One must keep in mind how much of the story is "history" and how much is "fiction". I've dug into a good bit of Roman Empire non-fiction and have found many of the stories to be consistent with at least some of the ancient sources. Even in the non-fiction realm, there's plenty of room for debate over facts and details.

The book contains an inordinate amount of detail around historic names and relationships, but I realized about half-way through that this was a necessary evil considering the topic.

"I, Claudius" is beautifully written, and creatively conveys the nature of lives lived in near omnipotence, as well as fear and paranoia. Claudius comes across as erudite, insightful, rational and caring. His musings on palace intrigue run from humorous to serious to sad. "I, Claudius" is one of those rare epic tales that will drift into your consciousness well after you've finished. It's also one of those stories that will push you into wanting more. And fortunately there is more.

Grave's "Claudius the God" covers his reign and unfortunate taste in spouses (Messalina and Agrippina, who ultimately poisoned him). While not as strong as "I, Claudius", it'll feed your need for Roman intrigue.

3-0 out of 5 stars So-So
I seem to be in the minority on Amazon, but, having jut finished I, Claudius I have to give it 3 stars.It was mildly entertaining, but didn't make me want to read the sequel.Considering that I, Claudius ends with Claudius being proclaimed emperor (kind of a cliffhanger) not wanting to see what happens is an obvious sign that something just didn't work.Other reviewers disagree, but this book just isn't a page turner (like The Ruby in Her Navel: A Novel, particularly historically accurate (like Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome), or very intellectual (like The Name of the Rose.If it is none of the above, why bother? ... Read more

2. The Greek Myths: Complete Edition
by Robert Graves
Paperback: 784 Pages (1993-04-06)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140171991
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In a work that has become a classic reference book for both the serious scholar and the casual inquirer, Graves retells the adventures of the important gods and heroes worshipped by the ancient Greeks. Each entry provides a full commentary which examines problems of interpretation in both historical and anthropological terms, and in light of contemporary research. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not quite what i was searching for:
While this book is very informative & covers a great amount of Greek mythology in depth; i was looking for something more concise.
I would however, recommend it if this is what you are searching for.I was looking for a quick reference book covering the subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars Greek Mythology: Fiction or Fact?
Like no one before him Robert Graves is able to tell the Greek legends about gods and heroes for modern readers. In 'Greek Mythology' he proofs that by his outstanding way of telling stories and by his impressive knowledge of Greek mythology he can capture the imagination of contemporary readers.

Greek myths didn't form a logical and metaphysical unit like the Bible does. Many variants of the same mythological story existed in the Mediterranean world.
The main text constantly refers to an extensive list of notes, comments, and mythology sources after each story. At the same time Robert Graves gives one ore more interpretations - or variants -of the same story. Mostly more than one interpretation of the myth because from one story there were many variants depending the region in Greece where the story was told.

In his introduction he gives a very interesting account about early societies who created the main body of mythological stories. In the beginning those societies were matriarchal (see Demeter and her daughter Persephone). Many myths can only be explained by using elements from those matriarchal - and later on patriarchal, see Zeus and his father Chronos - societies. In a very captivating way Robert Graves explains the change from a matriarchal society into a patriarchal society.
Many myths tell in some kind of a literary code - for instance the birth of Athena (goddess of Wisdom): she rises out of the head of Zeus! - the change from matriarchy into patriarchy.

Robert Graves's main literary source is the so-called 'Apollodori Bibliotheca' (Library of Apollodorus).

3-0 out of 5 stars could be a lot better
I didn't bother finishing this one.The text is akwardly constructed, as if it has been translated poorly (though it wasn't) and the content comes across as a fairly superficial treatment of the mythology.However it does preserve the violence, sex and such not that would be mostly glossed over in other books with this level of detail.It also has an awful lot of pictures of pertinent Greek art.

So on the whole, it's so-so, but there are a ton of other books on this material and I'd rather read a better one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly, but accessible.
I ordered the Graves book "The Greek Myths" because I was looking for book that would explore deeply the various Greek myths without being inaccessible to a newcomer--I've never read anything on the Olympian deities above a third-grade level.On the second count, Robert Graves succeeds perfectly, with an almost overwhelmingly broken down table of contents that lets the reader easily and quickly find the myths he's looking for.The prose is somewhat difficult without being obtuse--younger readers might feel out of place--but I liked the usage.

On the first count, he also seems to have done a wonderful job.The anecdotes are fleshed out without being wordy, and include popular alternative conceptions.They are meticulously documented from their Greek (or Latin) sources, and eminently readable.

In addition to compilation of Greek Mythology, Robert Graves includes his historical and mythological analysis of the myths.On the one hand, it is excellent, and Graves is well able to show off his mastery of mythography by finding in the myths clues for various Hellenic invasions or the deaths of various sacred kings.On the other hand (as other reviews have noted) every third page is a reference to the Moon Goddess in Triad.This in no way detracts from the rest of the work, but it dulls the impact a little of Graves' commentary for casual readers.

In sum, I recommend this book for readers who have some background in the Greek mythology, but would like to learn more.Those interested in Graves' research on the Moon Goddess might prefer his other book, the White Goddess.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
First half of Greek mythology reference and stories.

A swashbuckling adventure story writer Graves most certainly wasn't, but that didn't stop me reading this many times.Of course, in a more reference oriented version as this there are many, many notes etc. to let you delve into this as deeply as you like.

4 out of 5 ... Read more

3. King Jesus: A Novel
by Robert Graves
Paperback: 424 Pages (1981-10-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$6.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374516642
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
King Jesus, long out of print, is one of the most controversial historical novels of all time. In it, Robert Graves has summoned his superb narrative powers, his painstaking scholarship, his wit and unsurpassed ability to recreate the past, to produce a magnificant portrayal of the life of Christ on earth.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Look at Jesus the Jew
So used are Christians to think of Jesus' words as revolutionary and idiosynctratic that Graves won me over instantly when he points out the truth: Jesus was a Pharisee, a follower of the great Hillel.Jesus preached the Pharisee-an doctrine of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."No, that wasn't an invention of Jesus'.Jesus did call those Pharisees who didn't act as they preached, "hypocrites." That is no surprise.Pharisees were human, after all, and hypocrisy is an all too-human failing. I know when I first read the Gospels, I was struck by the fact that everything Jesus said had been taught to me in Hebrew school. I also note that Jesus himself is not quoted as claiming to be more divine than other people. The Gospel writers and Christian commentators make such claims, but Jeus doesn't.Graves does present Jesus as a human conceived via the usual channel, but Graves is, as I am, reverent towards Jesus.This is no icon-smashing work.

Two passages stand out for me. One is the hilarious send-up of pagan scholars, all of whom claim to be sons of Abraham, "proving" to Jesus that all the prophets and women in the Jewish Bible are actually dervived fromMiddle Eastern and Greek mythologies.Their reasoning is baroque, tenuous, and spurious.They make analogies where none can be made.How like many scholars, then and today.

The other is the marvelous (in the literal sense of that word) passage in which Jesus recites an arcane passage from Ezekiel and then proceeds to interpret it in a fascinating and, to me, innovative way.I must admit I haven't delved into the extant literature on the exegesis of Ezekiel, but Graves blew me away.Those more familiar with religious interpretation may tell me I was wrong, but I still found the entire passage breathtaking

Less believable to me was the celibate marriage between Jesus and Mary, Lazarus' sister.I don't know what sources Graves had for such a marriageor if he just made this up. That's one of the problems with getting your facts from a novel.Within the novel, the marriage makes sense and fits in with the theme of the Three Mary's. As history or theology, however, I need some footnotes.

Again, Graves presentation of Jesus as the rightful descendent of Herod, therefore, the rightful heir to the throne of King of the Jews, is novelistically sound, but historically? I have no clue.Again, someone more versed in 1st century history might be able to shed light on this.

Overall,I found this an awesome, sometimes difficult read. It raised many provocative issues, and many fascinating descriptions of the times, which were dreadful. Graves's presentation of Jesus as a brilliant preacher who should not be considered a magician fit into my own concept of Jesus who is, after all, the most influential personage in the Western world. If people have spent time readingThe DaVinci Code, they certainly should be willing to invest time in reading King Jesus.It's based upon Graves's considerablescholarship and his vivid imagination.

I wish someone would undertake an annotated version of this novel on the model of the Annotated Alice or the Annotated Sherlock Holmes. The annotator(s), however, should be Classicists and Religious Studies scholars with expertise in the 1st century CE.I envision such a work as a collaboration between Christian and Jewish scholars.

5-0 out of 5 stars immaculately researched
King Jesus: A Novel

This book, though a novel, is a stunning tour de force on history of the time of Jesus.Robert Graves presents a detailed history derived from multiple sources including Jewish and New Testament scriptures, contemporary historians (particularly Josephus), and lesser known works such as the Nag Hammadi gospels which had been recently discovered when the book was written. In doing so, he derives a plausible and very human historical Jesus, including his lineage as a legitimate heir to the throne of David.

The book held my interest from beginning to end.To me was very readable, and brought the era to life. It would be more difficult to come to grips with, however, for someone who did not have prior interest in and knowedge about the times.

The only fault with the book is that it was published 60 years too soon, at a time when its contents were probably widely seen as heretical.Now that the historical Jesus is better known outside of specialsed academic circles, the book should be better appreciated.

Janice Nelson

4-0 out of 5 stars Graves - typically iconoclastic and typically good
I didn't plan on reading this book (and the thematically related Eve: A Novel of the First Woman) around Easter but that's how things worked out. Graves always enjoys turning readers' perceptions upside down in his historical novels (I'm afraid my recollection of the Julio-Claudians will be forever colored by I Claudius and its sequel). And his erudition is astounding. You may not accept his interpretations of Greek myth (The Greek Myths) or of the pre-Indo-European goddess cults (The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth) but you have to grant him a mastery of the sources common and obscure that few can equal.

In King Jesus Graves exploits every contradiction in the canonical Gospels, the Apocrypha, Jewish tradition and Gnostic writings and combines it with pre-Hellenic religious traditions to write the "real story" of Jesus' ministry. Graves makes no concession to later Christian mythology. Jesus believes he is a Jewish Messiah sent to "destroy the works of the Female" (more of that later). Other nations may be saved but it would be under the hegemony of a Jewish savior of a restored Israel.

The book purports to be written by Agabus the Decapolitan during the reign of Domitian (AD 81-96); a pagan who once succored a follower of Jesus during one of the persecutions. This source vouchsafed to Agabus the real story because he believed himself to be the last survivor and wanted to preserve the true tradition of who Jesus was and why he acted as he did. I don't know if Agabus is a historical figure; knowing Graves' exhaustive research into obscure texts, he may very well be but he's a believable narrator for the story: disinterested but sympathetic. Graves also makes it a point to relate the story through the eyes of a first century AD, educated citizen of the Roman Empire. Agabus is not an atheist or skeptic, he worships his gods and accepts that Jesus could, for example, raise a man from the dead by uttering God's true name or heal people based on his own strong faith and the faith of his followers.

The first part of the book recounts the birth of Mary, her life and Jesus' birth. It would be too confusing to recount all the background but suffice it to say that Mary is the scion of the matrilineal line of high priestesses displaced by the patriarchal worshipers of the Sky Father who overran the Middle East and among whom are the ancestors of the Jews. This displacement was not total, however. For millennia, the invading patriarchs have had to win legitimacy by marrying the priestesses and honoring the goddess (in her many manifestations). This is where Christians may get "nervous": In order to legitimize the Herodian dynasty, the Jewish High Priest of the time (Simon) concocts a scheme whereby Herod's first son, Antipater, weds Mary and their issue will reign as a king acceptable to the entire Jewish nation. The first half of the plan goes well: Mary and Antipater are secretly married and he manages to get her pregnant with Jesus. Publicly, Mary is wed to the septegenarian Joseph of Emmaus. After this, alas, things fall apart. Antipater is not the most politically savvy operator and falls afoul of his father's raging paranoia, forcing Joseph, Mary and Jesus to flee to Egypt.

Part two of the novel recounts Jesus' childhood. Here Graves follows the traditional narrative fairly closely but motives and reasons are very different - Jesus' mentors are grooming him to become the Messiah and he's fully cognizant of the role he's destined to play, if not it's exact form. This section ends with Jesus' marriage to another Mary, also an heiress to the ancient priestesses, and his laming, symbolic of his position as the Goddess' consort. There's also an extended scene with yet another Mary, the Hairdresser (aka the Magdalene), an old priestess, where she and Jesus debate radically different interpretations of the ancient tablets on which the Jews base their Law:

"Mary said: `See where my Mistress, the First Eve, is seated on her birth-stool under the palm-tree. The people are awaiting a great event, for the pangs are upon her.'

"Swiftly, Jesus answered her: `No, witch, that is not the First Eve: that is Deborah judging the Israelites under the palm-tree of Deborah. For so it is written.'" (p. 251)

Denied political power, Jesus comes to see his Messiahship in a far more symbolic and important light: Rising beyond the flesh (the Female) and bringing an era of spiritual enlightenment that will free men and women from carnality and the snares of the flesh. Women aren't to be excluded from the Kingdom but they and men can only enter by denying the flesh - becoming neither male nor female.

In reference to the Yahweh cult's accomodations with goddesses, there is a growing body of archeological evidence confirming it. The God of the Jews and the New Testament we're familiar with - alone, transcendant, omnipotent, etc. - wasn't created until the Deuteronomic reforms of King Josiah in the 7th century BC (The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts).

Part three follows Jesus' ministry as he preaches to the Jews. Again Graves follows the traditional narrative on the surface but motivations are very different. From confidence in the success of his mission and the coming of the Kingdom, Jesus knows despair and realizes that he has failed - he tried to "hurry" God's dispensation, the sin of pride and presumption. He tries to redeem the situation by getting Judas (the most perceptive of the Apostles) to slay him as the traditional sacrifice but Judas doesn't want to kill Jesus, his friend and teacher, and betrays him to the Jewish authorities on the understanding that Jesus' supporters in the Sanhedrin (Pharisees, mostly) will save him. Again, plans go awry and it's a Sadducee-dominated quorum that turns him over to the Romans. Peter is Jesus' last hope but he can't understand what Jesus wants and uses his sword to try and defend him in the famous garden scene where he cuts off a soldier's ear. (Of course, it doesn't help that Jesus is less than straightforward in asking his disciples for help.)

Hopefully, this barebones account of this remarkable book will encourage readers to check it out. Beyond its provocative subject matter, it's a good novel in its own right. And I'll take this opportunity to highly recommend Paula Frederickson's Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity. It's a nonfictional perspective on "the greatest story ever told" that tries to make sense of Jesus' life in the context of 1st century Palestine and does so in a very persuasive argument.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas, tedious execution
Robert Graves always did considerable research for his historical novels, and this one is no exception.He had clearly read deeply about the religious traditions of the ancient world, not just Judaism, and it shows here.The result is an interesting version of the story of Jesus, which stresses his Jewishness, and explains his philosophy entirely in the context of Jewish belief.There is also a back story on his parentage which puts the title "King of the Jews" in a very different light.

Our fictional narrator is one "Agabus the Decapolitan", writing ca 90 A.D., who briefly met Jesus, when he, Agabus,was a child, and has been fascinated with him ever since.Historically, this was a time when Christian doctrine was very unsettled, somewhat exacerbated by those gentiles who wanted to become Christians without being subject to Jewish law.Agabus has some critical comments about "Gentile Chrestians" (sic), and the ways in which they distort the teachings of Jesus.

There's something here to offend everybody who is inclined to take offense at a discussion of ideas.Believing Christians may well object to the demystification of many of Jesus's actions, the natural explanations for such occurrences as the miracle of the loaves and fishes, for example.They may also object to the narrowness of his mission, since he is clearly concerned primarily with the Jews, not with all mankind.

On the other hand, resolute non-believers may lose patience with the failure to provide a natural explanation for other supposed miracles, and the implication that there are some actual supernatural goings on.Of course, one could point out that the narrator does not claim to have witnessed most of the story himself, but is relying on the best information he has been able to get from others.

Some Jews, Christians, and for all I know, Muslims, may take exception to the way Judaism is tied to earlier pagan beliefs, and pagan remnants are found in Jewish practice.

There is, then, the material here for an interesting take on the foundation of one of the "great" religions.Unfortunately, it does get rather tedious at times, with extended discussions on mythology, religious traditions, and mysticism.Although I did not take offense at anything, there were lengthy passages that I found rather a hard slog.The philosophical maundering might be easier to take if I could convince myself that anything of actual importance was being said.

Recommended then, mostly for those who have enjoyed Graves' other work, and want to see what he's done with this story.Probably not the best book of his to start with.

3-0 out of 5 stars His weakest effort
The book has some interesting ideas. There are several problems however:
1) Most of the writings from ancient times have been lost, so he bases his theories on what has survived, which is very incomplete.
2) He too heavily pushed his white goddess theory
3) His command of Hebrew seems to be limited. For instance he writes Son of Adam. This is the literal translation of Ben Adam which means person. No one really means it as son of adam.
... Read more

4. The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, Amended and Enlarged Edition
by Robert Graves
Paperback: 512 Pages (1966-01-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$8.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374504938
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The White Goddess is perhaps the finest of Robert Graves's works on the psychological and mythological sources of poetry. In this tapestry of poetic and religious scholarship, Graves explores the stories behind the earliest of European deities—the White Goddess of Birth, Love, and Death—who was worshipped under countless titles. He also uncovers the obscure and mysterious power of "pure poetry" and its peculiar and mythic language.
Amazon.com Review
Robert Graves, the late British poet and novelist, was alsoknown for his studies of the mythological and psychological sources ofpoetry. With The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of PoeticMyth, Graves was able to combine many of his passions into onework. While the book is so poetically written that many of thepassages amount to prose poems, it is also frequently plot drivenenough to feel like a novel, and it is rich with scholarly insightinto the deep wells of poetry. Especially fascinating is the chapterin which Graves explores the ancient and ongoing practice of poets'invoking the muse. Graves details the practice in both the Eastern andWestern literary traditions, and shows specific similarities anddifferences among Greek, British, and Irish tales and myths about themuse. Graves has much to offer students of history and myth, butpoetry lovers will also be fascinated with The White Goddess. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars Genius
I've read this cover to cover twice and there it is, still on the nearby bookstand. I suppose the third time I may understand some of it. Graves here explicates the true meaning of poetry, taking us back before man gods to a female creation myth that will forever unveil for you the origin of everything ever written. True, it is like listening to a space visitor who is describing exactly how to make a ray gun like his, yet you forgot your pencil and notebook and so listen and nod and know you won;t remember it tomorrow.

Graves speaks (spoke)lots of languages, but apologizes for being weak in ancient Welsh. I found that somewhat unnerving as confessions go, but it has very little to do with my difficulties following his thesis. Is Graves mortal, at all? It's a good question by about page 5. But if you read his autobiography, "Goodbye to All of That", it's clear enough that he is one of us. Which I0guess isn't much of a comfort at all, really.

Penetrate this tome and "The Wasteland" will fall open for you like a comic book!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Elf Goddess
Someone gave us this book...
dear lovers of myth, magic, poetry and druidic/celtic lore,
... and it was 15 yrs before we ever got to reading it and we did so, finally because we felt a certain obligation in the nature of the gift. However, although this is a book that requires some effort from the reader, we were so glad we finally got to it.
In it Graves attempts to demonstrate through logical inference that the ancient ovates, bards, poets, druids, etc. of the Celtic peoples had a secret language hidden in poetry involving the meaning of trees. He cannot prove this, due in large part to the Romans who murdered most of the Druids and the Druids being primarily an oral tradition, but his arguments are well made and convincing, at least to these elves. From this point he explores much of myth and poetry in general and says some profound things.
For us, and this is just an elf thing, we loved the section where he explored the meaning of the word Albion (the ancient name for Britain) and demonstrated that the word Alb (elf) coming through the Germanic goes back to the Greek word for white... thus Albion means the Land of the White Goddess. He does not directly make this inference himself, but by the same token it was obvious to these elves that it could equally be translated into the Land of the Elf Goddess.
If you love the poetic underpinnings of that most poetic of peoples, the Celts, you will find this a very rewarding book.
the silver elves

1-0 out of 5 stars He doesn't back up any of his hypotheses
If you want a true book on Celtic myth and not some made up, undocumented treatise of some guys imagination then do NOT buy this book. Buy The Gaelic Otherworld, or the Carmina Gadelica, or Irish Bardic Poetry by Bergin.Buy anything but this book because you WON'T find the truth that you're seeking in it's pages.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Personal Opinion
This is a very difficult book to read..and it is meant to be. I believe it needs to be read 2 or 3 times to really grasp the whole thing. But, this I can guarantee:you will discover many things that you never even dreamed existed. This book is for the scholar and the amature alike.
Robert Graves considered himself a Poet first and foremost, but wrote prose to pay the bills!!! The kind of poetry this book deals with is ancient.Originally it was sung by Bards primarily in the Celtic world, but dated back to the Ancients- Hebrew, Aramaic,Egyption, Greek,Pelasgian Minoan, Myceanean and eventually reaching the British Isles where it was learned in Insular and Continental Gaelic, all using secret and sacred means to pass it on. For the most part it was learned by rote, or memory, long before being written down. This is a subject that is difficult to grasp...but once fully understood leads to many new/old ideas,it is one of the best books I have ever read [and I have read ALOT]. It is a must read for those studying comparative religion, Mythology, Ancient Civilizations, Etymology, the Goddess [and later Gods] Paganism, Wicca, etc.I cherish it so much I have 2 copies!!!Blessed Be.

5-0 out of 5 stars in the search of the buck
this is the best book i readed. i made it by the portuguese translation, but it's all there. for the studants of paganism, wicca, witchcraft and old religions, it is a must. the history and the links among centuries, folks and cultures, since the stone ages. in ours days, is an outrage to call someone a poet. the inspirations of the fillis, the ollaves, the bards and menestrels are hughest than we can imagine. the gwion riddling poesy are a surprising lifting up the veils! that book must be the first one, to who wants realize the pagan path. ... Read more

5. Graves: Collected Short Stories (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)
by Robert Graves
Paperback: 304 Pages (1993-08-30)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$29.95
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Asin: 0140184848
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A collection of short stories by the author of "Goodbye To All That", "Claudius the God", "I, Claudius", "Seven Days in New Crete" and "Wife to Mr Milton". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Read "The Shout"; skip the rest; stick to other writings of Graves
"The Shout," in this collection, may be the finest short story I have ever read.It makes the book worth buying.But the rest of the stories in this book never held my attention.They are not poorly written; they are simply not very interesting.Graves's poetry, autobiography, translations, and many of his novels are generally far superior to anything here, except for "The Shout."Short story writing, whether fiction or nonfiction, just does not seem to have been Graves's dish of tea.

5-0 out of 5 stars Collected Memories
I had the particular fortune of reading this collection of Robert Graves' short stories after finishing his acclaimed autobiography, "Goodbye to All That;" together they form a compelling portrait of one of the most influential writers of the past century.In every biographical sketch of Graves his autobiography is given equal mention as his poetry and his best-known works like "I, Claudius" and I now understand the reason: his life's story is just as entertaining and informative as any of his fiction.Thus, to read this volume of stories as autobiography is to explore the life of Robert Graves.Thematically, the stories are divided into three sections - English Stories, Roman Stories, Majorcan Stories - each serves a different function.The "English Stories" comprise memories from Graves' youth spent at boarding school, witty scenes from social engagements such as one might come across in the works of Evelyn Waugh, and even a supernatual dream-tale told by an inmate at an insane asylum.The stories are also poignant, for they remind us of what Graves witnessed in the Great War, a memorial of his son who was killed in the Second, and ultimately they are scenes from a world and a life which Robert Graves left behind when he said "goodbye" to England in 1929.The "Roman Stories" are a treat to those who have read his two "Claudius" novels or his other historical fiction; they are ancient cultures for modern sensibilities.And the "Majorcan Stories" are leisurely tales to be spun after dinner on a warm Mediterranean evening - they are the stories of Graves' new life, stories of bicycle thieves, doomed Majorcan nobles, an errant Broadway producer and, improbably, the story of how Ava Gardner saved a furniture factory.The reader cannot help but get the sense that Robert Graves if speaking directly to us, telling us his own story without judgment or reservation.And perhaps most importantly, we are being entertained. ... Read more

6. Good-Bye to All That
Paperback: 404 Pages (1995-09-28)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$18.94
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Asin: 1571810226
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Thus begins Robert Graves' classic 1929 autobiography with its searing account of life in the trenches of the First World War; and yet this opening passage, together with much significant material, has been unavailable since 1957, when a middle-aged Graves totally revised his text,robbing it of the painfully raw edge that had helped to make it an international bestseller. By 1957 major changes in his private life had taken place. Graves was no longer living with Laura Riding, under whose influence and in whose honor the original had been written. By cutting outall references to Riding, by deleting passages which revealed the mental strains under which hehad labored, and by meticulously editing the entire text, Graves destroyed most of what he hadmade so powerful but also removed from it the only context in which it could be fully understood. We are pleased to offer the original 1929 edition on the occasion of Graves 100th anniversary, edited and annotated by Robert Graves's nephew and biographer, whose lucid introduction greatly enhances its value. Richard Perceval Graves lives in Shrewsbury, Britain, and has published Robert Graves: TheAssault Heroic 1895-1926 (1986).His most recent publication is Richard Hughes (1994) another book on his uncle, Robert Graves and the White Goddess, is scheduled for 1995.Amazon.com Review
The quintessential memoir of the generation of Englishmen who suffered in World War I is among the bitterest autobiographies ever written. Robert Graves's stripped-to-the-bone prose seethes with contempt for his class, his country, his military superiors, and the civilians who mindlessly cheered the carnage from the safety of home. His portrait of the stupidity and petty cruelties endemic in England's elite schools is almost as scathing as his depiction of trench warfare. Nothing could equal Graves's bone-chilling litany of meaningless death, horrific encounters with gruesomely decaying corpses, and even more appalling confrontations with the callousness and arrogance of the military command. Yet this scarifying book is consistently enthralling. Graves is a superb storyteller, and there's clearly something liberating about burning all your bridges at 34 (his age when Good-Bye to All That was first published in 1929). He conveys that feeling of exhilaration to his readers in a pell-mell rush of words that remains supremely lucid. Better known as a poet, historical novelist, and critic, Graves in this one work seems more like an English Hemingway, paring his prose to the minimum and eschewing all editorializing because it would bring him down to the level of the phrase- and war-mongers he despises. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Customer Reviews (60)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Good-bye to all that" anAutobiography
Robert Graves autobiography was written at the age of thirty-three.This was his first great work. He had lived a life that for an ordinary man nothing more would have been expected.
Yet Robert Graves went on to become one of the great authors of his generation. Robert Graves went though the Somme and lived to tell of it.His is a story of the First World War from the English side of no-mans land.And as a great author he tells the story very well.He also tells of his return home, which is a rare glimpse into the life of a World War One veteran.
One thing to remember, skip the introduction, read the book
and then read the introduction.Books usually don't come with
instructions, this one should.

4-0 out of 5 stars the end of an era
The world of "Upstairs Downstairs" could not long survive the The Great War.This autobiography exposes the horrors of trench warfare, the ineptitude and calousness of the officers, and the blind willingness of the soldiers to obey their "betters".We are greatful that Robert Graves survived to bear witness and to fortell the end of an era.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but . . .
I guess I should have looked a little closer. I loved Graves' Claudian works, and, as a history buff, I've been doing some reading on the First World War lately; I got all excited over the combination of Graves and his army experiences.

What I neglected to notice was that is an autobiography, not just a war chronicle. The narrative begins with his childhood and winds slowly on to his military service, and even that is not covered with what I would think of as "vigor".

Graves is very reserved in this work; I am tempted to say even distant. The reader will not find here much of the engagement encountered in the works of, say, William Manchester, Robert Leckie, or even Samuel Eliot Morison. He relates his experiences with all the enthusiasm of one reading aloud from the phone book. Even when dealing with events that must have affected him deeply, his demeanor is remarkably detached.

I expect this may be attributable to his placement in a time and culture rather different from our own (even the English have learned to giggle in the intervening years) and perhaps his style was appropriate for his audience. I found it uninspiring.

He did provide for me a few new insights into life in the trenches, but far fewer than I would have liked. He struck me as being more about his place in society than his place in the war.

Although I was disappointed, another person might find what Graves offers here quite compelling for the same reasons I found it deficient, so I still feel I can recommend it to those with different priorities.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good-bye to all that is the best British memoir written on World War I
Robert Graves (1895-1985) is best known as a poet and the author of "I Claudius" and "Claudius the God." He lived most of his life in Majorca, was twice married and sired eight children. Graves was a member of the lost generation in which the British Empire saw nearly one million of her sons die on the battlefields during World War I.
Good-bye to All That is Graves memoir of his early years. He came from an upper middle class family. His father was a school inspector and minor poet. His mother came from a German family the Von Rankes. Graves was well educated but did not receive his degree in English Literature from Oxford until he returned to civilian life following service with the Royal Welch Regiment in the war.
Good-bye to All That's best section deals with Graves service in the war. We experience with him the hell of combat in the French trenches. Trenches filled with rats, insects and body parts floating in water. Men gassed and murdered with impunity by large shells. Stupid donkey officers leading lion hearted men to certain death in suicidal charges over the cursed territority of No Man's Land. This was the hellacioius landscape, the Dantean inferno which swept Graves and his generation into a maelstrom of suffering and death.
During his military service Graves became a friend of the poet Siegfried Sassoon. He, Sassoon and Wilfred Owen wrote poetry expressing the angst and horror of warfare.
Graves married his first wife living on the money received from both of their families. He met Thomas Hardy and T.S. Eliot and members of the Bloombsbury Group. Graves was a good friend of the famous T.H. Lawrence of "Lawrence of Arabia" fame. He said goodbye to....
postwar England and civilian's inability to understand the reality of warfare in the trenches
the rigid British class system
the hypocrisy and greed of modern industrial life.
Graves taught English in a Cairo university, traveled widely and became a respected man of letters. He writes in a plain, unadorned reportial style telling us what he saw and felt during his baptism of fire on the front lines. Good-bye to All That is one of the finest first person accounts of modern warfare ever published. It is a classic which should be included in classes on World War I joining its fictional counterpart Eric Marie Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front" as an essential in World War I literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Robert Graves memoir
I have been a student of military history my entire life, and feel that this is one of the most powerful and well-written soldier memoirs that I've ever encountered. ... Read more

7. The Big Green Book
by Robert Graves
 Paperback: Pages (1990-04-30)
list price: US$4.95
Isbn: 0689714025
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A little boy finds a big green book in the attic, learns many handy magic spells, and changes his unpleasant aunt and uncle into likable guardians. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Magic, as usual
I love Sendak, and this is no exception.Sly, irreverent, and (because it's Graves) not completely kind to anyone involved. I don't know whether I'd recommend it for kids who are either sensitive or prone to mischief, but I'd wholeheartedly recommend it for adults who love the illustrator!

5-0 out of 5 stars I finally found it listed in amazon
I am 45 and I got this book (in german: das grüne Buch) as a gift when I was seven. I never forgot it. Once, when I was in 3rd grade, I took it to school and our (mathematics) teacher read it out loud during class. The teacher himself was touched by the book and came to me, and assured that it was a very fine book.

I appreciate both artists, Graves and Sendak.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure Delight
This is truly a wonderful book.I notice it is being reprinted in Spanish, but not in English.Publishers take note and bring this charming book back!

5-0 out of 5 stars fantastic
Wish this book would be reprinted! I can't believe it's no longer available.Anything with illustrations by Maurice Sendak is great. It is suspenseful, with sly humor. I read it to many classrooms and kids lovedit. Bring it back.

5-0 out of 5 stars MY childhood Favorite
I had this as a child and I have looked for years to find a copy to give my niece and nephews.I know they are big readers and I wanted them to have the same experience I had with this book.It is one of the fondestmemories of my childhood and I will not give up the hope of finding a copy. ... Read more

8. The Complete Poems (Graves, Robert, Selections.)
by Beryl Graves, Dunstan Ward
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2001-01)
list price: US$60.95 -- used & new: US$37.49
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Asin: 1857541715
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The fourth title published as part of the "Robert Graves Programme". This text is the first of a three-volume collection of Graves's poems. It restores hundreds of poems that Graves omitted from the canon or overlooked in his continual refinements. It may lead to a revaluation of his entire poetic oeuvre. Other titles in the series are "The Centenary Selected Poems", edited by Patrick Quinn and "Collected Writings on Poetry", edited by Paul O'Prey. ... Read more

9. Count Belisarius
by Robert Graves
Paperback: 576 Pages (1982-10-01)
list price: US$36.00 -- used & new: US$39.95
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Asin: 0374517398
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The sixth century was not a peaceful time for the Roman empire. Invaders threatened on all fronties, but they grew to respect and fear the name of Belisarius, the Emperor Justinian's greatest general. With this book Robert Graves again demonstrates his command of a vast historical subject, creating a startling and vivid picture of a decadent era.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Historical Novel
I have had a copy of Count Belisarius for many years and have recently been re-reading the novel, hence this review.I, Claudius and Claudius The God have, unfortunately in my view, stolen all the attention so that Robert Graves' other novel tend to be forgotten.Books like Hercules, My Shipmate deserve to be as popular as Claudius and, likewise, Count Belisarius.

Unlike Claudius, the events of the book are related by the eunuch Eugenius, who is a trusted slave to the family of Antonina.The book relates a lot of history in the opening chapters as the political setting of the Eastern Empire is brought up to date by Eugenius; he then describes the early years of his mistress Antonina and Belisarius, and how they meet at the banquet of Belisarius' uncle Modestus - love at first sight.The book continues describing the rise to prominence of Belisarius, his wars against the Persians, Vandals and Goths and his relationship with Antonina.Theodora and Justinian receive more attention at the beginning of the book and certainly less as the story is told but the book is about Belisarius and the focus is his career.

Mr. Graves writes beautifully.One of the memorable passages describes the surrender of the Vandal king Geilimer who had been suffering great privations hiding out with the Moors.

"I (Eugenius) was present at the meeting, in attendance on my mistress, and I was witness of King Geilimer's pitiful and strange behavour. For, as he came toward Belisarius, he smiled, and the smile changed to hysterical laughter, and the laughter to weeping.There were tears in Belisarius' eyes, too, as he took the former monarch by the hand and led him into a neighbouring house for a drink of water. He laid him down on a bed and comforted him as a woman comforts a sick child."

Robert Graves goes beyond simply relating Procopius' Secret History; he is Eugenius and provides us with a balanced view of the events in the life of Belisarius and Antonina; the gossip of Procopius, like Antonina's relationship with her god-son Theodosius, is tempered by what probably was a minor indiscretion in a complicated relationship.A lesser writer would have had Antonina and Theodosius in bed.For me, Robert Graves brings the period of the 6th century to life and creates real people of the people inhabiting this time.If the book seems boring perhaps it is because the times are less familiar than the early Roman empire and peopled with individuals to whom it is difficult to relate. Perhaps, too, the bickering between Orthodox and Arrian Christians is of small interest to many readers but I have found it of interest that Christian's in the early centuries of the faith were more at odds than one would think.

So if you have not read Count Belisarius I can without hesitation recommend the book as some of the finest writing of Robert Graves.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting but missing something
This is a novelisation of the life of Belisarius, the great Byzantine general. It is basically a sober account of Belisarius's life as told by the slave of Belisarius's wife Antonina. Graves used Procopius's The Wars (and to an extent the Secret History [Anecdota]) as his main sources. He portrays the political situations, the fickle, tyrannic nature of the emperor Justinian, the machinations of court and horrors of war extremely well. Belisarius comes across as divine and stoic - this is taken to its extreme actually. However the book is informative and quite detailed if you're interested in Byzantine history.

However as a novelisation it is missing something. At times it is a bit flat, reading like a plain historical account without too much insight into the characters involved - as one reviewer commented, you might as well read Procopius for this. I only found this fault at times and I think Graves's "coloured" view of Christianity and Byzantine life (as presented through the mouth of the slave Eugenius) was quite meaningful. Still, he could have done more to intertwine and make richer the characterisation of the four main people involved. Justinian, Theodora, Antonina and Belisarius make for such a grand group in their totality (just read any historical account of all 4 of them) that Graves could have done a lot more with the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gripping from the first pages
The more reviews I read and compare to my own impression of the same text and moving images, the less I understand about how people process information and come to conclusions. I couldn't disagree more with some of the reviewers below.
Count Belisarius is richly detailed, filled with anecdotes and unfolding the "reality" of the time, the 6th century, and what it could have been like living in the Eastern Roman Empire and Constantinople/Byzantium. I find myself re-reading paragraphs because of the richness of the language, the images evoked, the deep characterization and the fascinating stories the narrator tells within the novel. I haven't read Procopius, he is on the shelf with the rest of my classics books, but my impression is that Graves has sifted through the source material with a fine toothed comb.
I could make a comparison to Gary Jennings, another master historical fiction writer, and his book, Raptor, which takes place about the same time as Count Belisarius. But Raptor, while a highly rewarding reading experience that I was sorry had to end, was hard to get started on, as many great books are in my experience.

3-0 out of 5 stars A tad boring at times, but a vivid account of real history.
I've read through quite a few reviews here and can't wholeheartedly disagree with most of them. It is true that the plot of this novel can get a bit tedious, and I also agree that the character development is a bit lacking, especially when compared to "I, Claudius" or "Claudius The God . . . " For what it is though, a history of the life and times of the Byzantine Empire's most able general, it is quite good.

This novel is certainly not a good place to start for those new to Robert Graves. New readers would likely decide that Graves' writing style is a bit dry and cumbersome. No, this is really a novel for the seasoned Graves scholar---and honestly, only for those who have a genuine interest in the Eastern Roman Empire.
For those who do, however, this is an absolute treasurebook. In fact, a script of this novel would be suitable material for a History Channel documentary while his others were obviously suitable for the BBC.

It would probably be unfair to compare "Count Belisarius" to the likes of the two Claudian novels, but comparisons are made nonetheless. For the character of Claudius, Graves obviously had to "fill in some blanks." In doing so, he truly brings the character to life. This is not to say, however, that Graves took too many poetic liberties in developing the character---quite the contrary. Graves was, for all practical purposes, an historian. In other words, he always did his homework and when he does have to fill in bits of missing information, he does so in a way that one might logically expect that character to behave/react/decide etc. The same can be said for Belasarius. With Belisarius, however, Graves did not have to be nearly as "creative" as with Claudius, since the details of Belasarius' life are more concrete. Perhaps this attributes to the novel being a bit dry---more factual perhaps, but without the drama.

For the most part, I see in Belisarius a character whose fate was not too different than that of Claudius, or at least his brother Germanicus. Justinian could have easily sufficed for a Caligula, while Theodora reminds one at times of Claudius' grandmother, Livia. This is not necessarily an invention of Graves, but rather my own subtle comparison between several characters with similar attitudes and fates.

Again, this novel should almost be placed in non-fiction since it holds to historical fact almost flawlessly---not exactly, but almost. For this reason, it's a bit tedious as a novel but makes an excellent read for the historian.

3-0 out of 5 stars One of Grave's Poorer Works
The story follows the Byzantine Empire's rule under Justinian and his greatest general, Belisarius. The narrator is the enuch servant of Belisarius' wife who follows him along on his campaigns.

The narrative closely resembles the fast-paced Greek narrative style which focuses more on action as opposed to character development. As a result, the characters appear two-dimensional and seem more like clumsy marionnettes being bounced around the stage of a puppet show. The relation between Belisarius' wife and the Empress Theodora seems to have the most depth in the story because of their unique relationship when they were younger. However, all of the other characters are shallow: the motives to their actions aren't really explored as much as they should be.

Although Graves tries bring forward the same murderous and conspiratorial plots as in "I, Claudius", this seems to come far short. The descriptions of the battles have some merit, particularly those of the Italian campaign and the siege of Rome. I did enjoy his descriptions of the incessant Christian factionalism that pervaded this period; showing how the religion was slowly emerging from its cult origins through the formation of more permanent and politically active institutions.

All in all, I felt as if I would have enjoyed reading a purely historical account of Belisarius more than the novel itself. I wouldn't recommend this novel as a first book to read by Graves for fear that it may bias the reader as to his other great literary work and scholarly contributions.

... Read more

10. Ich, Claudius, Kaiser und Gott.
by Robert von Ranke-Graves
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2002-08-01)
-- used & new: US$75.00
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Asin: 3471785787
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11. Swifter than reason: The poetry and criticism of Robert Graves (Chapel Hill books)
by Douglas Day
 Hardcover: 228 Pages (1968)

Asin: B0007ECVX8
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12. Conversations with Robert Graves (Literary Conversations Series)
Paperback: 208 Pages (1989-10-01)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$14.98
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Asin: 0878054146
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Though he lived most of his life in the remote village of Deya on the island of Mallorca, Robert Graves (1895--1985) was conversant with the most important issues of this century and was acquainted with many of the most powerful people. Jorge Luis Borges called him "a soul above." Graves wrote almost restlessly on subjects of great diversity: myths of the Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, and Celts; modern science and economics; contemporary society and culture as well as of ancient Greece and Rome, of Celtic Wales and Ireland, of the time of Milton, and of the American Revolution.

He was a poet of great fame, a celebrated writer of historical novels, and the man who imprinted the name and identity of the White Goddess upon the cultural language. His translations of Latin classics have been applauded; his recastings of Biblical and Persian texts attracted irascible attention from scholars.

Throughout his long and productive life, whether he was talking with Virginia Woolf, Peter Quenell, Jorge Luis Borges, Alan Sillitoe, Edwin Newman, or Gina Lollobrigida, the voice of Graves remained clear and distinct---attracting and repelling a variety of interviewers with its surety. His books---GOODBYE TO ALL THAT, THE WHITE GODDESS, I, CLAUDIUS, and KING JESUS---preserve his literary art. The conversations in this collection keep alive his presence and passion. ... Read more

13. Robert Graves: Life on the Edge
by Miranda Seymour
Paperback: 544 Pages (2003-08-04)
list price: US$20.65 -- used & new: US$38.95
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Asin: 0743232194
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Written with the blessing of the Graves family, this is the definitive biography of one of our greatest poets and writers. Robert Graves (1895-1985) was one of the greatest poets and polymaths of the twentieth century, whose long life matched the intensity of his imaginative output. From his distinguished exploits in the First World War, described in his memoir GOODBYE TO ALL THAT, to his dramatic relationships with women, most notably the American poet and essayist Laura Riding, his life was one of extremes: he sought pain, took huge emotional risks, and lived as if each day were his last. First published to mark the centenary of his birth, Miranda Seymour's acclaimed biography was written with the full co-operation of the Graves family. Her interviews and correspondence with many people who have not previously discussed Graves in public contribute to a rich and complex portrait of a troubled man and a great creative artist. "I have never been able to understand the contention that a poet's life is irrelevant to his work," Graves said. Miranda Seymour puts Graves's statement to the test in this superb biography and, thrillingly, demonstrates its validity. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant portrait of a unique man
Robert Graves was astonishingly prolific and worked in many genres, so much so that for a while I thought there must be several writers by that name. He wrote lyric poetry, scholarly studies of mythology, drama, criticism, and journalism, he translated from Latin, and is probably best known for his potboilers "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God," works that he considered purely commercial and took little interest in. And, as Miranda Seymour makes clear, he was as odd a duck as ever walked. His life was defined by the women to whom he devoted himself. "Abased himself" would perhaps be the better term. The first and most influential was the American Laura Riding, a second-rate poet who fancied herself some sort of prophetess who would save the world from war and turned Graves into her adoring puppy. Later in life Graves devoted himself to a series of young women, each of whom he claimed embodied "the goddess" in whose service he thought he dwelled. Seymour (a novelist herself) writes beautifully, and with the cooperation of key members of the Graves family she has produced what will surely be the definitive biography of Graves for years to come. She brings to life his almost effortless genius but never stoops to hero worship--she is unstinting in her examination of his faults. Here we see every aspect of Graves: his brilliance, his foolishness, his free spirit, his sexual repression, his generosity, his egocentricity. It is a portrait as fully round as one could possibly want. ... Read more

by Robert Graves
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-01-14)
list price: US$1.05
Asin: B0026RI0XE
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15. Robert Graves: His Life and Work
by Martin Seymour-Smith
Hardcover: 672 Pages (1995-06-08)
-- used & new: US$18.81
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Asin: 0747522057
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This biography was first published in 1982. Martin Seymour-Smith had known Robert Graves since early boyhood, and had lived in his house for more than three years. He wrote it with Grave's help, at his home in Deya, while Graves' (sometime) mistress and muse, the notorious Laura Riding, was still alive. Since then, some of the material Seymour-Smith deliberately suppressed has been aired, and is no longer as sensitive as it was. In this revised, expanded and largely rewritten edition, he sets the record straight. ... Read more

16. Robert Graves (Bloom's Modern Critical Views)
 Library Binding: 197 Pages (1987-03)
list price: US$29.95
Isbn: 0877546444
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17. A Wild Civility: Interactions in the Poetry and Thought of Robert Graves (Literary Frontiers Edition)
by Patrick J. Keane
 Paperback: 110 Pages (1980-07)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$10.00
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Asin: 0826202969
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18. The Anger of Achilles: The Iliad (Penguin Classics)
by Homer
Paperback: 384 Pages (2009-04-28)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.54
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Asin: 0140455604
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Robert Graves's dynamic retelling of Homer's powerful epic poem

This edition of Homer 's Iliad , retold with authority and grace by the incomparable Robert Graves, takes a revered classic back to its roots as popular entertainment. War is raging between the Greeks and the Trojans. Achilles, the great warrior champion of the Greek army, is angrily sulking in his tent and refusing to fight, after an argument with his leader, Agamemnon. But when the Trojan warrior Hector kills Achilles' beloved friend Patroclus, Achilles plunges back into battle to seek his bloody revenge-even though it will bring about his own doom. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent translation idea; dialogue is stiff; no map
In the introduction, Graves writes that he wants to make the Iliad entertaining again, as it was meant to be, and that he wants the modern reader to have an experience with the tale roughly comparable in feeling to the experience of the ancient listener.Consequently, Graves ditches the dactyls and the hexameter, claiming that they were mostly just mnemonic devices for the storyteller.He also chucks out a few lines and character descriptions he contends are tedious and repetitive.Like a novel, the translation is in prose, with bits of verse thrown in on every other page or so.

Graves mostly succeeds in his aim.But sometimes the dialogue is overblown.E. g., Patroclus speaks the following faint words to Hector, immediately before dying after at least two stab wounds:"Boast of your triumph, son of Priam!It was given you by Zeus, Son of Cronus, and by Apollo, who had no difficulty in disarming me - they unbuckled my corslet!Otherwise I could have dealt with a score of champions as strong as yourself. Fate, in the person of Apollo, struck the first blow; Euphorbus struck the second; you, the third!But be warned, you cannot live much longer.I see Death and Fate hovering near; for Achilles the Aeacid will avenge me."Perhaps Graves is just being faithful to the Greek, but I doubt that any of Graves's fellow Welch fuseliers talked in that operatic way as they died in the trenches.

Regardless of the translation, whether the Iliad is entertaining is not an idle question.The story is 99% just descriptions of killing, with and without the help of the gods.Achilles and his heel remain intact at the end, and the Trojan horse never appears.

Contrary to the back cover, the book does not include a map of the ancient Mediterranean world.That would have been helpful.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Readable Homer
The reputation of The Ancients in the modern age depends on translators, and most of them, whatever their claims to accuracy, are poor representatives of the "great writers" they mediate for.

Even the combination of great writer and great writer translating is not a recipe for success, since the two talents may end up at odds. Dryden's Virgil, Pope's Homer, and Ted Hughes' Ovid stand as pretty much the isolated exceptions to that, and try selling either of the older works to a high school class not given to thoughtless veneration of the classics.

More rare are translations that free us of the venerable and illuminate freshly what was thrilling about the original (I am thinking here of Marcia Falk's Song of Songs, which has driven the ponderous King James out of my head for good).

Bad translations -- which is to say, translations that capture the words but not the sense of literary excitement -- are worse than none at all. And what the literary call "loose" translations (with a slightly archaic, sneering double entendre) are the best for capturing that. So give me Robinson Jeffers' Medea over the more pedestrian and reverent, Pound's "translations" over any competitor with more reverence (if scarcely more credentials).

And give me Robert Graves' Iliad, The Anger of Achilles, which brought this classic to life for me fifty years ago and was almost as much fun to read again last summer, over Lattimore, Fagle, whoever. What does it have going for it?

First, it is meant to be read, not recited. Read aloud if you dare. Like the new Sioned Davies' translation of the Mabinogion, Graves' Iliad is meant to be performed, not merely studied.

Second, Graves captures an element that should shape the entire enterprise of reading the Iliad: the arrant, narcissistic stupidity of most of the "heroes." It's refreshing to think that Homer, that greatest of all poets (as we are to say), didn't take these blustering idiots seriously. If you enjoyed the 2007 Beowulf partially because it revels in the testosterone-addled "jock lit" element of the original, as Beowulf's thanes sing him to sleep with dirty limericks about girls from Iceland, you will love this Iliad. It is, after all, like Beowulf, an epic poem peopled with football stars.

In a word, if you want to read the Iliad reverently, with respect, please find the Pope translation and no complaining. But if you want to know why Homer's epic has survived for What? 4,000 years? then by all means, read The Anger of Achilles.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best translation of the Illiad ever
I'm not sure why this book is no longer in print.It is easily my favorite Illiad, and it isn't as if Robert Graves isn't well known in this area.Get one of the used copies and you'll keep coming back to it. ... Read more

by GRAVES Robert
Hardcover: Pages (2004-01-01)
-- used & new: US$124.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000J30O18
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Everything you want to know about Jason, the Golden Fleece, the Argonauts and the voyage of the Argo.
This is the story of the mythic voyage of Jason and the Argonauts. In summary, the myth tells how Jason assembled a crew of Greek heroes and sailed the ship Argo to Colchis where he seized the Golden Fleece from King Aeetes and eloped with his daughter, the princess Medea. Most readers can readily understand Menelaus wanting to recover his abducted wife Helen from Troy, but what exactly was the Fleece and why would anyone want it? This book provides the answers. There are many versions of the myth, but with his unparalled knowledge of the classical world Robert Graves (widely recognized for I, Claudius) produced an outstanding, comprehensive and readable version. He synthesizes different primary sources into one whole. An alternative to consider is a translation of the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, which is one of the sources used by Graves.

Readers will learn the nature and history of the Golden Fleece. The book begins with events that took place long before the voyage of the Argo and concludes with a summary of what became of the major characters. The cultural milieu within which conflicts between Greek city states arose is described in detail.

In his version Graves deconstructs most of the mythic elements. Thus, the sons of various gods become children born to temple prostitutes of the appropriate deities. Hercules is a big, garrulous drunkard with a large club. This may seem unappealing, but the characters in Greek myth are morally ambiguous anyway and Graves' Hercules grows on one as an unstoppable force of nature, no less impressive than in the traditional version. When he is sober his arrows never miss and he is indomitable in battle. Conflicts between the gods are explained as conflicts between different forms of worship. They are thus transformed into the machinations of this or that priest against a rival at a different shrine. This seems reasonable. What I find fascinating about Graves' writing is his use of his own idiosyncratic elements within an otherwise familiar story. In The Golden Fleece he introduces the background theme of religious conflict between an older matriarchal form of worship of the Triple Goddess (a sort of Earth Mother like that of many primitive religions) and a new patriarchal worship of Olympians headed by Zeus, imported by the conquerors of mainland Greece in the pre-historic times shortly before the voyage of the Argo. In this telling nymphs are female acolytes of the Goddess to whom marriage and submission to a male are anathema, but who promiscuously `company' with available men as it suits them. This is anthropologically dubious but could represent an ancient Greek male fantasy/fear that manifested as stories of Amazons, etc.

The book is a little long-winded at times, but it is comprehensive and educational. Readers will learn everything they want to know about Jason, the Golden Fleece, the Argonauts and the voyage of the Argo. ... Read more

20. Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina
by Robert Graves
Paperback: 544 Pages (1989-10-23)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679725733
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Robert Graves begins anew the tumultuous life of the Roman who became emporer in spite of himself. Captures the vitality, splendor, and decadence of the Roman world at the point of its decline.Amazon.com Review
Picking up where the extraordinarily interesting I, Claudius ends,Claudius the God tells the tale of Claudius' 13-year reign asEmperor of Rome. Naturally, it ends when Claudius is murdered--believe me, it's not giving anything away to say this; the surprise iswhen someone doesn't get poisoned. While Claudius spends most of histime before becoming emperor tending to his books and his writings andtrying to stay out of the general line of corruption and killings, hislife on the throne puts him into the center of the politicalmaelstrom. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (40)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Claudius the God is good - I would recommend it to anyone - but it is not as good as the first book, 'I, Claudius'

5-0 out of 5 stars ...only three comments
Although I can't say enough about how great this novel is, I'll limit myself to three comments:

1.Along with I, Claudius, perhaps one of the greatest historical novels written in the English language that also passes muster as serious literature- both humorous and poignant at turns; thoroughly researched, based on all historical writings available to Graves at the time.

2.I absolutely recommend you read I, Claudius first.Much of what is implied in Claudius the God is from the first novel-it will also make the payoff of Claudius the God that much sweeter.

3.It's a dense read, and you may find the first 100 pages confusing, but don't give up until you reach pg. 252 in the Vintage International edition, or Chapter 16 which starts "Britain lies in a northerly position... From that point, the novel becomes a virtual page turner, hard to put down, and Grave's genius as both a writer and historian were reaffirmed to me.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not was good as "I, Claudius!"
I was very excited to pick up the conclusion of the story of Claudius told so brilliantly in the first book, I, Claudius.The second book in the series fell short.For me, far short.It simply spent too much time on various campaigns, foreign lands and peoples.I was much more enthalled by the Rome-centric approach of the first book and quite often became board by the second.In fact, once I hit about page 400, I had to start skimming paragraphs and I only chose to read the parts that directly related to Rome. Not highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Enduring & Engaging Historical Yarn
Being neither particularly well read nor well versed in history, I came to this work after listening to an audio tape of "I, Claudius."I had never heard of Robert Graves before, but found both books well-written and entertaining.Not wishing to repeat what has already been noted in the longer reviews posted here, I offer a few observations that may be of interest to those considering reading Claudius The God:

First, Graves is an exceptionally good story teller.Speaking through the character of Claudius, Graves weaves an abundance of minor tales, presumably based on historical sources, through the major story line.Some of these minor tales provide added details that support the characters and plot development, and some serve as pure diversions.But nearly all are crisply told, many are humorous or tragic, and many contain surprising historical details.Gratuitous physical descriptions of scenes and characters were refreshingly absent; these are sparkling tales that might be swapped over the water-cooler.Overall the storytelling style is a bit reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, although not quite as masterful.

Second, Claudius alludes to events and characters from the birth of Christianity in a way that smells of a pro-Christian bias.There's nothing wrong with having a pro-Christian bias, but Claudius would not have had one, and so the narrator's credibility is undermined slightly.These allusions are sparse and the bias subtle, so the overall impact is not too distracting.Perhaps in the same vein, the description of events, attitudes and mores of the characters will not leave the reader nostalgic for the Roman Empire, nor admiring of the main character.There is certainly no pro-pagan bias operating here. Claudius is presented in a sympathetic way, but in the end does not behave heroically.Such are the demands of history.

Third, the writing style is not as compressed as we are used to with most modern authors, whom adhere more closely to the Elements of Style.Graves' style is a bit antiquated in ways probably not intended to convey a Claudian voice.For example, sentences were sometimes longer than necessary and hard to follow.Given the age of the work and its many strong points, this stylistic weakness can be readily forgiven.

If you like historical fiction, try Robert Graves.If you are like me, you will be both entertained and educated.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Follow-up to My Favorite All-time Book
This book is the sequel to "I Claudius" which is my all-time favorite book.Though not quite up to that first book in intrigue and overall flow, it is still a great book in its own right.

There is a lot of rich descriptions of battles undertaken by the now Emperor Claudius that stretch for many pages.Also, Claudius has to deal with the betrayal of his friend Herod as well as his scheming wife Messalina (along with her debaucheries) while Claudius' advisor Pallus is also trying to usurp him.

Claudius' grand scheme to eliminate the monarchy and restore the Republic spawns the evil Nero (though he is not quite as evil as Caligula).Should not be missed! ... Read more

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