Robert Graves in Mallorca
Mallorca was, is and will be for sure a place loved by many artists (of all kinds) and famous people from around the world. The island has it all… the climate, sun, people, nature, inspirational landscape… Robert Graves, one of the greatest English-language writers of the 20th century also appreciated Mallorca. In this article our experts share the information about his life on the island, produced works and amazing views of beautiful Deia town.
Robert Graves was a British poet and novelist born in London in 1895. Third child of Alfred Perceval Graves (Irish) and his second wife Amalie Elisabeth Sophie von Ranke (German). Their family lived in Wimbledon and belonged to the middle-class of the society. He began his first education at six different preparatory schools, and after winning the scholarship joined the Charterhouse. It is one from the list of the original great nine – and prestigious – English public schools, next to f.e. Westminster School or Winchester College. For Graves It was also very important place, because here he fell in love with poetry.
Later in time ready to study in Oxford, needed to make a break due to beginning of World War I. He became an officer of 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. The time of the war was also significant for his works, because very fast Robert earned himself the title of the war poet. In 1916 he published his first work titled Over the Brazier:
¨What life to lead and where to go
After the War, after the War?
We’d often talked this way before.
But I still see the brazier glow
That April night, still feel the smoke
And stifling pungency of burning coke.
I’d thought: ‘A cottage in the hills,
North Wales, a cottage full of books,
Pictures and brass and cosy nooks
And comfortable broad window-sills,
Flowers in the garden, walls all white.
I’d live there peacefully and dream and write.’
WWI had very big impact on his further life, because unfortunately he became badly injured during the Battle of the Somme. When the war was over Graves married Nancy Nicholson and they had four children. In 1925 he finally graduated from Oxford.
Life in Mallorca
“The Majorcan countryside is not at all a place to go in search of inspiration; but admirable for people whose minds already teem with ideas that need recording in absolute quiet. …”
Robert Graves lived in Mallorca between 1929 – 1985. The island was recommended to him by one of his friends – Gertrude Stein. He choosed to settle in beautiful village of Deia in the Tramuntana Mountain Range. It is enough to have a look at the picture below to know some of the reasons 😉
Graves moved to Mallorca after WWI and badly injured. It was not easy recovery time. He focused on his well being, writing and family, married Beryl Pritchard and buildt the house. Writer named it Canallún, which signify the faraway home in Catalan. His life in Mallorca was filled with many gatherings with family, friends and locals, even small ancient shows were played. He became a great member of the Deia town society. Most of his most important works were written on the island. You can some information about it below in the article.
If you would like to visit more lovely places in Mallorca as Deia, we recommed to check our experts recommendations:
He made Mallorca his home till the end of his life, with the break during during the Spanish Civil War and WWII. They came back to the island in 1946 and his flight by air-taxi was the first after war private landing on Mallorca. His close friend and local entrepreneur Juan Marroig took care about his property, when they were abroad, so they came back to their property.
Graves died in Deia and his grave is located next to the church under the cypress tree.
“I found everything I wanted as a writer: sun, sea, mountains, spring water, shady trees, no politics and a few civilised luxuries such as electric light and a bus service to Palma, the capital.”
Works written in Mallorca
Whole list of his works is longer than 140 positions. Here we will focus on some, which he wrote during his life on the island. We can surely say that it was his the most productive time as a writer.
It is a historical novel written in the first-person (form of an autobiography) about the great Roman Emperor Claudius. Claudius was the fourth Emperor of the Roman Empire. The novel consist the history events between Julio-Claudian dynasty period and first years of the Roman Empire. ¨I, Claudius¨ called also a Graves´s masterpiece ranked very high in few literature rankings. As 14th place on the list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library. Another great achievement, place (in 2005) on the list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to present by Time.
If you are not a fan of reading you can enjoy the tv adaptation of this master piece, produced by BBC in 1976.
“Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina”
The sequel of ¨I, Claudius¨ covers the rest of the history of life of Emperor Claudius. The novel was also a great English Literature success.
The story takes us back to VI century and talks about the life of Balisarius – the Byzantine general with extraordinary military skills. Book was published in 1938 and till today is the best work about his life.
“Seven Days in New Crete”
In this novel Robert Graves created a future society based on Triple Goddess believes – Neopagan religious and spiritual traditions. First of all action takes places on Crete and then is moved through the world with Edward Venn-Thomas – a poet. Interesting thing we can see is, that the language created for this special society by Graves is a mix of his languages background. Influenced by Catalan, Celtic, English and Slavic.
“The Golden Fleece”
The Robert Graves Foundation
Right now his house in Deia is open to the public since 2006. All thanks to the union between the Government of the Balearic Islands and the Town-Hall of Deia for creating his name foundation to keep his cultural legacy in Spain alive.
Important to mention that in 1968 Robert Graves was awarded with the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.
Foundation is taking care about the exhibition in the house and visits, national and international cooperations to share the work and Graves´s heritage, organizing events related to his work any many more interesting initiatives.
Hope you enjoyed our article. If you have visited the exhibition in Robert Graves house or Deia town, feel welcome to share your opinion in the comments below.
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