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Robert Graves's Biography

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Robert Graves, the son of the Irish writer Alfred Graves and Amalia von Ranke, was born in Wimbledon on 24th July, 1895.

He was educated at Charterhouse School. Graves enlisted in the British army at the outbreak of World War I and became a Captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, serving on the Western Front until July 1916, when he was seriously wounded.

According to The Guardian's obituary of Beryl Graves: "After the first world war he had resisted psychiatric treatment for his shell-shock, because he feared that a cure would make him a less interesting writer. It was, he said, "less important to be well than to be a good poet"."

After World War 1 Graves studied English literature at St. John's College, Oxford.

In 1925 he met the American poet Laura Riding, and they moved to Deya in Mallorca in the year of the publication of his respected autobiographical work Goodbye To All That, and following his separation from his wife Nancy Nicholson.

Graves and Riding set up a small artistic community in Deya, and during this period, Graves wrote the famous works I Claudius and Claudius The God and many of his respected love poems.

However, Robert Graves and Laura Riding fell out and with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Graves returned to England.

Soon after Robert Graves got together with his wife-to-be Beryl, who at the time had been married to his friend Alan Hodge.

After World War II, Graves settled down in Deya again, but this time with Beryl.

As well as writing fiction and poetry, Graves was a respected classical scholar and wrote the acclaimed work The Greek Myths and translated the likes of Lucan and Suetonius for Penguin Classics.

In his foreword to the 1960 edition of The Greek Myths, Robert Graves wrote:

"I have myself eaten the hallucigenic mushroom, psilocybe, a divine ambrosia in immemorial use among the Masatec Indians of Oaxaca Province, Mexico; heard the priestess invoke Tlaloc, the Mushroom-god and seen transcendental visions."

Between 1961 and 1966 Graves was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University.

He died on 7th December 1985, having had 8 children. Four with Nancy and four with Beryl.

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