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Gravesiana- Volume 4 Number 4 / Summer 2020


Gravesiana‘s Editor Michael Joseph gives this one-word title to his introduction, below, to his latest number of the journal. It is an appropriate word to use. As Michael writes, edited here only for this website introduction, the bi-ennial conference of the Society was cancelled this September due to travel and other restrictions imposed by the respiratory virus pandemic COVID-19.

It had been our hope that Gravesiana would contribute to the buffet of intellectual and sensual pleasures provided by our President, Charles Mundye, Honorary President, William Graves, and more administrative ones provided by Patrick Villa for the Society and our conference planning friends at St John's College, Oxford. Now we hope it will serve as a partial distraction if not a consolation for their absence. 

We could call this issue the pandemic issue, and, although it wasn’t planned as such, we could point out that many of our articles either have a crisis at their core, probably unsurprising given that they are mostly focused on the life and career of a poet: one who recalled the Irish apothegm, ‘It is death to mock a poet. It is death to love a poet. It is death to be a poet’.  

However, since life must not always be contemplated head in hands, we begin the issue with a crisis-free offering by Dunstan Ward, who shares his experiences of editing and compiling the magisterial three volume Complete Poems he produced with Beryl Graves and was published (1995-1999) by Carcanet Press. 

Alicja Bemben presents the first of our crisis essays, ‘Straddling the Fence’, a virtuoso analysis of the Claudius novels drawing on the historiographical methodology of the American historian, Hayden White. She examines Claudius’s contrasting representations of history, beginning with ontological assumptions that would undoubtedly have been familiar to Graves’s ancestor, Leopold Von Ranke. 

Rather than our continuing to give this précised version of Michael’s superb introduction to the journal number and its distinguished contributors, however, we invite you to click on the link below and read his introduction in full. You will not be disappointed! 

Finally, as Michael writes too, stay safe; stay sane. We look forward to seeing you next year.

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