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Graves' Historical Innacuracies???

 
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How accurate was Graves?
More accurate than most other writers.
100%
 100%  [ 3 ]
Less accurate than most other writers.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
About the same.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 3

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Tami Whitehead
poet


Joined: 28 Sep 2002
Posts: 41
Location: Southeast Texas

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2003 2:09 pm    Post subject: Graves' Historical Innacuracies??? Reply with quote

Hey all, things sure are quiet in here...hopefully you guys are lurking, and will come out to answer some questions of mine...

It has been discussed here a bit, and in other groups, that Graves is historically inaccurate, that he gets his facts wrong etc. Um...does he? I mean, most of what I doubel check of his seems pretty ok, as far as facts go...not everything is corraborated, however, the same is true of many writers, and I don't notice it more with Graves than other 'reputable' writers...am I missing something?

Most of the 'criticism' I have seen is based on WG, that it is historically inaccurate, though no one gets specific on what it is historically inaccurate about, and most seem to overlook the fact that it is not, and was never intended, as other than it was, a poetical grammer. What's up? Really, am I missing something? Tell me, I can take it.

Now, I am not talking about the other questions raised in this forum about Graves' sources and his strange mis-translation of the Hearing of the Scholars--honestly, I don't think that the people in the other groups who are bitching about Graves have gotten that far in their analysis of the book. No one in the other groups is lamenting his lack of sources so much as just "Watch out for Graves, he spins a pretty tale, but it is historically inaccurate."

AAARGH! Someone, anyone, tell me, how did they come to say these things, is it true, have I missed some totally obvious mistake somewhere or what??

Tami
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matthewsmith
gleeman


Joined: 15 Mar 2003
Posts: 8
Location: Swansea

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2003 6:21 pm    Post subject: Graves bit off more than he could chew (Matt Smith) Reply with quote

Tami,
I agree that there is often too much negative criticism of Graves's historical/ mythic method. However, it is pretty clear to most that Graves bit more off than he could chew with his use of a range of myths which he seemed to reinvent to support his various poetic principles. All historically conscious poets do this - David Jones, Ezra Pound in particular. It's no wonder graves attracts criticism because his arguments, particualrly in The WG are not only fabulous but very dogmatically put. Graves over self-confidence and didacticism is bound to rankle historians and academics - look at Graves's interpretation of The Book of Taliesin - his idea that it is a medieval crossword puzzle containing the secrets to ancient Druidical doctrines- its a wonderful idea but delusional in the extreme. Then there's his pseudo beatnick analytical method of cutting and pasting- his technique of rearranging lines which have are already taken from translatations. The whole method and notion is very clever but pretty half baked. I respect graves for his research and interpretation but these days one should probably take it with a pinch of salt and also see Graves as a clever poet, not a brilliant scholar. Matt Smith.
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Tami Whitehead
poet


Joined: 28 Sep 2002
Posts: 41
Location: Southeast Texas

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2003 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, but WG aside, you think he's accurate or not? More or less?

Tami
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matthewsmith
gleeman


Joined: 15 Mar 2003
Posts: 8
Location: Swansea

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:42 am    Post subject: Fantasy in Graves's fiction Reply with quote

Yes, i think graves is more or less accurate but it depends what aspect you look at- he's very good with with factual information, with the historical groundwork - clearly Graves has done his homework with the novels and criticism that I've managed to read - the Claudius novels, the Greek Myths, King Jesus, but graves's skill is to breathe life into history and this involves finding connective tissue between different factual elements. I think Graves is (famously) succesful in doing this in the Claudian novels but King Jesus smacks of too much effort (!) - too much Graves and less actual history! (perhaps thats why I like it a lot) Coming back to TWG, my personal favourite, Grevel lindop's recent excellent intro points out that it is barely disguised autobiography. The fact remains that in this text, Graves relies heavily on outdated scholarship and historical intuition. It is an incredible feat of imagination - look at the gothic elements (The figure of the White Goddess herself, the numerous Vampires, blood suckers and monsters which come out of the past through the text) which definitely needs a look at. In the strictest sense of your question Graves is more accurate than innaccurate in his use of basic historical facts but can we take any of Graves's poetic fundamentalism, which is nearly always based on fantasy, seriously??? Would anyone like to comment on Graves as a fantasy writer? Surely this is the direction to go in in Gravesian criticism where there is a great deal of toing and froing on his historical accuracy. Matt Smith.
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lokislittletoy
rhymer


Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 4
Location: Universe Q

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2003 12:41 pm    Post subject: Visionary Theorists Cannot Be Judged By Academented Standard Reply with quote

I find all modern scholarship to be too persnickety. Robert Graves was a genius and a visionary, who used a right-brain, poetic, surrealist approach to theory, and I would love to see more people pursuing this, forthrightly, without fear of what academented people will say about it! History is not all found in the literal word, but in the spirit beneath, which must be weened with a poetic and surrealist method.


I am collecting people who believe this and want to form a new movement to overthrow the modern puritanical, protestant style ,literary academic fads which predominate, with a more oral, unconscious, right-brain, poetic appreciation for folklore, revivifying Graves, Freud, Jung, and Margaret Murray.

I can be contacted lokislittletoy@yahoo.com
_________________
"Bashir : So which of the lies were true?
Garak : My dear doctor, all of them."

Garak : Well, the truth is usually just an excuse for a lack of imagination.

Garak : Mr. Worf, lying is a skill like any other and must be practiced to be perfect.
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matthewsmith
gleeman


Joined: 15 Mar 2003
Posts: 8
Location: Swansea

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2003 8:21 am    Post subject: pernickety modern scholars (!) Reply with quote

Just a short reply to the crazy person who slagged off theorists!
You say that you find "all modern scholarship to be too pernickety. Robert Graves was a genius and a visionary, who used a right-brain, poetic, surrealist approach to theory"
1. Firstly, was Graves a genius or just a very clever man? Graves was influenced by a mass of sources - not many, if any of his ideas are completely original!
2. You have contempt for pernicketyness but Graves was about the most pernickety poet imaginable (look at the Clark lectures!) Graves was an intellectual tyrant!
3. You say that history is found in the "spirit beneath". What do you mean by this. Sounds a bit vague. Collective unconscious, or just that history is made up of individuals not just a set of facts???
4. You say that the spirit must be weened out by a poetic and surrealist technique. Some would argue that poetry and surrealism are very different things - one implying form and order, the other shock and disorder. Graves hated and despised surrealism and really all kinds of experimentation (with the exception of e.e.cummings). Look at his criticism of Dylan Thomas. Read A Survery of modernist Poetry by Graves and Riding -they show a pretty subtle understanding of these different terms.

5. You say that you are "collecting people who believe this and want to form a new movement to overthrow the modern puritanical, protestant style, literary academic fads which predominate, with a more oral, unconscious, right-brain, poetic appreciation for folklore, revivifying Graves, Freud, Jung, and Margaret Murray".
Do all your members have to believe the above? I mean, are you sure that all academic "fads" are puritanical - it sounds like a huge assumption to me. What is an oral, unconscious , right brain, poetic appreciation of folklore? Sounds very bizarre. If your talking about the idea of historical intuition then your immediately on dodgy ground. Most of your ideas do not seem "unconscious" but more influenced by the ideas you have gained from the above critics.
I think you must be a bit nutty! Please clarify!!!!
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lokislittletoy
rhymer


Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 4
Location: Universe Q

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2003 1:21 am    Post subject: a bit 'nutty', hm? Reply with quote

Perhaps you should begin by defining what you mean by "nutty".

I'm discussing a psychoanalytic approach to mythology which is able to ween unconscious themes emerging and submerging across literary sources in the historical record.

This isn't "nutty". It's another way to approach the archives, a different way of doing scholarship than the modern paradigm.

When I refer to Protestant styles of scholarship, I'm referring to all scholarship that stems from an enshrinement of the text and the search to gain the most accurate interpretation of that text, a la Higher Criticism, which ignores allegorical, symbolical, more right-brained ways of interpreting texts that allow for unconscious seepage beneath the level of literal interpretation.

Graves openly invokes the poetic spirit in The White Goddess so it should be obvious what I'm talking about.
_________________
"Bashir : So which of the lies were true?
Garak : My dear doctor, all of them."

Garak : Well, the truth is usually just an excuse for a lack of imagination.

Garak : Mr. Worf, lying is a skill like any other and must be practiced to be perfect.
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matthewsmith
gleeman


Joined: 15 Mar 2003
Posts: 8
Location: Swansea

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2003 11:49 pm    Post subject: 1- apology!.... 2. Graves and Peter ackroyd Reply with quote

Mr/ Mrs 'Lokistoy',
apologies for calling you 'nutty' - bit rude of me seeing as I've never met you! I'd had a rather intense day of pHD work and was feeling a bit pedantic, although most of the points I made still stand.
I appreciate what you say about certain kinds of theoretical approaches to texts. Your poetic approach to literary theory a la Graves like all approaches has its flaws - in Graves's case he seems to show a bardic arrogance in his understanding of history - the 'I know because I was there' persona, which is a very convenient way of putting across authority - Graves seems to take the mantle of Taliesin himself!! This, arguably, is where he gets his idea of the analeptic method from (would anyone like to comment on this particular point?)
Anyway, in a nutshell I still maintain that the approach you have towards theory pays too much respect to gut instinct and not enough to hard work. This is also a problem with peter ackroyd and his recent 'Albion', which is pretty cavalier in imany of its ideas. You can't blame ackroyd. Doing an 'Origins of the English Imagination' in one volume seems an impossible feat, and in Graves's case, T W Goddess and other books, which delve even further into the remote past, are awesone in their scope and imagination.
It's late. I shall return!
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