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Circulo de Bellas Artes information on Robert Graves exhibit

 
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notarius
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Joined: 25 May 2002
Posts: 63
Location: Bristol, England

PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2002 6:20 pm    Post subject: Circulo de Bellas Artes information on Robert Graves exhibit Reply with quote

Members of this discussion board, and especially those attending the events in Madrid next week, may be interested to know that the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, where the exhibition is being held, has now published information about the exhibition on its we pages. See:
http://www.circulobellasartes.com/new/minerva/minerva.htm

Similar information will probably appear on the Circulo's literature pages within the next few days.

The information is in Spanish, but I have attempted a rough translation into English and appended it below for information. Those with a better knowledge of either or both languages are more than welcome to amend it!

If anyone who has not registered already would like to attend the Robert Graves Society luncheon at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid at 2.30pm on 5 December, or the official opening at 1.00pm on 5 December or the talks at 7.30pm on 4 December, (the last is open to the public)please contact me asap at: pjvilla@aol.com.

Others will be interested to know that the exhibition will continue in Madrid until 29 December 2002. The exhibition will be open every day except Mondays and the opening hours for Satudays will probably be clarified during the next day or two.

Patrick Villa
for the Robert Graves Society

My translation follows:

Robert Graves: A poet’s life. Robert Graves is one of the greatest literary authors of the Twentieth Century in the English language. For us [in Spain], Graves is an English writer who lived for many years in the island of Mallorca, dedicated to writing fiction and interpreting history, especially that of the ancient Classics.

But Graves was also, and above all, by vocation and his own decision, a poet. To be poet was the great dream of his life, a dream that he had determinedly established the age of fifteen years. All of his work, prose or verse, is related of some form to his poetry, as he himself declared in several occasions, and many of his works were written with the clear intention to maintain the way of life that he needed to write poetry: A poet’s life.

Born in 1895 in Wimbledon, near London, Robert was the son of Irish poet, Alfred Perceval Graves, and of Amalie von Ranke, grand-daughter of the German historian Leopold von Ranke. From his father he inherited great courtesy, sensitivity and love of words, and an inexhaustible capacity for hard work; from his maternal family, an iron physical constitution and a robust spirit, along with a great idealism and nobility of spirit. Graves recounted how his father had insisted upon: "Speaking properly, pronouncing words correctly, avoiding the use of vulgar language, and treating books well." He grew up in an atmosphere where Literature was not a mere distraction, but an essential part of life.

He studied at English public [ie. Private] schools, where he received a Spartan education [sic], which he detested deeply, and a remarkable grounding in the Classics. During the summers he spent happy times with his brothers at a town on the Welsh coast, Harlech, where his love for nature and the simple life intensified. A month before turning sixteen, Robert published his first poem in the magazine of the school where he studied, on the subject of the wild life in the field: ("The slope at dusk.") On the verge of entering the University of Oxford, World War I exploded and Robert [enlisted immediately and] was sent to France; there he continued writing poems and came to know other poets such as Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, with whom [ie the last of whom] he maintained a great friendship over many years. Living through the brutal experience of war to the point of being officially announced dead on his twenty-first birthday, was a decisive period in his life and career as a writer.

On his return to England he married Nancy Nicholson, a young artist and ardent feminist who was the sister of the painter Ben Nicholson. They worked together on a book of poems illustrated by Nancy, and had four children. After a crisis, [Graves] wrote his autobiography “Good-bye To All That” and decided to leave England and unite professionally and personally with Laura Riding, a North American poet, with whom, on the advice of Gertrude Stein, he travelled to Mallorca in 1929 in search of a paradise where he could dedicate himself completely to poetry.

[In 1936] The Spanish Civil War forced them to leave Mallorca and together they travelled to the United States via England, [to where Graves soon returned alone.] The union with Laura had contributed decisively in the evolution of his literary creativity as a poet, during several years of intensive work, during which Graves strengthened his reputation as a poet, critic, interpreter of history and a prolific and versatile writer with a capacity to deal successfully with different genres: Several of his works of prose have been and continue to be important with reference to the literature of the Twentieth Century: “Good-bye To All That,” one of most interesting autobiographies of the century; “I, Claudius,” an important work of historical fiction; “The Greek Myths,” an erudite repertoire interpreting the Ancient Classics, and “The White Goddess,” an interesting study of the mythological and psychological origin of poetry.

But without any doubt where Graves finds the way to express his true literary identity is in poetry. His poems were published uninterrupted from 1916, the date of publication of his first book “Over the Brazier,” to 1975. A revealing fact: In 1926, aged 31 years, Graves had published nineteen books, eleven of which were of poetry.

The exhibition "Robert Graves, a poet’s life" tries to show the literary and essential signs of identity of a poet who had chosen a certain way to live; the process of the creation of the circumstances necessary to be able to express his talent and at the same time be able to enjoy an enriching family and personal life. The exhibition allows us to study photographs of his family and professional lives; many of these are by photographers of international prestige and reputation such as Bill Brandt, Daniel Farson and Tom Blau. Original manuscripts and first editions of poems and materials including diaries and personal documents, are able to show the magnitude of his poetic production and the aesthetic sense that marked all of his existence.

Graves never wanted to belong to literary worlds or to artistic movements; always looking for the formula of absolute individuality at the time of writing, he never accepted bonds that would alter his critical independence. And nevertheless, in spite of this, and of his obstinate physical isolation in a small corner of an island of the Mediterranean, Graves was able to maintain interesting professional relationships and friendships with people and worlds that constantly contributed spiritual company and professional stimulus to him. He wrote and received thousands of letters throughout all his life, and these reveal Graves, in addition to everything else, as a master of letter writing. The selection of correspondence with authors, editors, artists, friends and relatives, which this exhibition presents, testifies to this.

- Aurora Sotelo Curator of the exhibition.

Open from 5th to 29th December, 11:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 21:00. (Tuesdays to Saturdays.) 11:00 to 14:00. (Saturday and Sunday.) Organized by Circulo de Bellas Artes with the support of the Govern Illes Balears - Consellería d'Educació i Culture. General Direcció of Culture -, the Consell of Majorca, the Ajuntament de Palma, the Ajuntament de Deià, the British Council, the Serra Group and the Fundació Sa Nostra and with the collaboration of the Robert Graves Society and the Graves family.
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