1929 - 1936

Arrival in Dei

When Robert and Laura left England in October 1929, they visited their friend Gertrude Stein in Framce who recommended...

...Majorca as a good place to live. Once in Palma they went up to the village of Dei ; which they liked its situation between cliffs and sea, reminded Robert of Harlech and there they rented a house. The printing-press was shipped over from England and they resumed their writing and printing work. For the next few years Laura would always be surrounded by hard-working friends, over whom she exerted her astonishing intellectual power, allowing or forbidding people to join her entourage and become a part of her inner circle .

The publication of Good-bye to All That in November 1929, with its frank condemnation of the public school system and describing the real conditions in the trenches, turned Robert Graves into a controversial figure, but the book was an enormous success and brought financial relief, allowing him to build a house among terraced olive groves outside Dei , which they called Ca n Alluny (The Far House). From the begining they made good friends among the villagers, especially with Juan Marroig ( Gelat ) and his family. When Laura heard that a German wanted to buy land opposite the house, she Laura decided to buy these terraces and another plot down by the sea and build a linking road, with a hotel to pay for it, and a university for her teach in.

In March 1932 Laura and Robert moved into Ca n Alluny (open to the public), but Laura s entrepreneurial ideas brought on a financial crisis, and they had to mortgage the house. Robert s prose of this period, under Laura s influence, had made virtually no money, and he was forced to sit down and write a book that would sell. I, Claudius, his brilliant recreation of the Roman Empire, was an immediate success and won Graves two major literary prizes: the James Tait Black Memorial and the Hawthornden.

The intimate relationship between Graves and Riding was tense; Graves sublimated her in his poetry, and beheld her as an almost divine figure, but his love was not reciprocated. Her cold dismissal of Graves s two major successes, his autobiography and later the Claudius novels, masked a strong sense of jealousy, for her own attempts at prose had never sold and her poetry would not be fully recognized for another fifty years.

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