Letter of the Week
Every week, on this page, we will show a different letter from a selection of letters from Paul O'Prey's books on Robert Graves correspondence In Broken Images and Between Moon and Moon.

Date: 20 DEC 1961

Recipient: Seymour-Smith, Martin (1928-1998)

Location: Canellun

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20 December 1961

Dearest Martin:

I am very glad to hear that things are so much better with you again, and really wanted to see you but everything was against it: sheer pressure of work at Oxford. Will do so next October when we come over. This time it will be with Juan and Tomas; and Lucia hopes to go to St Anne's, if she can pass the entrance exam.

I saw Truth Is More Sacred when it was published in America, and let it go: a dirty damp squib left over from last year's wet Guy Fawkes' night. But England is different and I am writing to Watt asking him to let his lawyers read the book for libel and act accordingly. Dahlberg-was here five years ago: behaved disgracefully and was mortified that I did not accept him at his own valuation. Read is a bloody fool to get mixed up in that; but he seems vexed with me for my piece about him as an 'Eminent Collaborationist* — the reference being to his alliance with crook- psychology, though a self-styled poet — and I suppose owes me a kick for my plain speaking.

As usual I am publishing too many books. In 1962 there'll be Oxford Lectures (3 public and 3 ordinary); Terence's Comedies; New Poems; The Trojan War (juvenile); and a privately printed More Deserving Cases of revived and revised poems I suppressed and which have been pleaded for. Then there are various paper- back reprints. But though Wm is off our hands (geology-man doing 'oil-game' in Texas at the moment) Lucia, Juan and Tomas still demand expensive educations, which keeps me fixed to my table for 10 months of the year. No films of mine made yet, despite so many options. The only exception is The Golden Ass!! — the money-boys to whom someone sold the idea hadn't heard of Apuleius, but had heard of me, so I was cut in on it. The film will be made in Spain this coming Spring and I get 11/2% of the takings. Isn't it odd? All those attempts to make Claudius have come to nothing . . . Now I'm working at a Hebrew Myths; like Greek Myths.

The village is very much the same. So, oddly enough, is Oxford: surprising. The Vice Chancellor; the Merton Prof. of English; various other professors; and two or three Heads of Houses were undergraduates with me and made me very welcome. And I met several undergraduates who had something to them.

It is embarrassing the way my stock has soared in the last two or three years, but I am doing my best to treat it as a joke; which in Deya is easy. I am also a little embarrassed by the spate of poems forced on me by what is called personal preoccupations,meaning really a new vision of Anatha—Isis—Caridwen—Belphoebe. But they were all undodgeable so there I am landed with them and by the end I think I got through to something so old that I [sic] reads like new.

My love to Frank and your mother. And lots to you and Jan.


Bob Schon died the other day; a mixed up but decent man and we owe him a great debt because he started us on the compost racket. You should see our garden now!


Text Copyright © of Robert Graves Copyright Trust