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The early poetry of Robert Graves : the goddess beckons / Frank L. Kersnowski.

By: Kersnowski, Frank L, 1934-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookSeries: JSTOR eBooks.Literary modernism series: Publisher: Austin : University of Texas Press, 2002Edition: 1st ed.Description: 1 online resource (xvi, 174 pages) : illustrations.Content type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 0292796390 (electronic bk.); 9780292796393 (electronic bk.).Subject(s): Graves, Robert, 1895-1985 | Graves, Robert, 1895-1985 -- Childhood and youth | Authors, English -- 20th century -- Biography | World War, 1914-1918 -- Veterans -- Biography | Modernism (Literature) -- Great Britain | Soldiers -- Great Britain -- Biography | War neuroses -- Patients -- BiographyAdditional physical formats: Print version:: Early poetry of Robert Graves.DDC classification: 821/.912 | B Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
The lunatic, the love, and the poet -- The lunatic: war -- The lover in the nursery -- The poet.
Action note: digitized 2010 committed to preserveSummary: Like many men of his generation, poet Robert Graves was indelibly marked by his experience of trench warfare in World War I. The horrific battles in which he fought and his guilt over surviving when so many perished left Graves shell-shocked and disoriented, desperately seeking a way to bridge the rupture between his conventional upbringing and the uncertainties of post-war British society. In this study of Graves's early poetry, Frank Kersnowski explores how his war neurosis opened a door into the unconscious for Graves and led him to reject the essential components of the Western idea of reality-reason and predictability. In particular, Kersnowski traces the emergence in Graves's early poems of a figure he later called "The White Goddess," a being at once terrifying and glorious, who sustains life and inspires poetry. Drawing on interviews with Graves's family, as well as unpublished correspondence and drafts of poems, Kersnowski argues that Graves actually experienced the White Goddess as a real being and that his life as a poet was driven by the purpose of celebrating and explaining this deity and her matriarchy.
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Item type Current location Call number URL Status Date due Barcode
Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
Online
PR6013.R35 Z729 2002 (Browse shelf) https://ezproxy.uttyler.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7560/743434 Available ocm70183007

Includes bibliographical references (pages 165-169) and index.

Like many men of his generation, poet Robert Graves was indelibly marked by his experience of trench warfare in World War I. The horrific battles in which he fought and his guilt over surviving when so many perished left Graves shell-shocked and disoriented, desperately seeking a way to bridge the rupture between his conventional upbringing and the uncertainties of post-war British society. In this study of Graves's early poetry, Frank Kersnowski explores how his war neurosis opened a door into the unconscious for Graves and led him to reject the essential components of the Western idea of reality-reason and predictability. In particular, Kersnowski traces the emergence in Graves's early poems of a figure he later called "The White Goddess," a being at once terrifying and glorious, who sustains life and inspires poetry. Drawing on interviews with Graves's family, as well as unpublished correspondence and drafts of poems, Kersnowski argues that Graves actually experienced the White Goddess as a real being and that his life as a poet was driven by the purpose of celebrating and explaining this deity and her matriarchy.

The lunatic, the love, and the poet -- The lunatic: war -- The lover in the nursery -- The poet.

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Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002. MiAaHDL

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

When Robert Graves returned to England after World War I, he wrote of seeing the heads of dead comrades on the bodies of the living. So he took advantage of the then-new practice of psychiatry to treat both his shell shock and a second difficulty, sexual trauma. Like many young Englishmen in that strait-laced era, Graves had gone from same-sex crushes on schoolmates straight into marriage; on his wedding night, both he and his bride were virgins. Before long, this already fretful union became even more difficult when the mercurial poet Laura Riding muscled her way in, scandalizing everyone and eventually attempting suicide, from which she emerged badly injured and more demanding of Graves's attentions than ever. Psychiatry helped, in part because it enabled Graves to look beyond the narrow confines of logic, to develop his concept of the White Goddess and recognize "matriarchy as the basic form of society, the goddess as the all-powerful deity, and his life as poet and scholar driven by the purpose of celebrating and explaining the matriarchy and its deity." Kersnowksi (English, Trinity Univ.) uses these ideas to elucidate Graves's early work in a solid book with a slightly misleading title, since there is as much here about the poet's life as there is about his writing. Kersnowski had several frank interviews with Graves before his death in 1985, and he was aided by the poet's daughter, who provided information and read an early draft of this study. For academic libraries. David Kirby, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Having edited Conversations with Robert Graves (1989), Kersnowski (Trinity Univ., San Antonio) now turns to the poet's early poems, those written before 1925. He relates them to the theories of the Freudian psychologist W.H.R. Rivers, who, with others, opened the door for Graves to his subconscious, where his terrible memories of trench warfare mingled with those of childhood terrors. The "tyrannical love" of his first wife, Nancy Nicholson, provided the emotional security he needed in order to draw on these memories for the themes of his poems. The story of his marriage and relations with his parents, children, and the writers of the immediate postwar period is well known from Martin Seymour-Smith's Robert Graves: His Life and Work (CH, May'83), Richard Perceval Graves's three-volume eponymous (and variously subtitled) work (CH, Jul'87, Jul'91, Jul'97), and Miranda Seymour's Robert Graves: Life on the Edge, CH, Mar'96). What makes this new study a valuable addition to the "Literary Modernism Series" is Kersnowski's close reading of some of the early poems. Not strictly bound by chronological constraints, the book looks forward to Graves's later development in the mythic tradition, which culminates in his signature image of the awe-inspiring White Goddess, alluded to in the book's subtitle. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. M. S. Vogeler emerita, California State University, Fullerton

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