Robert Graves, an enthralling journey through the life of the English writer
A legend that lived through wars and romances and ended his days in a paradise called Mallorca
The union of Robert Graves and the town of Deià is so intimate and profound that both the writer and the Majorcan town have had similar fates on the global stage.
Born in Wimbledon (1895), the famous English poet, writer and novelist had an intense life marked by love and war. Sent to France to serve in World War One, Graves became seriously injured to the point he was believed dead. The experiences lived during battle would mark his first collection of poems, Over the Brazier (1916).
Beyond the war, three women would mark the writer’s future. Together with his first wife, Nancy Nicholson, he moved to Egypt to teach English literature classes at an Egyptian university. Already separated from Nancy, the North American poet Laura Riding would join him in his first trip to Mallorca, where together they would discover the precious town of Deià, a privileged spot in the Tramuntana mountain range, dotted with green cliffs erecting over the Mediterranean sea.
A breath-taking scenery that inspired the life and work of Robert Graves, and as advised by the writer Gertrude Stein, “If you like paradise, Mallorca is paradise”. And convinced he was that there he stayed along with Laura Riding, first in the so called Ca Sa Salerosa and then in a house that he had built a little more than a kilometre from Deià, called Ca n’Alluny, which was later acquired and refurbished by the Robert Graves Foundation for visiting purposes.
In this house, Graves and Riding founded the Seizin Press publishing house, which published several of his and other writers’ works. The Seizin Press went on to publish his famous works, such as ‘I, Claudius’, which was later expanded to ‘Claudius the God’ (1934).
In 1936, the Spanish Civil War forced Graves and Riding to abandon Mallorca and eventually settle in the United States where they would end up separating. Back in England, Graves began a relationship with Beryl Hodge. In 1946, in love with Beryl and the years he spent in the town of Deià, he returned to the island, marking the beginning of a very prolific period that ended on the 7th December 1985 with his death in this beautiful Majorcan town at the age of 90.
With more than 240 books on mythology and poetry, historical novels, biographies and children’s stories, Graves left behind a unique artistic legacy and an intense love life that resulted in eight children. Now a legend, the house where he lived and the small cemetery of Deià where his grave lies, is a place of pilgrimage for fans of his work and life.
To know more
Museum Ca n'Alluny, Casa Museo de Robert Graves (Deià, mallorca)
Evocative house where English writer Robert Graves lived
Tower sa Pedrissa (Deià, mallorca)
Vestiges of a tower to defend against attacks coming from the sea, with spectacular views
Museum Son Marroig (Deià, mallorca)
House museum devoted to one of the most relevant cultural figures in the Balearic islands, Archduke Luis Salvador de Austria
Cemetery Deià (Deià, mallorca)
Picturesque cemetery where famous English writer Robert Graves is buried