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odubhain
June 2nd, 2008, 02:17 AM
Robert Graves gets a bad rap in CR mainly for his _White Goddess_ and Ogham work. What is often overlooked about Graves and _The White Goddess_ is that it came out of his imbas in a single night (as I recall) and stands alone due to that. Its support in the traditions and through the myths by Graves is only 'poetic truth' (though it would have been better for everyone if he'd received a Druid's education rather than a conventional one).

Another great poet, Robin Skelton, considered Graves to be 'a master manipulator of assonance, consonance, rhyme, and near rhyme...' and also stated that Graves's 'mastery is based firmly upon a profound understanding of the nature and utility of the Welsh tradition of versecraft... which gives his cadences their peculiar authority and subtlety.'

Recent postings here have shown me this authority and subtlety as typified by the following poem by Graves:

"In Disguise

Almost I welcome the dirty subterfuges
Of this surreal world closing us in,
That present you as a lady of high fashion
And me as a veteran on the pensioned list.

Our conversation is infinitely proper,
With a peck on either cheek as we meet or part -
Yet the seven archons of the heavenly star
Tremble at the disclosure of our seals. "

As Skelton goes on to say of Graves:

"He provides us with the ceremonies we need to achieve wholeness and proves to all who have ears to hear that the craft of verse is more than cleverness, but it is a skill and a mystery which must be practiced with incessant labor and vigilance if poetry and vision are not to vanish from the face of the earth."

The baby is in the bath water. We should verify the gnosis in and through our own efforts before we cast it out of the works of others.

Searles O'Dubhain

Twinkle
June 23rd, 2008, 10:40 PM
From what I understand (and this is from the Hellenic Recon perspective) the problem with Robert Graves and Reconstruction is that nothing he writes is really of historical value.

In fact, he twists it in such a way, that people that don't know better assume it's historical, and they would be very wrong to do so.

Is he a wonderful writer and a great poet? Absolutely.

Base your practice and your beliefs on his work? Absolutely not.

odubhain
June 24th, 2008, 08:09 AM
From what I understand (and this is from the Hellenic Recon perspective) the problem with Robert Graves and Reconstruction is that nothing he writes is really of historical value.

In fact, he twists it in such a way, that people that don't know better assume it's historical, and they would be very wrong to do so.

Is he a wonderful writer and a great poet? Absolutely.

Base your practice and your beliefs on his work? Absolutely not.

How credible is Graves's work in Greek Mythology?

Searles O'Dubhain

Twinkle
June 24th, 2008, 02:46 PM
His book on the Greek Myths was fantastic. But that's all they are, are myths. Most Recons will tell you that the Gods are not their myths, so while there is great value in them, they have little to do with practice.

The Golden Ass has received some sharp criticism from many Recons...it is not a historical source.

odubhain
June 25th, 2008, 12:33 AM
His book on the Greek Myths was fantastic. But that's all they are, are myths. Most Recons will tell you that the Gods are not their myths, so while there is great value in them, they have little to do with practice.

The Golden Ass has received some sharp criticism from many Recons...it is not a historical source.

Myths are a surface level of explaining what cannot be explained. The gods are beyond us and blow us away unless they shield us from the fullness of their being.

That being said, the myths are a great first step toward coming to understandings that lead to deeper and more powerful experiences of the gods and the ways of spirit.

I think that Graves had such experiences when he wrote _The White Goddess_ but feel that his scholarship of Celtic myth failed him when he attempted to couch his experiences in words and Ogham. His poetical attempts should be valued for their inspiration and synchronicity rather than for their historical accuracy.

The gods blessed him with imbas yet his studies left him unprepared to assimilate the experiences to the society they should have served. However, the power of his visions cannot be denied nor can the skill of his gift with pen and word. One reqrets the family conflicts that left him wanting in connecting Ogham to Ogham.

Searles O'Dubhain

Theres
June 25th, 2008, 02:57 AM
I think that Graves had such experiences when he wrote _The White Goddess_ but feel that his scholarship of Celtic myth failed him when he attempted to couch his experiences in words and Ogham. His poetical attempts should be valued for their inspiration and synchronicity rather than for their historical accuracy.
absolutely true, on both accounts (imo).
one only has to read the beautiful poem that opens 'The White Goddess' to realise that this man understood the feminine divine... a lifelong Catholic who was moved to inspiration by the Goddess.

historically however he was something of a victim of his day (no excuse intended here), being influenced (poisoned?) by the popular theories of post-Victorian archeology; Arthur Evans, Margaret Murray, J.G. Frazer, etc.

i hate to see him bashed, as i think he was a brilliant poet. therefore i choose to completely ignore his historical work so as not to diminish his other stuff.

i actually like his prose translation of 'The Iliad' (although novelization might be a better term), but far as 'The Greek Myths' goes, i find it better than average, but not great.
part of that luke-warm feeling is probably due to the horrible way in which it is indexed (wtf?), and part is that i haven't yet found a collection of Greek myths which i consider great. a daunting task for any interpreter, to be sure!

Theres
June 25th, 2008, 03:04 AM
The Golden Ass has received some sharp criticism from many Recons...it is not a historical source.
i actually like his version of Apulius, although it is really just an update of Adlington's 16th century translation.

as far as it not being an historical source... so what?
it was originally written as fiction and never intended to be anything else. it's only historical value comes from it's chronological context, and that is worth a little something, i think.

David19
June 25th, 2008, 11:46 AM
Myths are a surface level of explaining what cannot be explained. The gods are beyond us and blow us away unless they shield us from the fullness of their being.

That being said, the myths are a great first step toward coming to understandings that lead to deeper and more powerful experiences of the gods and the ways of spirit.

I think that Graves had such experiences when he wrote _The White Goddess_ but feel that his scholarship of Celtic myth failed him when he attempted to couch his experiences in words and Ogham. His poetical attempts should be valued for their inspiration and synchronicity rather than for their historical accuracy.

The gods blessed him with imbas yet his studies left him unprepared to assimilate the experiences to the society they should have served. However, the power of his visions cannot be denied nor can the skill of his gift with pen and word. One reqrets the family conflicts that left him wanting in connecting Ogham to Ogham.

Searles O'Dubhain

I haven't read that much of Robert Grave's work, but I agree with you, I've also heard that Robert Graves didn't intend for his work to be taken as history, I think, he said, in 'The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth' (http://www.amazon.com/White-Goddess-Historical-Grammar-Poetic/dp/0374504938) that it wasn't history, and was poetry, so maybe it's the people who see it as history that have the problem (I don't know if that's true, so if anyone can correct me, I'd really appreciate it).

I personally do see the Myths as important in understanding the Gods, I don't see them as historical, and literal events that happened on this realm/plane, but I think they help us understand the character/personality/nature/etc of the Gods, spirits, supernatural beings, etc.

Twinkle
June 29th, 2008, 06:01 PM
i actually like his version of Apulius, although it is really just an update of Adlington's 16th century translation.

as far as it not being an historical source... so what?
it was originally written as fiction and never intended to be anything else. it's only historical value comes from it's chronological context, and that is worth a little something, i think.


To me, it doesn't matter so much that it's not a historical source as long as one is aware that it is not.

There are many that recommend it as one...I suppose that is why it is criticized.