The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1966 - Literary Criticism - 511 pages
5 Reviews
An enormously versatile and prolific writer, translator, and critic, Robert Graves considered himself primarily a poet. Nevertheless, he became best known for his unorthadox historical novels about Rome and for his studies of the mythological and psychological sources of poetry. "The White Goddess" is perhaps his finest and the most popular of these works. In this book Graves explores the stories behind the earliest of European deities, the White Goddess of Birth, Love, and Death, who was worshipped under countless titles. She was beautiful, fickle, wise, and implacable, and in one of her later forms he is known as the Ninefold Muse, patroness of the white magic of poetry. In this brilliant tapestry of poetic and religious scholarship, Graves uncovers the obscure and mysterious power of "pure poetry" and its peculiar, mythic language.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gwernin - LibraryThing

The first time I read this, my conclusion was "more learned than wise." My opinion has not changed in the intervening fifteen years. Graves admitted that he has no Welsh, and relied on (defective) Victorian translations. Take with a very large pinch of salt. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - librarianbryan - LibraryThing

This is a fun read, but you need to take a lot of it with a grain of salt. The reader can decide for themselves which parts Graves imagines and are historically accurate. Read full review

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About the author (1966)

Robert Graves (1895-1985), born in London, was one of the most talented, colorful, and prolific men of letters in the twentieth century. He is best known for his historical novels, I, Claudius and Claudius the God. He spent much of his life on the island of Majorca.

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