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The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of…

The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth (original 1947; edition 1966)

by Robert Graves

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1,944175,001 (3.93)49
Title:The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth
Authors:Robert Graves
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1966), Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library

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The White Goddess by Robert Graves (1947)



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» See also 49 mentions

English (15)  Spanish (2)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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. ( )
2 vote gwernin | Jun 14, 2014 |
The wikipedia article on this book doesn't take us very far. I suspect I now need to index the terms... how on earth did the record come in with no author? I've edited.
  JohnLindsay | Nov 5, 2012 |
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. ( )
  librarianbryan | Apr 20, 2012 |
Graves shows us the difference between a glee-man and a poet. The awe-full knowledge of EVERYTHING fell on Robert Graves one afternoon. Now what he needs is a biographer like Roger Lewis - to make everything perfect. ( )
2 vote Porius | Feb 16, 2010 |
The study of two vulgar poems of the 13th century, and review of the narratives, the 'myths', which hag-ride what would otherwise just be an attempt at recording our observations in some manner that seemed useful at the time.

Graves supposes or purports to discern the "historical grammar" of the poetic myth underlying the legends of Palestine, Greece, Rome, northern Europe, and Ireland. He deduces them "logically" from the scattered relics of the allied mystery-cults and inspection of the groves used in antiquity. "The language is called myth". ( )
  keylawk | Aug 12, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Gravesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lindop, GrevelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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All saints revile her, and all sober men 
Ruled by the God Apollo's golden mean - 
In scorn of which I sailed to find her 
In distant regions likeliest to hold her 
Whom I desired above all things to know, 
Sister of the mirage and echo. 

It was a virtue not to stay, 
To go my headstrong and heroic way 
Seeking her out at the volcano's head, 
Among pack ice, or where the track had faded 
Beyond the cavern of the seven sleepers: 
Whose broad high brow was white as any leper's, 
Whose eyes were blue, with rowan-berry lips, 
With hair curled honey-coloured to white hips. 

The sap of Spring in the young wood a-stir 
Will celebrate with green the Mother, 
And every song-bird shout awhile for her; 
But I am gifted, even in November 
Rawest of seasons, with so huge a sense 
Of her nakedly worn magnificence 
I forget cruelty and past betrayal, 
Heedless of where the next bright bolt may fall.
First words
Since the age of fifteen poetry has been my ruling passion and I have never intentionally undertaken any task or formed any relationship that seemed inconsistent with poetic principles; which has sometimes won me the reputation of an eccentric.
...I cannot make out why a belief in a Father-god's authorship of the universe, and its laws, seems any less unscientific than a belief in a Mother-goddess's inspiration of this artificial system. Granted the first metaphor, the second follows logically--if these are no better than metaphors....
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374504938, Paperback)

Robert Graves, the late British poet and novelist, was also known for his studies of the mythological and psychological sources of poetry. With The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, Graves was able to combine many of his passions into one work. While the book is so poetically written that many of the passages amount to prose poems, it is also frequently plot driven enough to feel like a novel, and it is rich with scholarly insight into the deep wells of poetry. Especially fascinating is the chapter in which Graves explores the ancient and ongoing practice of poets' invoking the muse. Graves details the practice in both the Eastern and Western literary traditions, and shows specific similarities and differences among Greek, British, and Irish tales and myths about the muse. Graves has much to offer students of history and myth, but poetry lovers will also be fascinated with The White Goddess.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:26 -0400)

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