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The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth

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The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth Cover

ISBN13: 9780374504939
ISBN10: 0374504938
Condition: Standard
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The White Goddess is perhaps the finest of Robert Graves's works on the psychological and mythological sources of poetry. In this tapestry of poetic and religious scholarship, Graves explores the stories behind the earliest of European deitiesthe White Goddess of Birth, Love, and Deathwho was worshipped under countless titles. He also uncovers the obscure and mysterious power of "pure poetry" and its peculiar and mythic language.

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.

The White Goddess is perhaps the finest of Robert Graves's works on the psychological and mythological sources of poetry. In this tapestry of poetic and religious scholarship, Graves explores the stories behind the earliest of European deitiesthe White Goddess of Birth, Love, and Deathwho was worshipped under countless titles. He also uncovers the obscure and mysterious power of "pure poetry" and its peculiar and mythic language.

Synopsis:

The definitive edition of one of the more extraordinary and influential books of our time

This labyrinthine and extraordinary book, first published more than sixty years ago, was the outcome of Robert Gravess vast reading and curious research into strange territories of folklore, mythology, religion, and magic. Erudite and impassioned, it is a scholar-poets quest for the meaning of European myths, a polemic about the relations between man and woman, and also an intensely personal document in which Graves explores the sources of his own inspiration and, as he believed, all true poetry.

     Incorporating all of Graves's final revisions, his replies to two of the original reviewers, and an essay describing the months of illumination in which The White Goddess was written, this is the definitive edition of one of the most influential books of our time.

Synopsis:

The White Goddess is perhaps the finest of Robert Graves's works on the psychological and mythological sources of poetry. In this tapestry of poetic and religious scholarship, Graves explores the stories behind the earliest of European deities—the White Goddess of Birth, Love, and Death—who was worshipped under countless titles. He also uncovers the obscure and mysterious power of "pure poetry" and its peculiar and mythic language.

About the Author

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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Erica Horne, March 30, 2009 (view all comments by Erica Horne)
I am a great fan of Robert Graves. I find him to be an outstanding poet, an excellent novelist, and a compelling writer of non-fiction. Probably the best known, if not the best, example of the last mentioned genre is "The White Goddess."
When "Goddess" first appeared in the late 1940's it was a groundbreaking work; for lack of a better definition it is a book on cultural anthropolgy written by a poet, who felt that as a a poet and a man who understood the inner motivation of the poet he would give his views on the Muse and her invocation. The book covers a lot of territory, sprawling across civilization from the Greeks to the Celts, and from the three forms of the Muse to the Fisher King to the Ogham alphabet. It wanders so far that it's hard to keep up with Mr. Graves as he gallops across centuries and over distances. For those of us used to Mr. Graves' usual tight control of his material and its presentation, it's difficult to deal with how he jumps from subject to subject with little or no notice.

I'm almost tempted to say that this is Mr. Graves' version of "Finnegan's Wake", only in a non-fictional form. It certainly is his encomium to the White Goddess, whom he identifies as the original Muse of all poets, including himself. There's enough to think about for years in this book, and neo-pagan movements may be described as having largely started based on the thoughts provoked by this book.

But Graves was a poet, not a social scientist, and in the last fifty years many of his observations have been proven to be wrong. This in itself is not so surprising, nor is it really such a bad thing; the real problem is the amount of emotional residue that those ideas left in their wake. Graves makes some observations that some would find offensive now, such as his allegation that women can't be real poets - they have no Muse to appeal to, the White Goddess only wants the worship of males. He makes a possible exception of Sappho, for what it's worth.

In short, "Goddess" still deserves to be read - it's a good, albeit exhausting read, and Graves is always worth reading - but it would be a mistake to pick up his ideas and run with them.

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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374504939
Subtitle:
A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth
Author:
Graves, Robert
Author:
Lindop, Grevel
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literature
Subject:
History & Criticism *
Subject:
Poetry
Subject:
Folklore & Mythology
Subject:
Folklore & Mythology - Mythology
Subject:
Mythology and folklore
Subject:
Mythology
Subject:
Welsh poetry
Subject:
LIT014000
Subject:
Mythology-General
Subject:
Mythology-Folklore and Storytelling
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Series Volume:
no. 5J97-01
Publication Date:
20131008
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Diagrams/2 Appendixes/Index
Pages:
544
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Humanities » Mythology » Classical
Humanities » Mythology » Folklore and Storytelling
Humanities » Mythology » General
Humanities » Mythology » Womens

The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth Used Trade Paper
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Product details 544 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374504939 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

The definitive edition of one of the more extraordinary and influential books of our time

This labyrinthine and extraordinary book, first published more than sixty years ago, was the outcome of Robert Gravess vast reading and curious research into strange territories of folklore, mythology, religion, and magic. Erudite and impassioned, it is a scholar-poets quest for the meaning of European myths, a polemic about the relations between man and woman, and also an intensely personal document in which Graves explores the sources of his own inspiration and, as he believed, all true poetry.

     Incorporating all of Graves's final revisions, his replies to two of the original reviewers, and an essay describing the months of illumination in which The White Goddess was written, this is the definitive edition of one of the most influential books of our time.

"Synopsis" by ,
The White Goddess is perhaps the finest of Robert Graves's works on the psychological and mythological sources of poetry. In this tapestry of poetic and religious scholarship, Graves explores the stories behind the earliest of European deities—the White Goddess of Birth, Love, and Death—who was worshipped under countless titles. He also uncovers the obscure and mysterious power of "pure poetry" and its peculiar and mythic language.

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