Robert Graves's Good-bye to All That

In this lecture, we learn about the representation of World War One in Literature, with specific reference to the differences between fact and fiction in Robert Graves's literary masterpiece Good-bye to All That, written and published in 1929. Particularly valuable are Graves's own post-publication comments about how combatants may be expected to represent their experiences in battle when they transmute them into literature.

The Poets and World War One

In this lecture, we learn about how World War One was represented in the poetry that was written during 1914-1918. The major war poets such as Owen and Sassoon are included; but we also notice the minor but in their day far more popular poets such as Alice Meynell. At the heart of this lecture is an examination of the way in which the perceptions of several war poets were dramatically altered by their horrific experiences of trench warfare.

Artistic Truth: Robert Graves’ Good-bye to All That

In this lecture, we learn about the representation of World War One in Literature with specific reference to the differences between fact and fiction in Robert Graves' literary masterpiece Good-bye to All That, written and published in 1929. 

Particularly valuable are Graves's own post-publication comments about how combatants may be expected to represent their experiences in battle when they transmute them into literature. 

Changing Perceptions: The Poets and World War One

In this lecture, we learn about how World War One was represented in the poetry that was written during 1914-1918.
The major war poets such as Owen and Sassoon are included; but we also notice the minor but in their day far more popular poets such as Alice Meynell.
At the heart of this lecture is an examination of the way in which the perceptions of several war poets were dramatically altered by their horrific experiences of trench warfare

Literary Approaches to World War One

Again in this lecture, the major war poets such as Owen and Sassoon are included, together with their poetry; so too are the autobiographers such as Frank Richards and Robert Graves, the historians such as Corelli Barnett and the novelists ranging from Ernest Raymond to Pat Barker. Where appropriate the personalities and experiences of actual combatants will be evoked. So too will the contrast between the reality and the image.

Robert Graves and the White Goddess

This is an entrancing lecture, full of myth and magic. From it we learn not only how Robert Graves came to write The White Goddess (probably his most enduring work), but also about the message which he was trying to convey about what it is to be a romantic poet.

Robert Graves at Oxford

Robert Graves first visited Oxford in 1913 as an eighteen-year-old schoolboy trying for a Classical Scholarship or Exhibition - he was awarded an Exhibition by St. John's - and he last visited Oxford in the summer of 1975 as an old man of 80 for the official opening of a 'Robert Graves room' at his old College. In between times, he had spent part of 1917 in a military hospital in Somerville College; gone up to St. John's immediately after the First World War to read first Classics and then English; and returned in 1961 for a five-year stint as Professor of Poetry. This lecture is a fascinating miscellany of incidents, which also serves as an idiosyncratic introduction to Robert Graves's life and work.

Robert Graves, Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon

In this lecture we hear about that curious series of First World War friendships which involved Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.

The Menage-a-Trois which Failed

In this lecture we are introduced to the extraordinary story of the relationship between the poet Robert Graves, his wife Nancy Nicholson, and Laura Riding, the brilliant and seductive American poet who became Robert's muse. The tangled emotional threads are drawn out surely and tastefully, and the story ends up elevating the audience.

Richard Hughes and Childhood

When Richard Hughes's A High Wind in Jamaica was published in 1929, what made the book such a talking-point on both sides of the Atlantic was its sharp, bleak, decidedly original (and some thought cynical) view of childhood. In this lecture Hughes's biographer introduces what is increasingly recognised as the classic twentieth-century novel of childhood, and explains how it came to be written.

Richard Hughes, Dylan Thomas and Laugharne.

Laugharne and Dylan Thomas are now so indissolubly associated in the public mind that few people realise that Thomas only settled in Laugharne because of his admiration for the writer Richard Hughes, who was then living in a somewhat dilapidated house in the Castle grounds. This lecture gives an account of the friendship between the two men - a friendship which was partly responsible for Thomas writing his classic 'play for voices' Under Milk Wood.

A.E.Housman: An Introduction

As its title suggests, this is a lecture which introduces its audience to the life and work of the poet and classical scholar A.E.Housman (1859-1931). Housman, whose book of poems entitled A Shropshire Lad has never been out of print since its first publication in 1896, was a fine poet whose emotional life was deeply troubled, and whose story is well worth hearing.

Lawrence of Arabia and his World

In October 1917 Great Britain had been at war with Germany for three years; as part of that war she had encouraged and supported an Arab Revolt against German's ally Turkey. A young Englishman, Thomas Edward Lawrence, was blowing up Turkish trains on the Damasuc-Medina railway line, and rumours of his success were spreading rapidly through the scattered Arabian tribes. 'Send us a lurens', wrote one of the Beni Atiyeh tribe to the Emir Feisal, one of the leaders of the Revolt, 'and we will blow up trains with it.' 'Lurens' became a legend not only in Arabia, but in the west, and the story of his life has fascinated readers and writers ever since.

John Cowper Powys and Merlin

This lecture is to some extent about 'The Matter of Britain', but also examines how John Cowper Powys's ideas about the nature of the Universe, which once seemed to be utterly bizarre, are increasingly much the same as those of modern Physicists. A lecture full of strange wonders.

The Powyses Revisited

This lecture provides its audience with an introduction to the life and work of John Cowper Powys, author of A Glastonbury Romance; Theodore Powys, author of Mr. Weston's Good Wine, and a great favourite of the influential critic F.R.Leavis; and Llewelyn Powys, author of Dorset Essays and Somerset Essays.