Robert Graves

ROBERT GRAVES (1895–1985) was a preeminent English poet, novelist, critic, translator, and scholar of classical mythology. He served in World War I—an experience recounted in his 1929 autobiography, Good-bye to All That—and later became the first professor of English literature at the University of Cairo. Best remembered today for his acclaimed historical novels about the Roman emperor Claudius, I, Claudius and Claudius the God, his other books include The White Goddess, The Hebrew Myths, and Collected Poems.

ALAN HODGE (1915–1979) was a historian and editor. In addition to The Reader Over Your Shoulder, he collaborated with Graves on Work in Hand, a poetry collection, and The Long Week-End, a social history of Britain during the First and Second World Wars.

PATRICIA T. O’CONNER, a former staff editor at the New York Times Book Review, is the author of five books on language, most recently Origins of the Specious, written with her husband, Stewart Kellerman. Her first book, Woe Is I, has half a million copies in print and will soon appear in a fourth edition. She and Mr. Kellerman blog about the English language at

Featured Books By Author

Hercules, My Shipmate

An inventive reimagining of the story of Jason and the Argonauts, this novel by renowned poet and classicist Robert Graves brings heroic figures of Hellenistic myth to life. Graves’ Jason is belligerent, energetic, and full of life, and the society Graves builds for him is outlandish and deeply invested in ancient cults.

Against this primitive, religious backdrop, the charismatic Jason assembles a crew and sets out to retrieve the sacred gold-trimmed fleece that is sacred to Zeus, and that has been stolen by worshippers of the Triple Goddess. Accompanying him is Hercules, a brave warrior known more for his brawn, and his astonishingly good luck, than his brains. Robert Graves builds a compelling world that sets Hellenistic magic and mystery in a surprisingly gritty, realistic setting, a fascinating read for fans of Greek mythology.

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Selected Works of Robert Graves

The Selected Works of Robert Graves introduces readers to a selection of four noteworthy literary works by renowned novelist, poet and translator, Robert Graves. This four-novel collection highlights his work in the historical fiction genre—which offers timeless insight into the human condition, as well as a unique window into history as envisioned by a master writer.
I, Claudius tells the tale of a rather bookish young man with a limp and a stammer, a man who spent most of his time trying to stay away from the danger and risk of the line of ascension—only to find himself next in line for the throne. They Hanged my Saintly Billy sets out the details of the real, 1856 trial of William Palmer, a self-confessed forger, thief, and petty criminal. Though he is accused of allegedly poisoning his friends and family, Robert Graves presents Palmer’s side of the story, deeply flawed but ultimately not beyond redemption. In The Islands of Unwisdom, Spanish Adventurer Alvaro de Mendana y Neyna and his wife, the beautiful and dangerous Ysabel, lead a crew of adventurers beyond the horizon in search of the Solomon islands—and wealth beyond their wildest dreams. Wife to Mr. Milton is Robert Graves’ fictionalization of a real, troubled marriage, told from the point of view of the witty, sensual Marie Powell—who is ill matched to the cruel and domineering John Milton.

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Wife to Mr. Milton

The famous poet John Milton, author of Paradise Lost, had a wife, and their story is both strange and tumultuous. Consummate historical novelist and poet Robert Graves tells the story from the perspective of the wife, Marie Powell, a young woman who married the poet to escape a debt.

From the start, the couple proves mismatched; Milton is a domineering and insensitive husband set on punishing Marie for not providing the promised dowry. John Milton and his young wife are both religiously and temperamentally incompatible, and this portrait of their relationship is spellbinding, if not distinctly unflattering to Milton. It also provides fascinating accounts of the political upheavals of the time, including the execution of Charles I. This book is an excellent read for fans of historical fiction.

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Books By
Robert Graves