Seminari: "Letters from Deià: A Poet's Correspondence"

A Two-Day Seminar on Robert Graves

Convenors: Patricia Bastida i Eduard Moyà (doctors en English Philology, Departament de Filologia Espanyola, Moderna i Clàssica, Universitat de les Illes Balears)

Aula de Graus. Facultat de Filosofia i Lletres (Edifici Ramon Llull, Campus UIB).


Organised by: Grup de recerca “Relat de Viatges i Mite Insular. El Viatge a les Balears”, Fundació Robert Graves (Delegació de la Presidència per a la Cultura) and Servei d’Activitats Culturals (Vicerectorat de Projecció Cultural, Universitat Oberta i Seus Universitàries, Universitat de les Illes Balears)

With the support of: Facultat de Filosofia i Lletres



Robert Graves wrote around 30,000 letters during his life, out of which 9,000 are catalogued in more than 70 institutions (in libraries of universities such as Oxford and the USA, among others). Much of his correspondence still remains uncatalogued. It is calculated that Graves sent 10,000 letters from Deià: these letters were the only way to communicate with his literary network during the 50 years that he resided on the island of Mallorca. Many of these were written to acclaimed literary names of the time and celebrities with whom the poet had a more or less close relationship (such as T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Edmund Blunden, Alan Sillitoe, Kingsley Amis, Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill, Ingrid Bergman or Alec Guinness). Numerous addressees of these letters even visited Robert Graves in Mallorca. His rich and valuable correspondence is a scarcely explored facet of the poet and this seminar intends to provide it with the visibility it deserves. 


2nd and 3rd December, 2019


Aula de Graus, Ramon Llull. UIB Campus

Monday 2nd December

9.30. Opening

10.00-11.30. “Against the Grain: Robert Graves’s Letters to Poets and on Poetry”. John Kelly (Emeritus Research Fellow, Saint John's College, Oxford)

11.30. Break

12.00-13.30. “‘A non-sales point of some importance’: Correspondence between Robert Graves and Lynette Roberts”. Charles Mundye (Sheffield Hallam University, President of the Robert Graves Society)

13.30-14.00. Reading of a selection of Robert Graves’s poems by UIB students

18.00. Gnaeus Robertulus Gravesa. Life of a Poet Balearicus. Theatre play: a Plautine comedy. Venue: Aula Magna, Guillem Cifre. UIB Campus

Authors: Eduard Moyà and Julián Bastida. Based on Graves's tale “Gnaeus Robertulus Gravesa”

Synopsis: 1st century. At a small village on the Roman island of Maiorica, two actors are given the assignment to represent the biography of the acclaimed poet Gnaeus Robertulus Gravesa. For Iulianus Maximus, this is his final chance to shine as a tragic actor. Genesius Mínimus, on the other hand, foresees an excellent opportunity to make money with the play and take a holiday to the Mare Nostrum, surrounded by licentious Teutonic women. Who will achieve his goal? Masks, brawls, muses, sex, poems and the charming spirit of the poet Gravesa, will lead the actors to the staging of a play they had never imagined.

19.10. Roundtable on the play

Tuesday 3rd December

10.00-11.30. “Letters, Documents and Diary: Where Graves Obtained his Facts and Knowledge for «Esta en su casa»”. William Graves (Robert Graves’s literary executor) and Joana Maria Seguí Aznar (doctor in English Philology, researcher on the poet’s Majorcan stories)

11.30. Break

12.00. Screening of My Majorca (17’) and discussion on the documentary

Produced by Pacific Pictures, it was filmed in the summer of 1953 on a touristic Mallorca with Robert Graves’s participation and premiered in the USA in 1955. The visual document was found thanks to a piece of research on tourism on the island and screened in April 2019 at the Centre de Cultura Sa Nostra, Palma.

13.00. Closure

Data de l'esdeveniment: 02/12/2019

Data de publicació: 09/11/2019