About 1953, Graves grappled with the idea of a novel, either about Queen Salote of Tonga’s great grand-father, or Sicily, circa 900 BC. The latter won the day, with Homer’s Daughter appearing in 1955.
Graves knew his Homeric scholarship would come under scrutiny, especially when he tackled the question of who wrote the Odyssey. Like his childhood influence, Samuel Butler, Graves was convinced of female authorship.
He imagined that ‘Professor Tush of Columbia and Professor Bosh of Harvard bellyaching’ about it, and in true Gravesian style, maintained:
‘there is nothing in the world against my reconstruction: and every nice Vassar girl will feel flattered that she could have written the Odyssey herself. How University Professors hate me!’
This first Cassell edition numbered 15,000 copies.