Home icon. The Works of Robert Graves. Exhibition: 1 April to 17 June 2011.

Cabinet 6: Advances in Poetry

Mock Beggar Hall.

Robert Graves, Mock Beggar Hall. London: Published by Leonard & Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press, 1924.

By 1924, Graves had four children under five years; his health was shattered; and most of his poetry books were commercial failures.

In the 1920s, he came under the influence of Basanta Mallik, an Indian philosopher, who not only claimed it was foolish to seek for first causes, but demanded strict personal morality and a disciplined scepticism of social morality. Mock Beggar Hall (1924) was an outcome of this relationship; a disappointing one for Graves, who later tried to suppress the book.

In 1925, Graves managed to gain a B. Litt. Degree, with his thesis topic: ‘The Illogical Element in English Poetry’. Later renamed Poetic Unreason, it contained his thoughts that

‘poetry does not conform with those principles of logic’

as well as essays touching on ‘Poetic Genius’, Shakespeare, Edward Lear, and Thomas Hardy.

Poetic Unreason and Other Studies.

Robert Graves, Poetic Unreason and Other Studies. London: Cecil Palmer, 1925.