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The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth (FSG Classics) Paperback – 8 Oct 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2 edition (8 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374289336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374289331
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 3.7 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 442,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Robert Graves (1895 1985) was a poet, novelist, and critic. His first volume of poems, "Over the Brazier" (1916), reflected his experiences in the trenches during World War I and was followed by many works of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. He is perhaps best known for his novel "I, Claudius "(1934), which won the Hawthornden Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Grevel Lindop's books include "Travels on the Dance Floor: One Man's ""Journey to the Heart of Salsa," "The English Opium Eater: A Life of Thomas De ""Quincey," and several volumes of poems. He was born in Liverpool and now lives in Manchester, where he was formerly a professor of Romantic and

Early Victorian Studies at the Victoria University of Manchester."


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great copy well packed and great price.

This is my third copy of Graves' masterpiece. My first is so marked I keep the annotated as a diary.
Many foods are eaten once, then maybe tasted again. But something like salt is always on the shelf and is a required ingredient in nearly every dish. This is how I view this extraordinary book.
I own no other book more refferred to by me than TWG.
It informs me and inspires me and leads me gently down paths of wonder to perhaps another book or the desire to find more about my reason to be with TWG. I am never satisfied when between the sheets with TWG but oh do I love her ways !
Thank you again Robert.
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Format: Paperback
The central idea is that there exists a single fundamental story, an essential motif in mythology and in all "true" poetry;

TWO MEN CONTEND FOR THE LOVE OF A POWERFUL WOMAN.

The woman is the White Goddess of the title. The men are the demigods of Summer and Winter, and their battle is an allegory of the changing of the seasons. Every other story, fictional or otherwise, is a part of or a retelling of or a distortion of this central truth. The wealth of examples used by Graves is astonishing; even the Scriptures can be interpreted in the light of it.

Graves assembles his argument by cracking the code of two ancient Welsh poems. "The Battle of the Trees" (Cad Goddeu) and "The History of Taliesin" (Hanes Taliesin) are found to conceal two mystical alphabet-cum-calendar charms, Celtic equivalents of the Norse Runes. These charms are the means by which the story of the eternal love triangle is preserved, and they also hide the names of two Celtic deities, theoretically in conflict in the fourth century BC. The process by which the decoding is made is brilliant, erudite, and academically outrageous- no University would sanction it. And yet, Graves is certainly on to something.

Even if you disagree, it's worth reading this book and making your mind up yourself. No knowledge of Welsh is required (Graves himself proceeds from English translations). On the way you'll learn more about mythology, religion and anthropology than from any officially sanctioned source- only Frazer's "The Golden Bough" comes close to it. Treat it all cautiously- who knows what Graves himself was trying to conceal?- but discount none of it.
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Format: Paperback
Whilst some have disputed Graves historical inaccuracies in The White Goddess, im not reading this for its historical account, but rather for its mytho-poetical inventiveness and inspiration, of which I would say that it delivers handsomely.

The attempt to reconcile the Ancient Hebrew, Greek and Celtic civilizations with an Aegean/Tuath De Danaan Diaspora is fascinating and demands that the reader have a fairly wide background in cultural and mythological studies.

Speculating on the Cad Goddeu, The Battle of the Trees, a medieval Welsh poem from the Book of Taliesin, that the trees that fought in the battle in which each tree had a meaning and significance of its own. Graves argues that the original poet had concealed Druidic secrets about an older matriarchal Celtic religion for fear of censure from Christian authorities and that the 'battle' was probably not physical but rather a struggle of wits and scholarship. They did this he claims by employing the secret sign language called Ogham, in this case the Tree Ogham in which each tree holds a representative symbol, sound, meaning, set of mythologies and etc..
The particular poem and its meanings is he claims further concealed by the device of being 'pied' or mixed up with a further four poems, only those in the know would be able to correctly untangle and decipher their original order.

However and due to the excessive overloading of references and origins, at times it seems that Graves has almost become one of his ancient Cambrian Awenyddion' the magical minstrel poets who disguised their wisdom under the pretence of being possessed by spirits, as they did not deliver the answer to what is required in any connected manner..."but the person who skillfully observes them will find after many preambles...
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