Saturday, July 24, 2010

Goodbye to all of That

From yesterday's "grave man" to today's man named Graves. The fellow above is one Robert Graves, born this day 1895, in London, England. After a rather typical English schoolboy education, Graves enlisted almost immediately upon the outbreak of World War I. He would become one of the several famous "war poets" that the great war produced. However, it was at a steep cost, he was wounded so badly at the Battle of the Somme, that he was given up for dead (and his death was even officially reported). He managed to survive that wound, and survive the shell shock that many veterans of that horrible conflict suffered from, and thankfully so.

Because after the war he was to write the lovely books that make him our hero of this particular day. "I, Claudius," "Claudius the God," and "Goodbye to all of That." Are three books we should all read. I particularly like the first two, written as a hidden memoir of the Roman emperor Claudius, who reigned 41-54 A.D. They are both excellent books, and PBS (a long time ago) even produced a wonderful series starring Derrick Jacobi as Claudius, that I would recommend as well. Graves would later profess a dislike for the two Claudius books, stating that they were written solely for the money, on a deadline, and he bemoaned their popularity. Deadline or not, and whether he liked them are not later in life, they are two fantastic books, and "I, Claudius" was voted as one of the top 100 great novels of all time. Not bad from someone writing solely for the money.

So, for those wonderful books that tell such an interesting tale, Robert Graves (July 24th, 1895-December 7th, 1985, at the age of 90), you are my (334th) hero of the day.

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