BERYL Graves, the widow of Robert Graves, died yesterday of complications arising from a hip operation. The funeral will take place in the parish church of Deya at 7pm today. Beryl Antoinette Graves, née Pritchard, was born in London on February 22, 1915. She had lived in Deya since she arrived in 1946 with her husband Robert Graves, who died in 1985, and their three young children, William, Lucia and Juan. A fourth child, Tomás, was born on the island a few years later. Daughter of Sir Harry Pritchard, a prominent London lawyer, she met her first husand, Alan Hodge, at Oxford. Hodge collaborated with Robert Graves on The Long Week-End and The Reader Over your Shoulder, visiting him in Deya, but she didn't meet Graves until 1937, when she and Hodge joined him, Laura Riding and others in France to work on a project for a new dictionary. With the onset of World War II, the team moved to Rhode Island, in the US; where the Graves-Riding partnership fell apart and Robert fell in love with Beryl. Back in Britain, the couple settled in Devon, where Graves wrote The White Goddess, perhaps his most important work, waiting for the war to end so they could return to his home in Deya, where he had first lived in 1929. Despite the difficulties of bringing up four children in a new culture still suffering the devastation of a civil war, Beryl Graves not only adapted perfectly to the new language and surroundings but also found time to collaborate with her husband, translating works from the Spanish, like Alarcon's classic The Child with the Globe (El Niño de la Bola)
The leftist views she had embraced at Oxford stayed with her all her life although she kept her views to herself. Life became difficult for her when the house became a place of pilgrimage for all kinds of visitors -poets, politicians, journalists, film stars and beatniks- but thanks to her pragmatism and sharp wit she managed to keep things in hand. When all her children were grown up or at school, she found time to indulge in one of her passions: Russian literature. She studied Russian and visited the USSR several times, where she made close friends with Graves' translators and other intellectuals, including Ivy Litvinoff. Beryl Graves kept abreast of the times in current affairs, literature and science -especially astronomy- but her main passions were her garden and her animals. As a child an uncle had brought her a pair of alligators, Bacon and Eggs, who lived in the bathtub. In the 1960s she brought a pair of Abyssinian cats to Deya and their genes are still evident in the local feline population. She also kept a slow loris at home until its mating smell obliged her to give it to the Barcelona Zoo. After the death of her husband in 1985, she spent eight years revising and annotating his complete poetic work, with the help of Dunstan Ward, which saw the light in the late 1990s as a three–volume set published by Carcanet. A few months before her death, she was proud to see this work published by Penguin Classics as Robert Graves: the Complete Poems. On the night of October 7, she went out into the garden to look at the Moon, which was almost full, close to Mars which was at its brightest since she was a child. Coming in through the kitchen door, she broke her hip. The frailty of her 88 years couldn't deal with the complications arising from the operation and after two weeks constantly attended by her family she died peacefully yesterday morning, in the company of her daughter Lucia.


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