Graves returned to Majorca in May, 1946, after an enforced absence of ten years. His departure, from an island turned Falangist, had been precipitate; his return, with Beryl and their children, was more ceremonious. He was at the height of his career in terms of achievement, if not yet of recognition: his best book of verse, Poems 1938–1945, had been recently published, and The White Goddess was with Eliot at Faber. The present volume – successor to In Broken Images (1982), which covered the years 1914–46 – opens at this point, with Graves writing happily about Deyá to old friends like James Reeves and Alan Hodge.
O’Prey’s selection is, of necessity, highly selective, for Graves was prolific in correspondence as in everything else (I use the past tense since he has now stopped writing): a mere fraction of his epistolary output is represented here. Important material is absent – notably, says O’Prey in his introduction, letters