I Claudius - Robert Graves 1934 - Arthur Barker, London - First Edition With large fold out table ‘Tree of the Imperial Family and Connexions’ to the rear. Formerly the property of Eleanor Campbell-Orde née Watts who, during her years at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, ‘enjoyed friendships with Osbert Lancaster, John Betjeman, Stephen Spender, Christopher Hawkes and Evelyn Waugh, whose wife eloped with her boyfriend.’

‘Written in the form of Claudius' autobiography, this is the first part of Robert Graves' brilliant account of the madness and debauchery of ancient Rome, and stands as one of the most celebrated, gripping historical novels ever produced.

Despised for his weakness and regarded by his family as little more than a stammering fool, the nobleman Claudius quietly survives the intrigues, bloody purges and mounting cruelty of the imperial Roman dynasties. In
I, Claudius he watches from the sidelines to record the reigns of its emperors: from the wise Augustus and his villainous wife Livia to the sadistic Tiberius and the insane excesses of Caligula.’

'Still an acknowledged masterpiece and a model for historical fiction ... sympathetic and intensely involving: a great feat of imagination'. – Hilary Mantel, author of
Wolf Hall.
  Robert Graves (1895-1985) was an English poet and novelist who during his lifetime authored more than 140 books of poems, novels and translations, autobiography, poetics and books on myth. He is frequently remembered for his memoir of the First World War, Good-bye To All That, his two-volume Greek Myths, his historical study of poetic inspirations The White Goddess and his historical novels, I, Claudius and Claudius The God.

Provenance: Eleanor H. Watts, signed by her twice and with her small stamped initials. library stamp to front.

June 25th 1929
My Dear Eleanor
How very kind of you to ask to Evelyn and me to stay. I think that she would love to. I, alas, am less free as I am chained hand and foot to this novel I am writing - a welter of sex and snobbery... I hope I shall have it finished by the middle of July in which case I shall love to visit you. Would you think it intolerably casual and altogether like the beastly people in the book I am writing, if I ask you to let me leave it open...
Have they expelled you yet – and did you enjoy being tipsy?
Yours Evelyn Waugh.


References: Higginson,
A Bibliography of the Writings of Robert Graves, A42a. Penguin Classics, web. ‘The Robert Graves Collection’ University of Buffalo Library, web.

Octavo (22.4 x 14.6 cm) pp. 494 [2]. In publisher’s black cloth, spine lettered in gilt.
  Condition: Vry good, some marking to boards, and wear to spine ends.   Ref: 109055   Price: HK$ 1,100