The 1964 Oxford lectures

Scope and Content

This file contains ms and ts drafts of Graves's Oxford lectures for 1964: 'Standards of Craftsmanship', 'A Favourite Cat Drowned' and 'A Pretty Kettle of Fish', all later published in 'Poetic Craft and Principle' (London: Cassell, 1967). The lectures discuss poetic technique and criticise a number of much-anthologised poems. The similarity of subject matter between the three lectures is perhaps a contributing factor to a fluidity in the drafts, with passages appearing in drafts of more than one lecture at various stages. It may be that Graves was working on creating a composite essay from the three lectures. The proposed sequence of lectures also varies. The final version of the lectures as given by Graves is difficult to determine from these drafts.


The file arrived in considerable disorder. Drafts have been arranged where possible in the order of the given lectures, as presented in 'Poetic Craft and Principle'; a bundle of drafts which appeared to contain a high proportion of material from more than one lecture, as presented in 'Poetic Craft and Principle', have been placed at the end of this file.


Canelluñ Collection number: CC2440

This refers to the arrangement of the papers in Robert Graves’ study before they were transferred to the College.