'Song of Songs'

Scope and Content

The series contains ms and ts drafts and notes for a musical - never performed - based on the Biblical story of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, but also exploring the idea of a matriarchal polyandric society. Graves collaborated with his daughter, Jenny Nicholson, on the project and her work is much in evidence. The musical is variously titled 'A Song for Sheba', 'Solomon and Sheba' and 'Song of Songs'; the latter title appears on the latest version of the work. Martin Seymour-Smith writes in 'Robert Graves: His Life and Work' (London: Abacus, 1983. pp. 486-487): "He [Graves] had thought hard about how he could possibly tackle the script - of all things - of a Broadway musical, and sensibly decided that the girl he needed was his daughter, Jenny, who had, after all, been in show business, and was a writer, and had had ambitions in just that direction. Jenny, as agreed in Rome, arrived in Mallorca on 18 February 1959. When she left, after only fifteen days, 'A Song for Sheba' was finished."


The series arrived with many of the drafts in considerable disarray; chronology and integrity are therefore difficult to determine. Material has been arranged to crudely reflect a possible chronology, from Jenny Nicholson's notes and ts drafts, to ms drafts prepared for Karl Gay to type, to later complete scripts.


Canelluñ Collection number: CC0001

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