CFP: Thirteenth International Robert Graves Conference

‘The Robert Graves Society is pleased to announce that the Thirteenth International Robert Graves Conference will be held at St John’s College, Oxford, from 7 September to 10 September 2016. The theme of the conference will be ‘Robert Graves and the First World War’.

On the 20 July 1916, just four days before his 21st birthday, Robert Graves was seriously injured and left for dead during action in the Battle of the Somme. His Colonel wrote to Graves’s parents that their son was very gallant, and had died of wounds. However, despite a night’s neglect Graves was discovered the next day still alive in an old German Dressing station near Mametz Wood. On 5 August the Times was able to report that Graves, officially reported died of wounds, wished to inform his friends of his recovery. That Graves’s naturally mythological imagination saw this as a kind of rebirth should come as no surprise, and it afforded him an opportunity to draw on his experiences to become one of the best-known chroniclers of the war in his memoir Good-bye to All That (1929), and in a handful of regularly anthologised poems that survived the process of Graves’s own editing out of his early poetry. But Graves’s engagement with the war goes far beyond these important and popularly-known texts, and it was to remain a subject of conscious and unconscious preoccupation for much of the rest of his long life. The war’s transformative effects on Graves, his contemporaries, and subsequent generations is much under scrutiny in these centenary years, and this conference in the anniversary year of the Battle of the Somme looks to use Robert Graves as a way to further our understanding of the Great War in context.

The conference will include academic papers and readings by contemporary writers. Keynote speakers and participants to include Jean Moorcroft Wilson, Professor Tim Kendall, Patrick McGuinness, William Graves, and Professor Fran Brearton.


Proposals are invited for papers (20-30 minutes) on relevant topics relating to Graves and/or his contemporaries. These could include but are not limited to:
·         Rethinking the literary canon of the First World War;
·         literary networks and the war;
·         the war and literary ‘isms’ (such as Georgianism; modernism);
·         Graves and First World War writing;
·         Graves’s poetry of the war and about war;
·         the First World War, memory and memoir;
·         Graves and military history;
·         Graves, Wales, and the Royal Welch Fusiliers;
·         Graves and Europe;
·         the war and mythology;
·         legacies of the war in Graves’s writing;
·         the war and subsequent conflict;
·         music and the war;
·         the war and medicine;
·         the war and gender / sexuality.

Critical responses to recent works on Graves, papers on research in progress, on recently discovered archival material of interest to Graves scholars, on digital collections or on exhibitions of Graves’s work, and on the war in relation to Graves’s contemporaries, are also welcome.
Please send an abstract (max. 250 words) by 30 April 2016 to the conference organiser:

Dr Charles Mundye, FEA
Head of Academic Development
Department of Humanities
Faculty of Development and Society
Sheffield Hallam University
City Campus
Howard Street
Sheffield S1 1WB

The conference is open to all. It will be of interest to academics, teachers, research students, and anyone else who is interested in the life and writings of Robert Graves and his circle. The series of Robert Graves conferences have built up a reputation for their scholarly excellence and their friendly dialogue among participants from a wide variety of back-grounds, both lay and academic, and the Graves family itself.

To register an interest in attending the conference as a non-speaker, please e-mail Patrick Villa: