Anatomy of a Manuscript: The Telling Tales of Robert Graves´s “Untitled Work on Ancient Myth”

 Sipes, Patricia

St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas.


Manuscripts are living, breathing entities that often tell a much different story than their “finished” or published versions; the gems found wedged in marginalia and notations, beneath blacked out marks of mistaken words and the very paper on which the manuscript was created all have telling tales to tell. Robert Graves suggests that all original manuscripts should be destroyed, but many of his still exist in undated and unsigned formats. By identifying and dating these manuscripts, such as the “Untitled Work on Ancient Myth” found at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, his complex creative process and code cipherings can be unravelled. By using archival—mainly private correspondence—and biographical information, this paper dates the “Untitled Work on Ancient Myth,” allowing it to be placed in the creationary timeline of the finished work The White Goddess.