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venicebard  venicebard is offline
Join Date: 31 Mar 2005
Location: California, USA
Posts: 935

Originally Posted by kwaw
... there is so much speculation in what Graves documents, and so little GENUINE TRADITION.

He does not document, he speculates.
Yes, one problem with Graves is his failure at times to stipulate when he was speculating, but he wrote like that partly because it appeared to him obvious -- at least to anyone involved in serious study -- when he was waxing poetic and when he was relaying information. He was, after all, an extremely well-read scholar, and to say all he does is speculate misses the point: he was trying to peer past the veil of modern scholarship (as opposed to around it) into actual antiquity, by building on what is known.
He was a poet, his source a muse, not a document; an inspiration, not a limitation.
He was a rather good poet (I have belatedly discovered), but I think it more accurate to say in this context (that of his non-fiction) that he realized, as do I, that poetic themes properly understood are not speculation but psychological truth, and as such present in all ages. The particularizations of it in such times as that of the Troubadours or of the bards themselves, even, can best be understood in terms of the fundamental poetic theme, which he calls "life in death and death in life" and parses as heroic top half versus satiric underside of the wheel of the year. I have not in the main found it difficult to distinguish between what he presents as evidence and the flights of fancy taking off therefrom, one example of the latter being the number system he himself seems to subscribe to, based on order of letters in the calendar-alphabet (meaning quasi-ogham order but with vowels interspersed at equinoxes and solstices), which probably did influence alef-bet order, as he suggests, but certainly did not supercede bardic numeration, at the deepest level of understanding anyway.
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