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Robert Graves and the Classical Tradition$
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A. G. G. Gibson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198738053

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198738053.001.0001

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‘Con beffarda irriverenza’

‘Con beffarda irriverenza’

Graves’s Augustus in Mussolini’s Italy

(p.255) 13Con beffarda irriverenza
Robert Graves and the Classical Tradition

Jonathan Perry

Oxford University Press

When Graves’s Claudius books appeared in Italian-language editions in 1936 the timing seemed fortuitous, given the preparations for a multifaceted Fascist commemoration of Augustus’s 2000th birthday (September 1937–September 1938). This chapter assesses the reaction to Io, Claudio in Fascist Italy, particularly among those prominent figures who published reviews—and shortly afterward contributed to the Augustan celebrations. The ‘decadence’ and ‘Englishness’ of Augustus’s portrait that these reviews claimed to find in Graves are analysed and placed against the very specific chronological moment of the late 1930s. This is achieved particularly with regard to the biography of Augustus published in 1937 by John Buchan, the renowned writer of both ‘shockers’ and histories, the Governor-General of Canada (1935–40), and Graves’s friend and frequent correspondent.

Keywords:   Augustus, John Buchan, Fascism, Livia, Benito Mussolini, Roberto Paribeni, Laura Riding

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