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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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Claudius in the Library

Claudius in the Library

Chapter:
(p.42) (p.43) 2 Claudius in the Library
Source:
Robert Graves and the Classical Tradition
Author(s):

Duncan Kennedy

Ellen O’Gorman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198738053.003.0003

Chapter 9 of Robert Graves’s I, Claudius, in which Claudius encounters the historians Livy and Pollio in the Apollo Library, stages a dramatic representation of the competing claims and justifications of historiography and historical fiction. The interchanges of Livy and Pollio play out not only the traditional arguments for what makes for good history-writing but also for Graves debates about the claims of the historical novel. The scene refracts ironically through Claudius as narrator Graves’s anxieties about his own scholarly credentials and humorously explores the pretensions of historical fiction to offer a plenitude of knowledge about the past that can only ever be a fantasy for historiography.

Keywords:   I, Claudius, historiography, historical fiction, Livy, Pollio, Graves’s scholarly credentials, Claudius as narrator

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