Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Johnson > Letter-Writers > Richard Graves and his literary work
  Jago The Spiritual Quixote and Columella  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.

XI. Letter-Writers.

§ 22. Richard Graves and his literary work.


The same may be said of his intimate friend, Richard Graves, well known to all the Warwickshire coterie. He wrote so much that there is a natural temptation to regard him as a mere scribbler or a literary hack. Such a judgment would be most unjust. He lived to be nearly ninety, and in so many years it is no tedious achievement to have written some dozen books that are worth reading, besides a few more which, perhaps, are not. Graves was a fellow of All Souls, and there began a lifelong friendship with Blackstone. He was a poet, and a colector of poems: Euphrosyne and The Festoon bear witness. He was a translator of Marcus Aurelius and of many ancient epigrams. He was a correspondent of clever people, but better pleased to receive than to write letters and not one to copy and preserve those he had written. He was a diligent country parson (not to be confused with his son, sometime vicar of Great Malvern, whose boyish skill in Latin was commended by Shenstone), never away for a month at a time in all the fifty-five years he was rector of Claverton. In that delightful village, at an easy distance from Bath, by a charming country road, along which he walked almost every weekday for more than fifty years, he resided from 1749 to 1804, paying occasional visits to London, to Warwickshire and to the Leasowes. He was chaplain to the countess of Chatham, and became private tutor to several eminent persons, such as Prince Hoare and Malthus; and, at Bath, he was a popular figure, the intimate friend of “lowborn Allen” and his nephew-in-law, bishop Warburton. He had the knack of writing pleasing trivialities in the form of essays, which contained often curious information, entertaining anecdotes and sound morals. But his chief success, which should preserve his memory green, was as a novelist. He was unquestionably the most natural and effective writer of prose tales in his time, and might almost claim to be the originator of unemotional, impassionate romances of rural life and manners.   72

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Jago The Spiritual Quixote and Columella  
 
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