Selected Essays From Epilogue

A Mannered Grace

Selected essays from Epilogue

1935-1937 by Laura Riding and Robert Graves
edited by Mark Jacobs

Manchester: Carcanet, 2001

From the preface

THE THREE VOLUMES of the now quite rare Epilogue - represented here - were edited by Laura Riding, with Robert Graves described as 'Assistant Editor' on the title-page of the first volume but as 'Associate Editor' on its cover, and as 'Associate Editor' in both places on the next two. Laura Riding's written contribution was, in quantity, roughly twice that of Robert Graves. Other contributors included John Cullen, James Reeves, Honor Wyatt, Len Lye, Thomas Matthews, John Aldridge, Ward Hutchinson, Norman Cameron, Kenneth Allott, Alan Hodge, Sally Graves and Jacob Bronowski, all of whom later became widely known and respected for their work in their various fields.

Epilogue was a handsome octavo hard-back periodical, which had a John Aldridge engraving of a stage with figures imprinted on the front board (in the style of those he executed for Laura Riding's poem, 'The Life of the Dead'); each volume is about 250 pages in length. It was published jointly by Riding and Graves's Seizin Press and Constable. Three volumes appeared (1935, 1936, 1937), and the fourth was presented as a book, The World and Ourselves (1938), described as a 'Symposium on State of World, Edited with Commentaries, by Laura Riding'.

The principles, vision and editorial scope of Epilogue were Laura Riding's, as the editor. However, as she was keen to make clear in the prefatorial 'Preliminaries' of Volume I, everything that appeared was to be the result of 'collaborative arrangement' between editors and contributors. Thus, all the essays are either collaborations between two or more authors, or have footnotes and endnotes by other contributors. Even the 'primary material' of the poems, stories, photographs and art has some collaborative element, whether of direct comment or arrangement.

The level of interest in the work of both Laura Riding and Robert Graves, as witnessed by the number of their books currently being reprinted, republished or newly published, is high, and this selection of essays from Epilogue, focusing exclusively on work by the two authors, reflects that interest; most of these essays have not been republished until now.