AbstractNonsense and nursery rhymes are among the most undervalued aspects of the oeuvre of Robert Graves, and yet, if examined with the seriousness that informed their creation, they reveal a range of meanings and beliefs that can complicate and inform our understanding of Graves’s poetics. With notable exceptions, scholars have preferred to hive off Graves’s nonsense and nursery rhymes, and to regard them as something akin to self-indulgence (in the order of a weakness for puns). But there is abundant evidence in Graves’s letters, criticism and in the poems themselves, that his notions of nonsense and nursery rhyme embraced complexity, depth and originality, and that they sprung from the same deep pools of thought and feeling that nourish all of Graves’s poetry.
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