Critical Context

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 194

The White Goddess is, in part, a work of literary criticism and is focused on a tradition that is not widely studied in the modern era. Graves has done useful scholarly work in his effort to explicate the text of the Hanes Taliesm and other Celtic poetry. Much research and thought went into this study. Such work is usually done by academics and rarely is written as well as this effort. He has offered interesting and stimulating interpretations, and his book makes a strong contribution to literary criticism.

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The more personal sections of the book, in which Graves discusses the qualities of poetic inspiration, are stimulating and will be of interest to those seeking either an inspiration of their own or an understanding of the motivation of other writers. His interpretations are unorthodox but that makes them the more valuable to those looking for their own muses. These sections are also important for what they reveal about Graves, though his standing as a lesser poet may call into question the validity of his speculations on what makes a great one. Perhaps, however, one does not have to achieve great enlightenment to recognize its qualities.

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