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The Powyses

D.A.N. Jones, 7 August 1980

After My Fashion 
by John CowperPowys.
Picador, 286 pp., £2.50, June 1980, 0 330 26049 9
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Weymouth Sands 
by John CowperPowys.
Picador, 567 pp., £2.95, June 1980, 0 330 26050 2
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Recollections of the Powys Brothers 
edited by Belinda Humfrey.
Peter Owen, 288 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 7206 0547 4
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John CowperPowys and David Jones: A Comparative Study 
by Jeremy Hooker.
Enitharmon, 54 pp., £3.75, April 1979, 0 901111 85 6
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The Hollowed-Out Elder Stalk 
by Roland Mathias.
Enitharmon, 158 pp., £4.85, May 1979, 0 901111 87 2
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John CowperPowys and the Magical Quest 
by Morine Krissdottir.
Macdonald, 218 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 354 04492 3
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... B. Priestley, G. Wilson Knight, George Steiner, Angus Wilson) have been booming the name of John CowperPowys for many years, outraged that other big guns will not join the salute. In the first number of the Powys Review, in 1977, George Steiner blamed Dr Leavis for praising ...

Separate Development

Patricia Craig, 10 December 1987

The Female Form 
by Rosalind Miles.
Routledge, 227 pp., £15.95, July 1987, 0 7102 1008 6
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Feminism and Poetry 
by Jan Montefiore.
Pandora, 210 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 86358 162 5
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Nostalgia and Sexual Difference 
by Janice Doane and Devon Hodges.
Methuen, 169 pp., £20, June 1987, 9780416015317
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Reading Woman 
by Mary Jacobus.
Methuen, 316 pp., £8.95, November 1987, 0 416 92460 3
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The New Feminist Criticism 
edited by Elaine Showalter.
Virago, 403 pp., £11.95, March 1986, 0 86068 722 8
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Reviewing the Reviews 
Journeyman, 104 pp., £4.50, June 1987, 1 85172 007 3Show More
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... intangible feminine principle. True, a similar principle was being evoked in the early Thirties by John CowperPowys, when he commended Dorothy Richardson for having dredged up her novels ‘out of the abyss of feminine consciousness’; and there’s Virginia Woolf’s famous comment on the same set of novels, when she ...

Big Books

Adam Mars-Jones, 8 November 2018

... trim on the outside, feigning the sense of proportion that the contents had no time for. John CowperPowys’s A Glastonbury Romance was a proper doorstop, and so was L.H. Myers’s The Near and the Far, which I read in New Orleans in 1980, mainly in a hippyish French Quarter teahouse called Until Waiting ...


Ian Hamilton: New New Grub Street, 3 February 1983

... drink(s) in exchange for a mint copy of Giles Goatboy, or of swopping some multi-volume reissue of John CowperPowys for a night out on the town. The Chancery Lane idea is (or used to be) that you can sell off review copies for half their published price. The books had to be in really good condition (hence the loving ...

Rooting for Birmingham

John Kerrigan, 2 January 1997

The Dow Low Drop: New and Selected Poems 
by Roy Fisher.
Bloodaxe, 208 pp., £8.95, February 1996, 1 85224 340 6
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... furnace and the smoky atmospherics which he calls ‘Gothic’. But the poem is dedicated to John CowperPowys, whose Atlantis, one of his most eccentric novels, is cited as a source. As Fisher himself points out, A Furnace inherits Powys’s ‘Romantic notion’ that ‘the ...

Mr Toad

John Bayley, 20 October 1994

Evelyn Waugh 
by Selina Hastings.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 600 pp., £20, October 1994, 1 85619 223 7
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... in its wounded and brilliant malignancy, his own young wife and her lover into the Brenda Last and John Beaver of A Handful of Dust. It had been essential for Waugh to transmute what had gone on and what had not gone on during that brief marriage into what John CowperPowys would call ...

Magnanimous Cuckolds

Jack Matthews, 10 November 1988

The Lyre of Orpheus 
by Robertson Davies.
Viking, 472 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 9780670824168
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... Simon Darcourt: he is a priest, a bachelor, and a professor of Greek in the College of St John and the Holy Ghost (familiarly known as ‘Spook’); he is also a man of acute observation and humane understanding. In addition, since much of the action of all the novels derives from Francis Cornish’s life and accomplishments, Darcourt provides a sort ...

No Sense of an Ending

Jane Eldridge Miller, 21 September 1995

Windows on Modernism: Selected Letters of Dorothy Richardson 
edited by Gloria Fromm.
Georgia, 696 pp., £58.50, February 1995, 0 8203 1659 8
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... had acquaintances in the literary world (her correspondents included H.G. Wells, Bryher, H.D. and John CowperPowys), most of her life was lived in obscurity, and her friendships were mainly epistolary ones. Her aversion to having her picture taken and her reluctance to submit to interviews (she believed that readers ...

Snarly Glitters

August Kleinzahler: Roy Fisher, 20 April 2006

The Long and the Short of It: Poems 1955-2005 
by Roy Fisher.
Bloodaxe, 400 pp., £12, June 2005, 1 85224 701 0
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... The Thing about Joe Sullivan, probably the most likeable collection by a not always likeable poet, John Ash wrote: ‘In a better world, he would be as widely known and highly praised as Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.’ This would be a very strange world, and not necessarily a better one. Fisher has never aspired to the sort of readership that Heaney and ...


Iain Sinclair: In Guy Vaes’s Footsteps, 21 May 2020

... on the telephone, that he will very soon have to ‘disappear’. The discovery of authors such as John CowperPowys, about whom Vaes knows nothing, is paralleled in his reinvention of London districts such as Kensal Rise, Shadwell and Fulham. Remaining in Belgium, he finds another London with which he is comfortable: a ...

The Matter of India

John Bayley, 19 March 1987

... both are made by the individual, who puts himself into them, puts in his ‘life illusion’, as John CowperPowys called it, his unconscious fears and desires. History will not work without fiction, or at least the fictive principle, which Scott renounced as far as he could. This of course amounts to choosing a ...

Orificial Events

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘The Promise’, 4 November 2021

The Promise 
by Damon Galgut.
Chatto, 293 pp., £16.99, June, 978 1 78474 406 9
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... The yoking of supposedly high and low aspects of life isn’t new, it’s there in Lawrence, and John CowperPowys finds in it a sort of transgressive holiness, but here it represents no more than a reflex of disgust.Before the ceremony a grieving relative had insisted on the coffin being opened, motivated supposedly ...

Downland Maniacs

Michael Mason, 5 October 1995

The Village that Died for England 
by Patrick Wright.
Cape, 420 pp., £17.99, March 1995, 0 224 03886 9
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... the pseudo-archaeological ‘downland’ mania of H.J. Massingham, the neo-paganism of Llewellyn Powys (brother of John Cowper), the symbolist nostalgia of Mary Butts, the Marxist version of village life offered by lesbians Valentine Ackland and Sylvia Townsend Warner, the Luddite organicism of Rolf Gardiner and the ...

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett: A Story, 8 March 2007

... unsmiling Sir Kevin. ‘Norman is so cheeky. Now we’ve read Dylan Thomas, haven’t we, and some John CowperPowys. And Jan Morris we’ve read. But who else is there?’ ‘You could try Kilvert, maam,’ said Norman. ‘Who’s he?’ ‘A vicar, maam. Nineteenth century. Lived on the Welsh borders and wrote a ...

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