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John Cowper Powys T. F. Powys Llewelyn Powys
The Powys Family
brothers powys, the powys brothers jcp t f powys
llewelyn powys
the powys family

Digital versions of the complete texts of The Powys Journal for 2013 and 2014 are now available.

glen cavaliero, the powys society7th June 2017

Warmest congratulations to the Society’s President, GLEN CAVALIERO, who celebrated his 90th birthday.

  Events for 2017

The Powys Society Conference 2017

Two POWYS Days 2017

ELY, Saturday 29 April
Porius and Myrddin Wyllt
Old Fire Engine House, restaurant and art gallery, 25 St. Mary’s Street, Ely

john cowper powys, porius, the powys society
John Hodgson
will lead a discussion of two chapters from JCP’s novel Porius: Chapter III The Stranger and Chapter XV Myrddin Wyllt. Both chapters provide a good opportunity to explore JCP’s conception of the deep and elusive character of Merlin. For background reading members may wish to consult a useful essay by Mark Patterson, ‘The Origin of John Cowper Powys’s Myrddin Wyllt’ in the Powys Review, No.25, 1990; also see JCP’s own comments on his ideas about Merlin in his notes on the characters of Porius published in Powys Newsletter, No.4, 1974-1975 (Colgate University Press); and JCP’s letters to Norman Denny at the Bodley Head, in 1949 and 1950, which include references to the role of Merlin in Porius, published in Powys Notes, Fall and Winter 1992. Nikolay Tolstoy sympathetically discusses JCP’s interpretation of Merlin in his The Quest for Merlin (1985).
The venue of the meeting is the Old Fire Engine House, restaurant and art gallery, 25 St. Mary’s Street, Ely, located near the Cathedral. The meeting will take place in the upstairs sitting room and commence at 10.30 for welcome and coffee. Discussion of Chapter III of Porius will begin at 11.00. Lunch will be available from 12.00 to 13.00. We will recommence our discussion with an examination of Chapter XV of Porius after lunch.

EXETER, Thursday 15 June 2017
A one day literary symposium
Exeter University, Old Library, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter

The aim of the symposium is to identify potential for wider study of the books and documents in the Powys Society collection, present current research at Exeter University into writing about the south west region of England and show how analysis of original archival material can help broaden our understanding and appreciation of authors and their literary works.
This one day symposium will focus on the rich resources of the literary archives of the Heritage Collections at Exeter University where the Powys Society collection is now held. There will be an opportunity to hear talks by experts in the field of literary research and the handling of archival materials, participate in an open discussion and view examples of original documents, manuscripts, letters and books selected from the archives and literary papers of Exeter’s Heritage Collections including the Powys Society collection. The symposium will conclude with readings from works of the writers discussed during the day.
Speakers include Michael Kowalweski, Powys Society Collection Liaison Officer, Christine Faunch, Head of Heritage Collections, University of Exeter; Dr Chris Campbell, Lecturer at University of Exeter in Global Literatures. Dr Campbell’s research focuses on the intersections of world literature, postcolonial theory and environmental criticism and Dr Luke Thompson, writer, publisher and editor. Luke Thompson lectures at Falmouth University and is a former student at Exeter University. He has recently published a biography of Cornish poet, Jack Clemo entitled Clay Phoenix.
The event will open at 10.30 for welcome and coffee and commence at 11.00. We will break for lunch at 12.30 when there will also be an opportunity to examine a display of documents from the archives. We will recommence with talks and discussion at 14.00. The symposium will close at approximately 16.30. 

22 June 2017 A brief account:
Introduced by Christine Flaunch the Head of the Heritage Collection who made available a comprehensive display from the archive. Weighted and nestling on cushions were books, letters, manuscripts and documents from all the brothers along with wood engravings and related publications there for us to leaf over. And how wonderful that was to read whilst experiencing the texture of the paper and colour of the ink. For visual pleasure we delighted in the letters written by JCP on engraved hotel note paper sent whilst on lecture tours in America.

  Michael Kowalewski gave a comprehensive introduction outlining the very good reasons for studying the Powyses. He expressed how saddened he is by the neglect of this family of high achievers. He talked affectionately about TFP and eulogised about JCP’s ‘grand sweep of cosmic consciousness’ and his ability to seamlessly move from the everyday through nature to the cosmic and to the internal mythology of the characters. He read a passage from Wolf Solent.
  Dr Luke Thompson, published author of the unusual life of Jack Clemo described Clemo's relationship with T.F. Powys. He made a sensationalist description of Clemo as syphilitic which gave the impression that he was debauched rather than suffering from the congenital condition. In fact Clemo was deeply Christian with an extraordinary will. His relationship with T F, Thompson thought, was based on his admiration, respect and longing for TF to be the father he never had.
  Dr Chris Campbell grew up in Weymouth. Ideally placed to know the town intimately his paper on Weymouth Sands looked at the industrial underpinning of Portland stone. Explaining the ecological and economic changes that are charted by the lives of the characters in WS. He discussed WS as a localised optic to the commodity frontiers that operates worldwide. A very interesting and novel theoretical approach to the investigation of WS illustrating JCP’s political awareness and the subtle way that it appears in his work.
There will be a full report of the Exeter Symposium in the July Society Newsletter

Both events are free and everyone is welcome.

A charge will be made for optional lunch at Ely.
A contribution towards costs of refreshments at both Ely and Exeter would be very much appreciated.

If you plan to attend either or both events could members please notify Hon. Secretary by e-mail at or by post at 87 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AG.

The Powys Society Conference, 2017

The Hand Hotel, Bridge Street, Llangollen
Friday 18th to Sunday 20th August

Where the spirit breathes

Grevel Lindop, David Goodway, David Stimpson and Patrick Quigley

In 1909, Mrs Rodolph Stawell, made a journey, by car, through Wales at a time when there must have been very few other motorists. She described Llangollen in her book, Motor Tours in Wales:a little town that owes its charm entirely to its is an entrancing place.’ In the eighteenth century the English naturalist, William Bingley, also toured Wales, and observed the view of Llangollen from a distance ‘with its church and elegant bridge romantically embosomed in mountains.’ When JCP arrived in Llangollen in May 1935, on the way to his new home in Corwen, he was at first unimpressed. He wrote in his diary that he thought Llangollen was: ‘a grievous disappointment...we shall not return.’ However on that first visit he was also very much impressed by the river Dee and instantly remembered, appropriately, a line from Milton’s Lycidas, 'where Deva spreads her wizard stream'. He stared, transfixed, at the ruins of Dinas Bran and prayed for the soul of Owen Glendower. JCP’s veneration for the subject of his new novel, which he was already thinking about, connects with a fragment of verse by Shelley: ‘Great Spirit whom the sea of boundless thought nurtures within its imagined caves...’ Of course JCP did return to Llangollen many times. He loved the town and its surroundings reversing his original impression. For this year’s conference we also return to Llangollen and the friendly hospitality of the Hand Hotel in its picturesque position overlooking the Dee. Famous guests who have stayed here, in the past, have included Darwin, Wordsworth, Browning, Scott and Shaw. (To be continued . . . )

Full details of the Conference 2017

 Events for 2016

December 2016 Meeting

T.F. Powys & Liam O’Flaherty

theodore powys & liam o’flaherty, powys society

On Saturday 3 December at the Friends Meeting House, 120 Heath Street, Hampstead, NW3 1DR (300 yards from Hampstead underground station on the Northern line). 2pm for 2.30 start. Everyone is welcome.

Pat Quigley will present a talk on the relationship between T.F. Powys, the Irish writer Liam O’Flaherty, (1896-1984), and the group of writers associated with Charles Lahr (TFP’s favourite bookseller) and David Garnett.

bunhill fields friends meeting house, john cowper powys, the powys society

Liam O’Flaherty was a novelist and short story writer, with strong socialist beliefs, who in 1923, at the beginning of his writing career, escaped from the authorities in Ireland, travelled to England, toured Dorset and visited TFP at East Chaldon where, according to Judith Stinton, in Chaldon Herring: Writers in a Dorset Landscape (1988 / 2004), he camped ‘in a tent in a damp spot at the back of the old vicarage’. Here he began to write his most famous novel The Informer, published in 1925, which was later made into a successful film, directed by John Ford, in 1935, with a screenplay by Dudley Nichols. O’Flaherty was a keen admirer of TFP’s books and in 1925 he published a review, in The Irish Statesman, of Mr. Tasker’s Gods, in which he called TFP ‘a genius’, and praised the novel very highly. While staying at East Chaldon, Liam O’Flaherty had many discussions with Theodore. In a letter he wrote: ‘I have seen Powys and he looks awfully nice.’ TFP also favourably mentioned Liam O’Flaherty in a letter to David Garnett (now in the Powys Society Collection). In 1923 Gertrude Powys painted a portrait of O’Flaherty.
Pat Quigley, who is a member of the Powys Society, has previously given talks to audiences in Ireland about JCP. He is a retired public servant and the author of The Polish Irishman (2012) and Sisters Against the Empire (2016) on the Marcievitz connection and the 1916 Rising.

The event is free
(although a small contribution towards the cost of refreshments would be appreciated).

If you wish to attend this event please notify Hon. Secretary, Chris Thomas, either by e-mail at or by post at 87 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AG.

The Society’s Annual Conference
the powys society
12-14 August

powys society conference 2016

Llewelyn Powys Birthday Walk at East Chaldon

Celebrating the life, work and philosophy of
Llewelyn Powys

the sailor's return, east chaldon
13th August 2016

the dandelion fellowship, llewelyn powys, powys societyThe Dandelion Fellowship gather annually on Llewelyn's birthday at the Sailor's Return at East Chaldon in honour of his memory and according to the terms of his Will, and after raising a glass to Llewelyn those assembled walk up to his memorial stone where his last remains are interred high on the downs overlooking the channel and here a posy of his wedding flowers consisting of dandelions, ground-ivy and yarrow are placed and a reading from his work is given.

The gathering is at 12 noon and the walk commences after lunch, around 1.30 to 2pm. Walk about two and a quarter miles, mostly uphill - but downhill on the way back!

All welcome

Two POWYS Days

ELY, Saturday 23 April
Maiden Castle by John Cowper Powys

Sonia Lewis
will lead a discussion of Maiden Castle, Chapter 5, 'The Scummy Pond', at the Old Fire Engine House, restaurant and art gallery, 25 St Mary’s Street, Ely, which is located near Ely Cathedral. We will meet in the upstairs sitting room at 10.30am for welcome and coffee. Our discussion will commence at 11.00. Lunch will be served in the restaurant from 12.00 to 13.00. The discussion will recommence in the afternoon.

john cowper powys, maiden castle
MAIDEN CASTLE was first published in the USA in 1936 (the New York Times thought it was “bewildering because of its complete lack of movement”), and in the UK in 1937 (the TLS review said that it “moves within a realm of its own”). Our President, Glen Cavaliero, has called Maiden Castle JCP’s most “Lawrentian” novel and W.J. Keith called it “the work of a literary master” although “not a fully achieved novel”. The book was drastically cut by JCP’s American editor – “he’s a snipper not a slasher” said JCP. Maiden Castle did not appear in its original unabridged form until a new edition was published by the University of Wales Press, edited by Ian Hughes in 1990. The Daily Telegraph review of the new edition called the novel “extraordinary”. JCP began writing the story in August 1934 at Rat’s Barn, on the Dorset downs, on his return to the UK from America but he found it difficult to decide on the form the story should take. It was not until after he had moved to Dorchester on 8 October 1934 and started to rewrite the novel in January 1935 that he settled on the main setting in Dorchester itself reflecting his own daily routine and meetings with people. His working title for the Dorchester novel was now “Dud No-Man’s Girl”. Maiden Castle is particularly notable for its morbidity and obsession with death – Urien Quirm has “dead eyes”, he smells of mortality and is associated with a “corpse god”.  
Maiden Castle is a very troubling novel much concerned with frustrated desire, tangled human relationships, the dark influence of family history and the ancient mythological past. But Maiden Castle is also remarkable for its wealth of realistic detail and especially naturalistic evocations. Chapter five begins with a portrait of Dud No Man’s domestic life in the flat he shares with Wizzie Ravelston in Friary Lane (a self portrait of JCP and Phyllis) and ends with an astonishing climactic scene on the approach to the ramparts of Maiden Castle, “the mystical city of Dunium”, where the ‘nameless bastard’s’ true identity and his relationship to the grotesque figure of Urien Quirm is revealed. In between these events JCP weaves his way leisurely examining the interrelationships of his characters, commenting on certain astrological influences – Dorchester is described as “a city under the sign of water”, and exploring the theme of the quest for identity, integrity and the search for inner meaning. There is comedy in the scene at the Antelope hotel and the literary luncheon hosted by Mr Comber. In the fully restored edition of the novel we may now also better appreciate JCP’s description of “the magic of flowers”. There is a good discussion of the significance of JCP’s description of cuckoo flowers in Chapter 5, in the scene set alongside the water meadows on the path to the blue bridge, in Harald Fawkner’s book, JCP & the Elements (Powys Press, 2015). The textual history of the novel has also been published in an article by Ian Hughes in Powys Review No.12, 1982/1983. The abandoned parts of the novel can be consulted at the Powys Collection at Exeter University and were printed in the Powys Review No. 15, 1984/1985. For an interesting personal response to the novel see W.J Keith’s article in la lettre Powysienne, No. 16, Autumn, 2008. 

The Old Fire Engine House
Venue: The Old Fire Engine House (restaurant and art gallery), 25 St Mary’s Street, Ely.
Meet in the upstairs sitting room at 10.30am for welcome and coffee.
Our discussion will commence at 11.00.
Lunch will be served in the restaurant from 12.00 to 13.00. The discussion will recommence in the afternoon.

DORCHESTER, Saturday 16 July 2016
T.F. POWYS’s Religious and Metaphysical ideas

tfpMichael Kowalewski, the Society’s Collection Liaison Officer, will present an informal talk and lead a discussion on the theme of T.F.Powys’s religious and metaphysical ideas illustrated by an examination of passages from An Interpretation of Genesis, Father Adam and other works by TFP. In his talk Michael will explore TFP’s original ideas about religion, his visionary fantasies and religious symbolism, his dualist beliefs, love of the Bible, his mysticism, pantheism, and antinomianism. A.E. Waite, the occultist, in a discussion of TFP’s religious unorthodoxy, referred to his paradoxes, contradictions, as well as his reverence, sense of immanence and his ability to produce “brilliant epigrams”.

dorset county museumThe venue for the meeting is the library of the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester. Coffee and welcome is at 10.30am. The meeting will commence at 11.00. Lunch will be from 13.00 to 14.00 at a nearby restaurant.

AN INTERPRETATION OF GENESIS, written in an archaic biblical style in the form of a dialogue, was TFP’s first published work, privately printed in 1908 with the help of Louis Wilkinson and JCP, and distributed by William Rider & Son, but was also later reprinted by Chatto and Windus in 1929. On its first publication the book was favourably reviewed in Aleister Crowley’s magazine, Equinox, in March 1910, which noted the influence of the Kabbalah and dualism and stated: “This is a most mystical interpretation of the most beautiful of the books of the Old Testament... It is a little volume which one who reads will grow fond of, and will carry about with him, and open at random in quiet places, in the woods and nder the stars...”

t f powys, father adamFATHER ADAM was written in 1919 but remained unpublished during TFP’s lifetime. It did not appear until 1990 in a modern edition. In Powys Notes, Fall 1990, Anne Barbaeu Gardiner reviewed the novel and called it “a theological novel and will attract the sort of reader who would enjoy Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.”  A useful guide to the many levels of meaning and reference in Father Adam can be found in an article by L. R. Leavis, T.F.Powys in Perspective, the significance of Father Adam in the Powys Review, Nos. 29/30.

'Father Adam by T. F. Powys, edited by Ian Robinson. (The Brynmill Press Ltd, £8.40)—delightfully produced edition of Powys’s first mature tale which is a must for anyone interested in the mordant and yet sympathetically ironic vision of the English rural scene. The tragedy of innocence in the preacher of the Ten Commandments, Father Adam, looks forward to the story, “The Box of Sweets”, and the overwhelming vision of Ralph Crew, a young man who believes his calling to be “that of reforming and regenerating the people of the whole world”, is an early suggestion of Powys’s bleakly comic masterpiece, Mr Weston’s Good Wine.’ — The Use of English Vol. 54, No. 3

Both events are free although a charge will be made for lunch which is optional. We welcome contributions towards the costs of coffee and refreshments. Everyone is welcome to attend including non members.

If you wish to attend the meetings please notify Hon. Secretary, Chris Thomas, either by e-mail at or by post at 87 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AG.

The Powys Society Conference, 2016

The Wessex Hotel, Street, nr Glastonbury

Friday 12th August to Sunday 14th August

Strange Matters

the powys society
Including guest speakers Angelika Reichmann, Paul Cheshire and Peter Foss. Also, novelist Lindsay Clarke (The Chymical Wedding), who will present a talk on JCP's Porius, and Frank Wintle who will introduce the screening of a documentary film he made in 1986 for South West TV about the complicated relationship between Frances Gregg (JCP’s greatest love before he met Phyllis Playter), the poet H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Ezra Pound, Louis Wilkinson and JCP, including the discovery, in strange circumstances, of Pound’s original manuscript of poems dedicated to H.D. (written to H.D. in the romantic manner of Swinburne, William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1905 before he began experimenting with modernism).
Full Conference details, Booking Form, here

A number of back copies are available from the Powys Society of POWYS NOTES; the semi-annual publication of the Powys Society of North America which appeared between 1985 and 2000 under the editorial control of Denis Lane, Richard Maxwell and Nicholas Birns.
Please contact Hon. Secretary, by e-mail, at , or write to Hon Secretary at 87 Ledbury Road, London, W11 2AG, for details of availability and costs including postage.

A list of issues including titles of articles is also available. These issues of Powys Notes have been kindly donated to the Society by Katie Trumpener, wife of Richard Maxwell (1948-2010), who was also past editor of the Powys Journal. Please see Richard’s obituary by Charles Lock in PS NL No.71, November 2010.
For a list of contents of available issues, please click here.

powys notes spring  1999, john cowper powys, the popwys society



A debate between John Cowper Powys and Bertrand Russell

Outtakes of JCP filmed on December 6, 1929
To view the footage please click on the following external link here

john cowper powys on film

Events for 2015

London Meeting
Saturday, 5 December 2015


john cowper powys, the pleasures of literatur, the powys society
Our past Chairman, John Hodgson, will lead a discussion of The Pleasures of Literature, by John Cowper Powys, published in the UK by Cassell & Co., in November 1938. The American edition was published in October 1938 under the title The Enjoyment of Literature, by Simon & Schuster.
Derek Langridge in (1966) noted variations between the two editions. The American edition for instance lacks the long essay on St. Paul, which JCP's American editor, Quincey Howe, disliked. Our discussion will focus on JCP's attitude to world literature and his favourite authors, expresed especially in the Introduction and the Conclusion, comparing his choice of writers with the authors he discusses in John Cowper Powys, A Record of AchievementVisions and Revisions (1915), 100 Best Books (1916), and Suspended Judgements (1916).

Bunhill Fields Friends Meeting House   JCP's response to literature, which determined his choice of writers, can be found in summary at the end of the Introduction to The Pleasures of Literature: "Books...are man's word against the cosmic dumbness, man's life against the planetary death, man's revelation of the God within him, man's repartee to the God without him." JCP wrote most of the essays in The Pleasures of Literature in 1937 following a commission from Simon and Schuster in 1936, between the publication of Maiden Castle (1936), Morwyn (1937) and finishing Owen Glendower (first published 1940 in USA).

The venue of the meeting, Bunhill Meeting House, is located through a rectangular archway off Banner Street, a short walk from Old Street Underground station. It is set on the edge of the recently replanted and refurbished Quaker Gardens. For more information about the venue including a local map please visit the Bunhill House website

All are welcome. The event is free, although a contribution would be welcome, with refreshments provided after the discussion.

Venue: the Bunhill Meeting House, Quaker Court, Banner Street, London EC1Y 8QQ
at 2pm for 2.30pm start on Saturday 5 December.

llangollen railway station
The Powys Society

Friday 21st to
Sunday 23rd August 2015

Signs and Wonders

charles beauclerk


An illustrated talk by Charles Beauclerk

7.00 pm Monday 20 April 2015
Digby Memorial Church Hall
Sherborne, Dorset

JCP - THE ART OF HAPPINESS (ff) Charles Beauclerk, the celebrated author of Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom, Nell Gwyn, The Piano Man etc., will be giving an illustrated talk about John Cowper Powys entitled The Art of Happiness. (The lecturer, incidentally, is also the Earl of Burford and heir to the Duke of St. Albans, but much prefers to be known simply as Charles Beauclerk.) He will be concentrating on Powys as philosopher, with particular reference to The Art of Happiness, a work rich in wisdom and humour.

Charles Beauclerk's website.

This event is arranged by the Friends of St Basil’s, Toller Fratrum, Dorset.
Tickets cost £5 and are available from:
The Parish Office, Sherborne Abbey, 3 Abbey Close, Sherborne, DT9 3LQ
Tel: 01935 812452
(Office hours: Monday—Friday 9.00am—12.30pm and 2.00pm—4.30pm)

Two Powys Days for 2015

MONTACUTE, Saturday 25th April 2015

the kings arms montacuteThis year marks the centenary of Wood and Stone which was first published in America by G. Arnold Shaw in November 1915 and in the UK by Heinemann in February 1917. Wood and Stone was reprinted by the Village Press in 1974 and by Faber in 2008. Wood and Stone can also be found on-line at the Internet Archive. Chris Thomas will lead a discussion of Wood and Stone in its original location and setting. The venue for the meeting is The Kings Arms located opposite St Catherine’s church. The village of Nevilton, in Wood and Stone, with its twin hills, is of course recognisably Montacute. The invented names of local places in the novel such as Leo’s Hill, Badger’s Bottom, Root Thatch Lane and Dead Man’s Lane, are clearly based on the real places JCP knew so well. JCP evokes with intense memory recall the place of his childhood and youth, its fields, lanes and orchards: “What enchantments were all around him”, says the author, “What memories! What dumb voices.” But he also knew its suffocating claustrophobia: “English vicarages are dreadful places”, he says. Wood and Stone was written during the summer of 1915 in Burpham. Apparently, according to JCP, it was his wife, Margaret, who suggested the title. She must have read the novel in manuscript and perhaps she was inspired by the passage about wood against stone, tears weeping into stone and men transformed into the elements. The book was very popular with its first readers although the reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic were divided about its qualities. Arnold Shaw, cranking up his publicity machine, ranked it alongside Dostovesky. One of the first detractors of the novel was Louis Wilkinson who lambasted it in Blasphemy and Religion (1916), and compared it unfavourably to TFP’s Soliloquy of a Hermit which he considered a work of art. JCP himself seems to have been dissatisfied with the book, and looking back called it “a silly novel”. A useful place to start a discussion of Wood and Stone is JCP’s lofty Preface, which introduces the grandiose theme of the struggle between power and love and tyranny and freedom, and includes references to Nietzsche, cosmic chaos, the “imaginative mirror of art”, the secret of the universe, a critique of the modern novel and a tribute to Thomas Hardy and his adherence to “the old ample ironic way” which JCP clearly also wants to adopt. There is hardly any plot in Wood and Stone. JCP’s intention seems to be to try and capture a sense of the panorama of life and the effect of the spirit of a particular place on the lives of his characters. Wood and Stone prefigures the great novels of his maturity, he demonstrates psychological insight into the inner world of his people, the characters have distinctive Powysian names such as Mr Wone, Mr Quincunx, Witch-Bessie, and Mrs Wotnot, the language and imagery have what we now recognise to be characteristic Powysian features, there is a powerful sense of umbrageous plenitude, of the “indolent luxuriousness” and “leafy exuberance” of nature. The novel is notable for its wealth of classical allusions (sometimes he hardly seem to advanced beyond the poem To Montacute in Odes and Other Poems, 1896), as well as for JCP’s ability to evoke effects of light and colour, the changing seasons, and his ability to recreate the minute particulars of things such as “oozy stalks”, and “moist adhesive tendrils”. We are made to experience the breathing of the earth itself as if everything is alive. Yet there is also a sense of the dark downward pull of the earth suggesting a sinister and unpleasant atmosphere. This kind of writing reaches its apogee in chapters IX, X, and XII. Because Wood and Stone stands at the beginning of JCP’s career as a published novelist this makes it very well worth our study and attention. Our discussion will also consider Wood and Stone in the context of other contemporary novels.
For helpful background reading to Wood and Stone see articles by W J Keith in Powys Notes, Winter 1998, Paul Roberts in the Powys Journal, vol. IX, 1999, Arjen Mulder, in the Powys Journal, vol. XIX, 2009, Penny Smith in the Powys Review, No.11,1982/1983 and by Margaret Moran in the Powys Review, No.17, 1985.
In the afternoon members may wish to explore Montacute and visit places mentioned in the novel such as St Catherine’s church and churchyard, the Priory Farm, take a tour of Montacute House, gardens and the parklands or walk to Montacute Hill and the “thyrsus” shaped tower or walk to Ham Hill Country Park (Leo’s Hill) from where there are fine views of the surrounding countryside.

Welcome and coffee is at 10.30. Discussion starts at 11.00. Lunch can be taken at the venue at 13.00.
If you are travelling to the venue by public transport there is a limited bus service from Yeovil bus station (take route No.81 towards South Petherton which stops in The Borough. The journey time is approximately 15 minutes).

, Saturday 20th June 2015

dorset county museum

At the Dorset County Museum Dorchester, Paul Cheshire will present a talk entitled “John Cowper Powys and Wordsworth’s ‘cerebral mystical passion for young women’” taking as his theme the passage in Autobiography about JCP’s perception of Wordsworth’s “abnormally sensual sensitiveness to the elements”. In his talk Paul Cheshire will explore the relationship between JCP and Wordsworth. Paul says that “to call Wordsworth ‘my great master’ is a sure sign of JCP’s feeling of indebtedness to him. However, the ‘cerebral mystical passion’ he attributes to Wordsworth is a prominent feature in his own fiction and in his self-styling as a nympholept. This is not simply a projection on JCP’s part: if one re-reads Wordsworth’s Lucy poems while under the influence of JCP’s sensibility, those poems resonate as if he has provided a key to their secret life. Wordsworth ‘Imagining himself a girl’ may push beyond the demonstrable, but this provocative Powysian reading also beckons to be explored. The other ‘mystical passion’ these two writers share is their sense of a near-erotic pagan numinosity of the dead who lie beneath the earth. Wordsworth’s Lucy would have particular interest to JCP, who held so many dialogues with inhabitants of graves real and imaginary in his novels and in his life. Thomas Hardy’s Egdon Heath – where King Lear was stripped of all his vanities - is a fit Dorchester setting for these meditations, as Hardy too has much to say about death and sacrifice on the heath”. Until recently Paul Cheshire served as a Trustee of the Friends of Coleridge. He has written a number of articles on Coleridge and his contemporaries, including a chapter on Coleridge’s notebooks for the Oxford Handbook of S T Coleridge. He has also written on the influence of seventeenth century hermetic philosophy on Milton. He is currently researching the life and thought of Coleridge’s little-known friend, William Gilbert, astrologer and author of an eccentric theosophical poem, The Hurricane, which shows the hermetic tradition surviving into the romantic era. He has created a website dedicated to William Gilbert:

The meeting will commence at 10.30 for 11.00 start. Coffee and refreshments will be available. The talk will be followed by Q&A and discussion. Lunch will be from 13.00 to 14.00 at a local restaurant. In the afternoon we plan to visit a local place with Powysian connections.

Both events are free although a charge will be made for lunch which is optional.
We welcome contributions towards the costs of coffee and refreshments.

Everyone is welcome to attend including non members. If you wish to attend either of these meetings please notify Hon. Secretary Chris Thomas
Either by e-mail:
by telephone on 020 7243 0168 or by post:  Flat D, 87 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AG


bunhill fields friends meeting house, john cowper powys, the powys society

London Meeting

Saturday 6 December 2014

PAIR DADENI by John Cowper Powys

The Society's past Chairman John Hodgson will lead a discussion of John Cowper Powys's essay, Pair Dadeni or The Cauldron of Rebirth (included in JCP's book Obstinate Cymric, published by the Druid Press in 1947).

bunhill fields friends meeting house, john cowper powys, the powys society

The venue is the Bunhill Meeting House, Quaker Court, Banner Street, London EC1Y 8QQ, at 2pm on Saturday 6 December.

Bunhill Meeting House is located through a rectangular archway off Banner Street, a short walk from Old Street Underground station. It is set on the edge of the recently replanted and refurbished Quaker Gardens. For more information about the venue please click here.

All are welcome. The event is free with refreshments provided after the discussion.

Two Powys Days for 2014
Brandon, Norfolk, Saturday 26 April 2014

Sonia Lewis will lead a discussion of the Norfolk chapters of A Glastonbury Romance: The Will and The River. The meeting will be held in the function room of the Brandon House Hotel, which has pleasant views on to the garden, and is conveniently located just around the corner from Brandon railway station. Brandon is an old market town on the edge of Thetford Forest and Brandon Heath. Discussion will be followed by lunch and a visit to the village of Northwold situated a few miles to the north of Brandon. Northwold has strong Powys family associations - JCP’s maternal grandfather, William Cowper Johnson (1813-1893), the model for Canon Crow in A Glastonbury Romance, was Rector of Northwold from 1880 to 1892, and JCP, Littleton and Theodore often spent their summer holidays at the rectory. There are very evocative descriptions of Northwold in Littleton’s The Joy of It and in JCP’s Autobiography. In his diary, for 3 to 9 August 1929, JCP also recorded a visit to his old childhood haunts in Northwold (helping to provide material for A Glastonbury Romance). Littleton called Northwold “my boyhood’s Earthly Paradise”. JCP recalled summer holidays in Northwold and said: “...what a life that was & how beautiful that house was.” Our visit to Northwold will provide an opportunity to rediscover the places described by Littleton and JCP including the rectory, the round pond in the rose garden, the Wissey, Foulden Bridge, Harrod’s Mill pond, Dye’s Hole and Oxborough Ferry as well as other places of local interest such as the church of St. Andrew’s (which has a memorial to William Cowper Johnson) and the old Manor House. If time permits some members may wish to visit nearby Methwold or Yaxham (where William Cowper Johnson is buried). Welcome and coffee is at 10.30am. Discussion commences at 11.00am. Lunch will be served in the restaurant from 13.00 to 14.00.If you wish to stay overnight you may reserve B&B accommodation direct with the hotel.

Dorchester, Saturday 19 July 2014

At the Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, a talk on the life, career and writings of John Meade Falkner (1858-1932) presented by Kenneth Hillier, the founder and Secretary of the John Meade Falkner Society. The meeting commences at 10.30am for 11.00am start. Coffee and refreshments will be available. Lunch will be from 13.00 to 14.00 at a local restaurant. The author, poet, businessman and teacher, John Meade Falkner, spent his childhood in Dorchester and Weymouth and was closely acquainted with many of the locations associated with the Powys family, such as the South and West Walks in Dorchester, and Chesil beach, Portland, and the village of Fleet near Weymouth. Falkner’s most famous novel, Moonfleet (1898), is set around Chesil and Fleet. Falkner was a friend of Hardy and a keen collector of medieval books and manuscripts. After a long business career in the armaments industry he was appointed senior reader in palaeography at Durham University. John Meade Falkner was also a poet and author of topographical guides to Oxford, Berkshire and Bath. Falkner’s first novel, The Lost Stradivarius (1895) reveals an interest in the supernatural, the occult and psychological themes that mirror many of JCP’s own interests as well as popular literary tastes of the 1890s.

For more information about John Meade Falkner please visit:

The talk will be followed by discussion, lunch and a visit to places associated with Falkner and the Powys family in Weymouth, Chesil and Abbotsbury. 

John Cowper Powys is a writer who changes how you see the world

"A Glastonbury Romance is deeply flawed, yet utterly remarkable"
by Michael Henderson in The Telegraph.
Read full article here


PROTEUS AND THE MAGICIAN The Letters of Henry Miller and John Cowper Powys

was launched at the famous Shakespeare & Co bookshop, 37 rue de la Būcherie, Paris

on Sunday 11 May at 5pm.

john cowper powys, proteus and the magician

Outside Shakespeare & Co bookshop

Front row: Chris Thomas, Fawzia Assaad, Liliane Ruf, Dana Wentworth, Jacqueline Peltier and Goulven Le Brech
Second row: Marcella Henderson-Peal and Charles Lock

[Price: £10.00 in UK (post free); overseas, please add 40% to cover postage.
Full details can be found on the Publishing News webpage.]

The Madness of John Cowper Powys or Strange Doings at ...

In his late fifties the great novelist and lecturer John Cowper Powys moved with his companion to a rural cottage in New England. As Jonathan Law reveals in this remarkable essay, the remote setting enabled Powys to give full vent to his bewildering range of manias and eccentricities . . . Read the full article here

A review of MR TASKER’S GOD’S by Dr Kate Macdonald, Ghent University, on the Vulpes Libris website here


From CRESCENT MOON PUBLISHING ( several books about JCP now available as e-books at Amazon and other online sellers.  

by Jeremy Mark Robinson
Thomas Hardy Studies Series    Bibliography, notes, index and illustrations. 
ISBN-13 9781861714718     £14.99 / $22.99
R E T H I N K I N G  P O W Y S
edited and introduced by Jeremy Mark Robinson
John Cowper Powys Studies Series    Bibliography and notes.  2nd ed.
ISBN-13 9781861714541    £4.99 / $7.99
A M O R O U S  L I F E
by H.W. Fawkner
John Cowper Powys Studies Series    Bibliography and notes. 2nd ed.
ISBN-13 9781861714657   £4.99 / $7.99
P O S T M O D E R N  P O W Y S
by Joe Boulter
John Cowper Powys Studies Series   Bibliography and notes. 2nd ed.   
ISBN-13 9781861714626    £4.99 / $7.99


15 paintings by Gertrude Mary Powys (1877–1952) now available to view on BBC website

15 paintings by gertrude mary powys

15 paintings by Gertrude Mary Powys (1877–1952)
are now posted on the BBC "Your Paintings" website.

You can view them here (browser will open in new window).

“There is my sister Gertrude, round whom like the sun we different members of the family like the planets revolve; of her no word of praise is too high; and I rejoice that now at last she has more time to devote to the art which for so many years has kept on calling to her.”

From The Joy of It (1937) by Littleton Powys

powys society book banner

"FROM WATERLOO STATION TO THE SMALL COUNTRY TOWN of Ramsguard in Dorset is a journey of not more than three or four hours, but having by good luck found a compartment to himself, Wolf Solent was able to indulge in such an orgy of concentrated thought, that these three or four hours lengthened themselves out into something beyond all human measurement."  — John Cowper Powys

“The power of art is magnificent. It can change the dullest sense into the most glorious; it can people a new world in a moment of time; it can cause a sparkling fountain to flow in the driest desert to solace a thirsty traveller.” — T.F. Powys

 "No sight that the human eyes can look upon is more provocative of awe than is the night sky scattered thick with stars.” — Llewelyn Powys

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