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The Powys Society Conference 2014

 the sherborne hotel, Horsecastles Lane, Sherborne, Dorset, the powys society

The Sherborne Hotel, Horsecastles Lane, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 6BB

 

Friday 15th to Sunday 17th August

 

To Chart the Powys World’

 

It is exciting to look forward again to a Dorset conference in the Powys Heartland. Our amazing organisers, Louise and Anna, have set us up in a Sherborne hotel, and some of us are hoping to visit Weymouth too. A sense of place was crucial to all three Powys brothers, even – perhaps especially - when they were away from their Dorset roots. It was Wilson Knight who observed, “there is a tremendous amount of Ordnance Survey in John Cowper Powys”.

  This said, the talks this year reach far afield.  Peter Foss, who has worked for decades on Llewelyn Powys, will be introducing us to the newly published Diary of 1910, the year when the young tubercular romantic is holed up in a Davos sanatorium. Jonathan Goodwin (who has written in the Journal on A Glastonbury Romance and more recently on The Brazen Head) is coming over from America for his first Powys conference; he will be exploring JCP’s later far-flung yarns such as Atlantis. Marcella Henderson-Peal will be giving us a preliminary account of her revealing discoveries in Paris of JCP’s contacts with Jean Wahl and other French intellectuals of the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. David Gervais who has so often presented us with new insights into T.F. Powys, has promised an evening talk. And on the Friday evening I will be recollecting one of the crucial founders of the Powys Society and an early mentor to me, the Shakespearian ‘interpreter’ Wilson Knight whose pioneering study of JCP, The Saturnian Quest, was originally entitled ‘A Chart of the prose works of John Cowper Powys’.

  I think our own quest, in each of these meetings, is to fill in some of the gaps in our own Powys Charts – and also, collectively, to continue to map out more fully this complex, ever fascinating terrain.  

Timothy Hyman


PROGRAMME

 

Friday 15th August

16.00  Arrival

17.30  Reception

18.30  Dinner

20.00  Timothy Hyman: ‘Remembering Wilson Knight’

 

Saturday 16th August

08.00  Breakfast

09.30  Peter Foss: ‘The Conqueror Worm’: Llewelyn Powys’s diary for 1910

Coffee

11.15  Marcella Henderson-Peale: ‘JCP and France: his reception and reputation in the 1930s and later decades’

13.00  Lunch

 

Free Afternoon: A visit to Weymouth or a guided walk to local places associated with JCP’s novel Wolf Solent

 

19.00  Dinner

20.30  David Gervais: ‘Novellas of Theodore Francis Powys’ followed by discussion with members

 

Sunday 17th August

08.00  Breakfast

09.30  Jonathan Goodwin: ‘Style and character in JCP’s late romances’

11.00  AGM followed by discussion

12.00  Professor J. Lawrence Mitchell (Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M University). 'John Cowper Powys and Walt Whitman, the poet of passionate friendship': a talk on a portrait of Whitman once owned by JCP and later owned by Katie Powys.  

13.00  Lunch

 

15.00  Departure

 

 

Conference Speakers

 

Peter Foss is a writer and artist and well known as an authority on Llewelyn Powys: his A Bibliography of Llewelyn Powys was published by the British Library and Oak Knoll Press in 2007. He has contributed many articles on Llewelyn Powys to the Society’s publications and was the first editor of The Powys Journal in 1991. His indispensible book on Llewelyn Powys, A Study of Llewelyn Powys: His Literary Criticism and Personal Philosophy, was published by the Edwin Mellen Press in1991.He has since edited Llewelyn’s diaries for 1903, 1908 and 1909, published by Cecil Woolf 2005-2007; his edition of Llewelyn’s diary for 1910, is to be published by Cecil Woolf in August and will be launched at the Conference. Copies will be available for sale at a special introductory price.

For many years Peter has been investigating the history of Market Bosworth, its topography and links with the Battle of Bosworth. He published a history of Market Bosworth in 1983 and a book about the Battle of Bosworth, The Field of Redemore, in 1990. Recently Peter has been involved with the archaeological survey of the real Bosworth battlefield (see Newsletter No.78, March 2012).

In ‘The Conqueror Worm’, Peter’s talk will focus on the context of Llewelyn’s stay at Clavadel Sanatorium in 1910 and include information about contemporary cures and treatment for tuberculosis which Llewelyn encountered, as well as a description of his fellow patients and many of the people he met in the local area.

 

David Gervais is Honorary Fellow of English at Reading University. He was editor, for a long time, of the Cambridge Quarterly and is an authority on French literature. He has contributed many articles on French and English literature to PN Review as well as articles on art on the work of Bonnard and Stanley Spencer. He is the author of Flaubert and Henry James, A Study of Contrasts (1979) and Literary Englands: Versions of Englishness in Modern Writing (1993) which includes sections on the Powyses. He has articles in The Powys Review and his John Cowper Powys, T.S. Eliot and French Literature is in the Cecil Woolf ‘Powys Heritage Series’.David has a special interest in the work of T.F. Powys.

 

Jonathan Goodwin is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has specialist teaching interests in modernism, twentieth century and contemporary British literature, cognitive science, computational approaches to literary analysis, narrative theory, film and new media. Jonathan is co-editor of Reading Graphs, Maps, Trees: Critical responses to Franco Moretti (2011) and has published articles on Joyce, Olaf Stapledon and Wyndham Lewis. He is a member of the editorial board of the Powys Journal and has contributed articles on JCP:’Nationalism and Re-enchantment in John Cowper Powys’s A Glastonbury Romance’, (PJ, vol. XVII, 2007), and ‘Animated Fictions: Characters in The Brazen Head”, (PJ, vol. XXIII, 2013). Jonathan is currently working on three linked projects associated with temporal imagination, cognitive science, and narrative theory, and social discourse and intelligence. In his talk on JCP’s Late Romances, Jonathan will extend some of the observations he has made about The Brazen Head, Atlantis and other works.

 

Marcella Henderson-Peale is an ESP (English for Special Purposes) lecturer at UPEC/Paris XII University. She is currently completing a doctoral dissertation on John Cowper Powys's literary and philosophical reception in France. Marcella has been researching exchanges of correspondence and conducting interviews with French philosophers who have been influenced by JCP’s books and ideas. She has also carried out interviews with French translators of JCP’s books such as Diane de Margarie (Weymouth Sand/Les Sables de la Mer). Marcella’s researches and investigations have revealed an extensive range of unpublished material about JCP in France showing how seriously he was received by French intellectuals as early as the 1930s; she aims to collect all this material and preserve the documents and recorded memories in a special archive.

In ‘JCP and France’, Marcella will examine the relationship between JCP and French existentialist philosophy between 1937 and today, illustrated with quotations from the important exchange of correspondence between JCP and Jean Wahl and other French philosophers such as Gabriel Marcel. It may be possible to show a recently made film in which the philosopher Robert Misrahi talks about JCP and his influence.

 

Timothy Hyman is Chairman of the Powys Society and has contributed articles on JCP to the Powys Journal and Powys Review as well as a ground breaking essay on JCP’s philosophy of life in Essays on John Cowper Powys, edited by Belinda Humfrey (1972). He studied as a painter at the Slade and was elected Royal Academician (RA) in 2011. As well as nine London solo exhibitions (most recently ‘The Man Inscribed with London’ at Austin/Desmond Fine Art in 2009) he has shown widely and his work is in many public collections. He was artist in residence at Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres in 2011-2012. Thames & Hudson have published his monographs on Bonnard (1998) and Sienese Painting (2003). He was lead curator of the Tate’s Stanley Spencer retrospective in 2001. The influence of JCP can be seen in his multi character narratives and panoramas.

Timothy has been associated with the Powys Society since its beginning and was a contributor to the centenary conference in 1972. His review of Visions and Vices, a collection of Wilson Knight’s essays on JCP was published in the Powys Journal, II, (1992) and his portrait of Wilson Knight called, “The House of the Interpreter”, was reproduced in PJ, VIII, (1998) Among his contributions to conferences was his illustrated talk on JCP the ‘Quest for the Pictorial Equivalent’ (See PJ, II).

In ‘Remembering Wilson Knight’, a personal reminiscence, Timothy will explore Wilson Knight’s ’interpretation’ of JCP.


Our conference organisers on the day will be Anna Pawelko and Louise de Bruin.

Any queries should be addressed to them.

 

Louise de Bruin ( Tel: 01258-817825 Email: lsedebruin@gmail.com )

600, Mappowder, Sturminster Newton, Dorset DT10 2EH

 

Anna Pawelko ( Tel: 07887 668587 Email: helenapawelko@hotmail.uk )

 

anna pawelko & louise de bruin (powys conference organisers)

Above: Conference organisers Anna Pawelko and Louise de Bruin

will be happy to answer members' questions.

[Anna is an accomplished artist. Some of her arresting and dazzling work can be viewed here]

Further details about the venue can be found here: http://www.sherbornehotel.co.uk

If you are not yet a member you may like to consider joining us.

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louise de bruin, john cowper powys, sherborne prep scholl

Conference co-organiser Louise de Bruin and a bust of John Cowper Powys

in THE POWYS LIBRARY at Sherborne Prep School

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powys society books banner

To philosophize is not to read philosophy; it is to feel philosophy. The raw spikes and jagged edges, the sour-tasting dust and wind-blown debris of superficial real life have to be deliberately comprehended, or at least evaded, before the more secret rhythms, the more recondite patterns of Nature, her humours, her tragedies, her poetry take shape in the mind. — John Cowper Powys

“Even though we waves lie for centuries in the deeps of the waters, so deeply buried that no man could think that we should ever rise, yet as all life must come to the surface again and again, awakening each time from a deep sleep as long as eternity, so we are raised up out of the deeps high above our fellows, to obey the winds, to behold the sky, to fly onwards, moving swiftly, to complete our course, break and sink once more.

We, who are waves, know you, who are men, only as another sea, within which every living creature is a little wave that rises for a moment and then breaks and dies. Our great joy comes when we break, yours when you are born, for you have not yet reached that sublime relationship with God which gives the greatest happiness to destruction.” 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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Glastonbury Tor
Sherborne Abbey Durdle Door
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