the powys society
Glen Cavaliero

Welcome to the official website of


the powys society
Timothy Hyman

The Newsletter The Journal Society Publications
The Collection

John Cowper Powys
T. F. Powys
Llewelyn Powys The Powys Family
john cowper powys t f powys
llewelyn powys
the powys family


The eleven children born to Charles Francis Powys, an Anglican clergyman, were a uniquely precocious family, one of the most significant in the cultural history of Britain, of whom the writers John Cowper Powys, T. F. Powys and Llewelyn Powys are the most famous. But they also included the architect and conservationist A. R. Powys, the artist Gertrude Powys, the lacemaker Marian Powys, the notable headmaster Littleton Powys and the poet and novelist Philippa Powys. Primarily, though not exclusively, the focus of the Society is on the three writing brothers; distinctively unique as both individuals and authors.

The Society, a registered charity, was founded to promote and encourage the appreciation and enjoyment of the writings of John Cowper, Theodore and Llewelyn Powys and to establish their true literary status.

The aims of The Powys Society are:
- To promote a wider general readership and stimulate scholarly study and discussion of the works of the Powys brothers
- To actively promote an expanded universe around the Powyses
- To provide a comprehensive and accurate resource on the life and works of the Powyses

If you are an admirer, an enthusiast, a reader, a scholar, or a student of anything Powysian, then this international society would like to hear from you, and welcomes your participation in its activities.


Membership benefits include:

- A membership pack on joining.

- An annual Journal devoted to the study of the life and works of John Cowper, Theodore and Llewelyn Powys plus three 50 page newsletters (March, July and November).

- The Society is active in promoting the life and works of the Powys family. Speakers are arranged for special events.

- Opportunities to meet fellow Powysians and those who share your interest.

- An annual weekend conference and Powys Days.  JOIN US


Brief details of several Powys Society events for 2018 are listed below.

The next edition of the Society’s Newsletter will be published during March 2018.

Two Powys Days for 2018

Saturday 28 April

The Old Fire Engine House, restaurant and art gallery,
at 25 St Mary’s Street, Ely, Cambridgeshire

john cowper powys, a glastonbury Romance, the powys society
Aspects of A Glastonbury Romance
A Discussion led by Kevin Taylor
of A Glastonbury Romance, Chapter 15, Mark’s Court, as well as a discussion of
the character of Cordelia as she appears, in selected passages, throughout the novel.

Saturday 7 July
The Library, Dorset County Museum, Dorchester

(i) The Powyses and Patchin Place, New York
An illustrated talk by Ray Crozier
JCP’s relationships with Phyllis, Llewelyn,
Alyse Gregory, and Gamel Woolsey during his
five year residence at Patchin Place.

llewelyn powys & alyse gregory at patchin place


(ii) First Impressions A Parallel Reading of two short stories:
Nor Iron Bars
by T. F. Powys and A Friend in Need by W. Somerset Maugham.

A talk by John Williams
. . . in which “We may also discover that Powys and Maugham have more in common than we might first have thought.”

t f powys            somerset maugham
12 February
Full details will be posted shortly

, 2018
The Wessex Hotel, Street, Nr Glastonbury
Friday 10th to Sunday 12th August
‘a wild activity of thoughts’

Charles Lock will analyse some key passages in the chapter Maundy Thursday in A Glastonbury Romance and will discuss differing responses to JCP’s style of writing; Anthony O’Hear will examine questions of illusion and reality, including the relation of the subjective mind to objective reality in Wolf Solent; Nicholas Birns will delve deeply into selected passages in works by JCP, TFP and Llewelyn; and Taliesin Gore will present the findings of his undergraduate dissertation on ideas about  pan-psychism in Wolf Solent and A Glastonbury Romance.  

john cowper powys, wolf solent, the powys society

Full details will be posted shortly


We collect personal data which you submit to us when you join the Powys Society.
What kind of personal data do we hold?
We collect title, name, postal address, post code, telephone number, and e-mail address for each member of the Society. We also collect and retain records of any questions or enquiries you send to the Society by letter. We hold this data for the purpose of record keeping and to enable us to send you Newsletters and the Powys Journal which are sent as part of your annual membership subscription.
Data Storage
All personal data about our membership is stored on two data files: a simple list of names and addresses in a Word document file and an Excel spreadsheet detailing postal address, postcode, telephone number, e-mail address, information about when each member joined the Society, date when details may have been changed, confirmation of annual subscription payments and usual payment method. This file also indicates status of members – whether they are an Honorary member or whether they make annual subscription payments.
Membership data files are stored on a secure central database.  
How we manage personal data
We do not share, transfer, sell or exchange personal data we hold with a third party, other web sites or other external bodies for commercial, marketing or market research purposes. We may periodically share contact details between members and committee members but only for the purpose of internal official business. We occasionally publish a list of the names and addresses of members of the Society. This is sent on restricted circulation to paid-up members only. The list states that the contents may only be disclosed to members of the Society and may only be used in connection with the objectives of the Society as set out in the Constitution of the Powys Society. We also invite all new members to inform Hon. Secretary if they do not wish their personal data to appear in the published list of members.
How we use personal data
We use personal data to enable us to send members Newsletters, three times per year, and the annual Powys Journal. We use the Newsletter to invite members to comment on projects and initiatives of the Society and to get in touch with the Powys Society committee on any matters that are of concern to them. We do not separately use personal data to send unsolicited mail or appeal for contributions. We may occasionally use personal data to communicate direct with members, by post or e-mail, to provide information about our events and our activities.
Links to other websites
The Powys Society website includes links to other web sites of related interest. We are not responsible for information you may provide to other web sites.
Your rights
You may request details of personal information we hold about you.

Updating your information
If you consider any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible at the address below. We will immediately correct any information found to be in error.

Notifying the Powys Society you do not wish to be contacted or have your personal data published in the membership list circulated to other members
If you do not wish the Powys Society to communicate with you by post or e-mail or have your contact details published in the membership list sent to members please inform Hon. Secretary at the address below.
Chris Thomas
Hon. Secretary
The Powys Society
Mailing address:
87 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AG

2017 Events


Saturday 2 December 2017


the religion of a sceptic     john cowper powys, gertrude mary powys. powys society
                                        [First edition front Cover, 1925]

A London Meeting
Saturday, 2 December 2017
at The Friends Meeting House, 120 Heath Street, Hampstead
at 2pm for 2.30 start

The Society's Chairman

will give a talk on John Cowper Powys'

Followed by open discussion

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

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

"Here we are — confronted by this sublime and horrible universe —  with only one brief life at our disposal, and what must our bemused, bewildered minds do but rush blindfold over the crude surface of experience, taking everything for granted and finding nothing extraordinary in what we see. Extraordinary? We are surrounded by things that are staggering; by things that are so miraculously lovely that you feel they might dissolve at a touch; and by things so unbearably atrocious that you feel you would go mad if you thought of them for more than a flicker of a second." — John Cowper Powys

The realm of John Cowper Powys is dangerous. The reader may wander for years in this parallel universe, entrapped and bewitched, and never reach its end. There is always another book to discover, another work to reread. Like Tolkien, Powys has invented another country, densely peopled, thickly forested, mountainous, erudite, strangely self-sufficient. This country is less visited than Tolkien's, but it is as compelling, and it has more air.” Margaret Drabble

From AUTOBIOGRAPHY by John Cowper Powys:

“I have tried to write my life as if I were confessing to a priest, a philosopher, and a wise old woman. I have tried to write it as if I were going to be executed when it was finished. I have tried to write it as if I were both God and Devil.”


One is tempted to say only John Cowper Powys could have written that, and, beyond doubt, only John Cowper Powys could have written the idiosyncratic and spellbinding work we have here. Yes, he was influenced by Yeats and Rousseau, especially the latter’s Confessions, but there is no other work quite like this. It seems almost too pedestrian to say it covers the first sixty years of his life (he lived for another thirty years) and to say anything about them, as J. B. Priestley memorably put it, “would be like turning on a tap before introducing people to Niagara Falls.” J. B. Priestley also said “It is a book which can be read, with pleasure and profit, over and over again. It is in fact one of the greatest autobiographies in the English language. Even if Powys had never written any novels, this one book alone would have proved him to be a writer of genius.”

The Powys Society Conference, 2017
The Hand Hotel, Bridge Street, Llangollen
Friday 18th to Sunday 20th August

the hand hotel, llangollen, powys society conference

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.

Speakers: David Goodway, David Stimpson, Patrick Quigley and Grevel Lindop.
  Full details, including the Conference Booking Form, can be viewed on the Conference 2017 webpage

Visit The Powys Society Facebook page:


The Discovery of John Cowper Powys
by Tim Blanchard
Few writers have tickets for the express train. Those that do ride smoothly on the rails of great literatureever after, sitting back in the carriages of the canon club: Hardy, Joyce, Lawrence, Woolf, Tolkien - the names which a hundred years on have the redolence of luxury brands and some of the same hard coating of gloss. One of their contemporaries, John Cowper Powys, is an example of what can go wrong, what happens when a potential giant ends up trundling into the backwoods on a branch line.
There's standing room only on Powys's train, carriage after carriage of ...

powysland the discovery of john cowper powys, tim blanchard, the sundial press


john cowper powys, porius

Saturday 29 April

Old Fire Engine House (restaurant and art gallery), 25 St. Mary’s Street, Ely
A report in Newsletter No 91

Thursday 15 June

Exeter University, Old Library, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, Devon

A report in Newsletter No 91

Further information of both the above events on the News and Events webpage

The Powys Society Newsletter

powys society newsletter 91, the powys society (2017)

July 2017: The Powys Society Newsletter No. 91
is now available to all Society members.

From THE TWELVE MONTHS by Llewelyn Powys

THE TWELVE MONTHS by Llewelyn Powys


The full contents of the inventory of the Powys Society Collection, now located at Exeter University, are available to view below.
All files (which open in a new tab or window) are available to read in PDF format. 


Articles and Books About

Books by

Contributions to
Periodicals & Books

Ex Libris

to other books







Articles and Books About

Books by

Contributions to
other books

Ex Libris


Manuscripts (Bissell Gift)
Manuscripts (Feather Gift)


Periodical Publications



Articles and Books About

Book Reviews

Books by

Contributions to
Periodicals & Books

Ex Libris






Books by

Elizabeth MYERS


A.R. (Bertie) POWYS


Francis POWYS

Books, Articles, etc
Ex Libris


The Powys Circle

From The Powys Press (2016)
  Llewelyn Powys: A Consumptive’s Diary, 1911
   Edited by Peter Foss
   The Powys Press

llewelyn powys recalled to life, the powys society By the spring of 1911, the writer Llewelyn Powys (1884-1939) – then only 26 – had spent eighteen months at a Swiss sanatorium, being treated for the tuberculosis which the previous year had nearly killed him. Still frail, he returned to England, and to Montacute, the Somerset home of his family, where his father had been vicar for 26 years. This homecoming, which Powys first described in his remarkable book Skin for Skin (1925), was fraught with ambiguities, partly occasioned by his confirmed espousal of a neo-pagan philosophy which turned him against the religion of his forebears. Here, in Somerset, he ‘came into his own’, regaining his strength and rediscovering anew the beautiful landscape of his boyhood. This was characterised by a determination to extract joy from every passing moment. He cultivated a visionary response to Nature, relished erotic sensations, and enthusiastically indulged his friendships – especially with his brother John Cowper Powys. This ‘eternal flow of life’, as he called it, was a panacea and, through the writing of this diary, provided ‘food for future years’. Continuing and expanding the narrative account, Powys’s 1911 diary charts in candid detail his longings, his friendships, his reading, the poetry he loved and the letters he received. He writes of his walks in the countryside of south Somerset, imbibing at inns, encountering wayfarers, luxuriating in the natural world – and all this in one of the glorious summers of the twentieth century, when temperatures famously reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In the words of Siegfried Sassoon, it seemed to all ‘a summer of commingled happiness’. But 1911 was also a year of dramatic social and political upheavals that were changing the age-old ways of life, rendering the experience of this year a kind of ‘timeless moment’ – and that is how Powys later re-imagined it in writings such as Love and Death (1939). With the insidious disease always in the background, the 1911 diary conveys vividly what it was like still to live life to the full in the last throes of Edwardian England before The Great War swept so much away.

RECALLED TO LIFE was launched at the 2016 conference
Within the UK: 10.00
Outside UK price: 15.00
Please send your cheque, made payable to the Powys Society, to:
Hon Secretary, Chris Thomas, at 87 Ledbury Road, London, W11 2AG

llewelyn powys, sherborne School
Llewelyn Powys at Sherborne School

Selected articles

Digital editions of THE POWYS JOURNAL
A Visit to The National Library of Wales
Reminiscences  of John Cowper Powys in the late 1920s by Albert S. Krick (PDF file)
A minor, difficult masterpiece by T. F. Powys

john cowper powys, henry miller, proteus and the magician
The Letters of Henry Miller and John Cowper Powys
(click on image above)

the powys journal volume xx, the powys society
Digital version available to read online
(click on image above)

john cowper powys, dorchester wall plaque
john cowper powys, the dorset year

the life of john cowper powys

John Cowper Powys
wall plaque in High West Street,
Dorchester, Dorset
The Diary of John Cowper Powys
(June 1934 to June 1935)

the powys brothers books, the powys society

"A genius - a fearless writer, who writes with reckless passion." - Margaret Drabble on John Cowper Powys

The one author I could not live without is John Cowper Powys.” – Bernard Cornwell

"Llewelyn Powys is one of those rare writers who teach endurance of life as well as its enjoyment." - Philip Larkin

"Theodore Powys wrote extraordinary fables of English country life. Bloomsbury admirers hailed them as the singular works of a dark and brooding genius." - P. Wright

"Theodore Powys, the brother of Llewelyn, is a rare person." - T. E. Lawrence

“I touch here upon what is to me one of the profoundest philosophical mysteries: I mean the power of the individual mind to create its own world, not in complete independence of what is called "the objective world," but in a steadily growing independence of the attitudes of the minds toward this world. For what people call the objective world is really a most fluid, flexible, malleable thing. It is like the wine of the Priestess Bacbuc in Rabelais. It tastes differently; it is a different cosmos, to every man, woman, and child. To analyse this "objective world is all very well, as long as you don't forget that the power to rebuild it by emphasis and rejection is synonymous with your being alive.” — 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

glastonbury tor

Montacute Vicarage

durdle door
Glastonbury Tor
Montacute Vicarage Durdle Door

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