Upcoming Society Events

Tuesday 6 December 2022 — Zoom Discussion of JCP’s All or Nothing by the Reading Powyses Facebook Group

At 19:00 GMT
All those wishing to participate in the ZOOM discussion please e-mail Dawn Collins at thepowyssocietyfb@btinternet.com.
ZOOM connection details will be emailed to individuals well before the meeting

As previously, all are welcome either as contributors or as spectators.

All or Nothing

“Both the Nu twins when they first went to School were teased because of their name; but now that they were older this sort of teasing ceased altogether.

John o’Dreams Nu and Jilly Tewky Nu were now seventeen. Their mother Maria Tid, Before she married Mr Nezzar Nu, had been so much on love with him that she made up her mind that if she bore him any more children she would give them names as romantic and exciting as she regarded his to be”.

Thus begins All or Nothing, which Glen Cavaliero described as “the longest and most important of the final fantasies ... In it Powys gathers up the essence of his attitude to life as evolved through the major novels, and plays football with it in a wildly phantasmogorical mixture of space-fiction, domesit comedy, metaphysics, fairy-tale, and farce. The book is both preposterous and profound”.

Saturday 22 April 2023 — A meeting to discuss Chapter 4, Hell’s Museum, from JCP’s novel Weymouth Sands led by Sonia Lewis.

Weymouth Sands
Venue: The Old Fire Engine House,25 St. Mary’s Street, Ely, Cambridgeshire.
11:00 am to 4:00 pm (with lunch break)

All are welcome. The event is free with the exception of lunch which is optional and may be taken in the restaurant at the venue. A contribution towards the cost of refreshments is voluntary. If you wish to participate please e-mail Hon. Secretary.

At the beginning of Chapter 4 of Weymouth Sands we meet Richard Gaul, one of JCP’s philosophical characters: Mr Gaul was a dodging and debouching youth dedicated to remain poor. Gaul’s ‘philosophy of representation’ may perhaps have been inspired by Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation. Like Schopenhauer Gaul studies world religions and the psychology of human instincts. He also provides the ending for the novel:… she handed him the stone which had been in the Jobber’s pocket so long… “It’s for my old friend, Mr Gaul. It will keep the Philosophy of Representation from blowing away!”  JCP makes good use of locations in Weymouth, evoking the places he had known in his childhood, such as the bow windowed houses of Brunswick Terrace. Richard Gaul lives on the top story of one of these houses. This chapter provides opportunities for JCP to explore his observation of the details of everyday things such as his description of the grey level of the sea’s horizon. We also meet Daniel Brush and his pathological institution, Hell’s Museum, a place for insane people and a symbol of JCP’s loathing for scientific materialism, his fear of vivisection and scientific experiments. JCP describes Magnus Muir’s approach to the sanitarium:  He could not resist his sick aversion and distaste. The chapter concludes with Magnus Muir and Curly Wix meeting amidst the ancient grassy ramparts of the prehistoric Camp of Maiden Castle whilst below them on the Dorchester Road can be heard the sound of a very modern car-horn:  Tirra-lirra! Tirra-lirra!

                                                                                               

Chris Thomas, Hon Secretary

Saturday 21 October 2023 - A meeting to discuss Chapters XXXI-XXXII from JCP’s novel Porius *; led by Chris Thomas

blodeuwedd
Etching: Blodeuwedd changed into an Owl, Patricia Dawson

* Chapter XXXI (The Little One) and Chapter XXXII (Blodeuwedd) from the complete, restored edition, edited by Morine Krissdóttir, Overlook Press, 2007.

Venue: Pushkin House, 5A Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2TA, The Drawing Room, ground floor.
Time: 14.00 to 17.00. The venue will also be available from 13.00 if participants wish to arrive early.
Refreshments, tea/coffee, will be available.
The event is free. All are welcome. A contribution towards the cost of refreshments is voluntary. If you wish to participate please e-mail Hon. Secretary.

Chapters XXXI and XXXII of Porius illustrate very well JCP’s attitude to Marvels and Wonders in Porius. JCP wrote to the publisher’s reader, Norman Denny to explain his approach: Nothing wd induce me, persuade me, or make me, leave out or turn into anybody's dream, the Miracle of the Owl-Girl Blodeuwedd worked by Myrddin Wyllt at the entombing in that great field of the Prince and the Owl's flapping over the violated grave of Teleri that scared them all so!...To leave out Marvels & Wonders wd. be to make the whole thing false, to make it ring untrue & unreal. Chapter XXXI in which Porius encounters a magical child, in the Druid’s cave was originally cut from the first edition of the novel. The editors of the Overlook edition of Porius have here restored one of the marvels and wonders of the book. Here we can appreciate JCP’s knowledge of esoteric mythology and hermetic symbolism as well as his dazzling display of language and imagery. Morine Krissdóttir believes that Chapter XXXI is one of the most marvellous chapters [JCP] ever wrote and refers to his writing at this point as breathtaking and awe inspiring. The theme of magical change, metamorphosis and transformation is played out in Chapter XXXII with the description of the owl which is recreated and reborn in the form of the girl Blodeuwedd who appears from under the cloak of Myrddin Wyllt: the creature was beyond all words beautiful. Her form hadn’t only taken into itself the spring time blossoming of its first engendering it had taken into itself all the moss deep unfoldings and unsheathings of the loneliest places…all the tangled growths that hide the secret processes of new life between the dark retreats of marsh waters and the still darker retreats of ancient forests.

  

Chris Thomas, Hon Secretary