"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 POWYS SOCIETY invites general readers, academics
and everyone else who appreciates the works of the Powyses - specifically but not exclusively John Cowper,
Theodore and Llewelyn - or would like to discover more
about this remarkable family.
Membership is open to all and Powys readers from around
the world are welcome - indeed, actively encouraged - to
join the Society.
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
- To actively promote an expanded universe around the
- To provide a comprehensive and accurate resource on
the life and works of the Powyses
JOIN THE SOCIETY ~ 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
- Opportunities to meet fellow Powysians and those who
share your interest.
- An annual weekend conference and Powys Days.JOIN
2014 — NEW MEMBERS START HERE.
Prospective new members are entitled to receive one of
the Society's publications which will be sent entirely
FREE when you join the Society.
Join The Society
and just go to our Publications Order Form, select the
item you would like to receive and send this to Hon
Secretary, at the address on the form, accompanied by
details of your membership payment.
We welcome you to explore this website at your leisure. The site is
regularly updated so please check back. Should you have any comments
or suggestions please do not hesitate to make contact.
For the latest Society news click on the link
in the navigation bar above or
Among the residents of the Dorset village of Folly Down,
an unlikely struggle between the forces of good and evil
is taking place. For a single winter's evening, Time
stands still and the bitter-sweet gift of awareness
descends upon the people.
Mr Weston travelled through a small part of Dorset in a Ford delivery
by Vintage Classics 7 August 2014
"A genius - a
fearless writer, who writes with reckless passion."
on John Cowper Powys
“The one author I could not live without is John Cowper Powys”
– Bernard Cornwell
“ … why not read John Cowper Powys instead of the pretentious and
Lawrence?” – Simon Heffer
"Powys evoked the English landscape
with an almost sexual intensity. Hardy comes to mind, but
Hardy drunk and feverish with mystical exuberance."
Philip Pullman on John Cowper Powys
"Llewelyn Powys is one of those rare
writers who teach endurance of life as well as its enjoyment."
- Philip Larkin
"T. F. Powys, that master of rural
understatement whose wry humour and warmth, and whose marvellous
narrational 'pull', are irresistible."
- Ronald Blythe
"Theodore Powys wrote extraordinary
fables of English country life. Bloomsbury admirers hailed them as
the singular works of a dark and brooding genius."
"Theodore Powys, the brother of Llewelyn, is a rare person."
T. E. Lawrence
"For when we talk of the Powyses,
either individually or as a group, we do not speak of personalities
merely, for their various works and characters interact with those
of their readers and create new realms of experience. To adapt
Auden's poem 'Edward Lear', they have become a land, and those who
explore it can appropriate to themselves what they find there. To
that extent they themselves are witness to the Powys mystique and
may justifiably feel grateful for their citizenship of this complex
and endlessly accommodating province of the corporate literary
From That Goblin Race: The Powys
by Glen Cavaliero (The Powys Journal Vol. XIX )
The fifty-two page Powys Society Newsletter No 81 was published in March
2014. Newsletter No 82 is now published (July 2014).
version of Newsletter No. 74 has been viewed by over
7,375 individual readers (June 2014)
books dwell all the demons and all the angels of the human mind. It
is for this reason that a bookshop — especially a second-hand
bookshop / antiquarian — is an arsenal of explosives, an armoury of
revolutions, an opium den of reaction.” — John Cowper Powys
would wish that far stranger weddings happened in the world than
anything that she saw or heard of at Madder. She needed much more
than plain Madder life to interest her —some events more like a
proceeding that had happened in a book of fables that she had once
read, where a little mouse wished to be joined in holy wedlock with
a lioness, who, unluckily going out to meet her little dear before
the wedding, chanced to set her foot upon him.” — T.F. Powys
sight that the human eyes can look upon is more provocative of awe
than is the night sky scattered thick with stars.” — Llewelyn Powys
Wall plaque at High West Street,
Year: The Diary of John Cowper Powys
to June 1935)
FROM THE START HAS MADE ME AN ACTOR’
has always been, by his own admission, a touch of the theatrical
about John Cowper Powys: 'There is no use trying to conceal the
fact', he wrote in the Autobiography, 'that Nature from the
start had made me an actor.'
reading by Oliver Wilkinson
(6 mins 40 secs)
[Please allow a few seconds for buffering, depending on your connection
Wilkinson was an actor, director, playwright, and lecturer. His parents, the
author Louis Wilkinson and poet Frances Gregg, were close friends of the
Powys family. In 1994 Oliver, assisted by his son, Christopher, edited the
letters exchanged between his mother and 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
“(T.F.) Powys’ prose is a strange mix of
aphoristic religious argot, abstracted dreamscape, grammatically
non-standard expression and hallucinatory horror that calls to mind modern
Dadaoist writers like Michael Cisco or Thomas Ligotti far more than any of
Powys’ own 1930’s contemporaries. Yet counterpointed against this arch and
affected style is a lyrical romanticising of the rural and bucolic English
countryside that’s almost Thomas Hardy-esque, both in its nature-heavy
descriptions and its
eagerness to present a countryside that’s at once beautiful and wild;
carnal. And if that’s not weird enough for you, wait until you encounter
the book’s supporting cast: a woman who thinks she’s a camel, a man who’s
transferred his libido into a line of nut trees, and a priest who convinces
women to become prostitutes, only to spend hours reading Jane Austen to them
in an attempt to curtail their wickedness.” -
tomcat in the red room
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 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
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.”
"At the striking of noon on a certain Fifth
of March, there occurred within a causal radius of Brandon
railway-station and yet beyond the deepest pools of
emptiness between the uttermost stellar systems one of those
infinitesimal ripples in the creative silence of the First
Cause which always occur when an exceptional stir of
heightened consciousness agitates any living organism in
this astronomical universe. Something passed at that moment,
a wave, a motion, a vibration, too tenuous to be called
magnetic, too subliminal to be called spiritual, between the
soul of a particular human being who was emerging from a
third-class carriage of the twelve-nineteen train from
London and the divine-diabolic soul of the First Cause of