Glen Cavaliero’s Powys Collection

By Chris Thomas


Dr Paul Hartle, Emeritus Fellow of English at St. Catharine’s College in Cambridge, Glen’s friend, colleague and literary executor who delivered the eulogy at his funeral (see Newsletter No.99, March 2020, pp.12-14), has very generously donated to the Powys Society Glen’s personal collection of Powys books as well as his papers, letters and other documents relating to JCP and other members of the Powys family. The Powys Society committee has agreed to donate Glen’s collection of books to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where they will provide a very welcome extension to their existing Powys archive. This gift of books to Corpus Christi is of double significance for in a letter to Glen, found in his collection of correspondence and dated 23 January 1958, JCP declares how he begged Phyllis to give all his private diaries to the library of Corpus Christi College after his death. JCP’s diaries have however since been deposited at the National Library of Wales.

We have also arranged to deposit Glen’s collection of correspondence with friends and colleagues and other Powys papers and documents, including photocopies, ephemera and some manuscript notes to the Powys Society Collection at Exeter University. We will make the physical transfer of all this material to these locations when convenient at a later date. The collection of Glen’s Powys-related papers, letters and other documents should provide a very useful reference tool for future researchers.

Glen’s books are temporarily being housed by society member Sonia Lewis. Hon. Secretary is currently looking after Glen’s Powys papers. In the meantime I have prepared simple inventories of Glen’s books and papers to assist archivists assess the range and scope of the collection prior to cataloguing all the separate items. I have listed below a small selection of some of the items in the inventories of Glen’s Powys collection.

A. Books

Many of Glen’s Powys books contain ephemeral items, reviews, magazine or newspaper clippings as well as letters and postcards from friends, scholars and colleagues which have been loosely inserted inside – some of the correspondents are known only by initials, forenames or whose names are hard to decipher. They will eventually need to be properly identified for future reference. These personal items may not necessarily relate specifically to the covering book but do themselves constitute a very useful mini-archive. Some of the books are inscribed with Glen’s ownership signature, date and place of purchase.

Books inscribed by JCP and others:

1. Rabelais by JCP (1948) inscribed by JCP: “For Glen Cavaliero from my admired friend’s devoted adherent John Cowper Powys”
2. Maiden Castle (1937) inscribed by Glen “Triumphantly at Eastbourne”
3. JCP’s letters to G.Wilson Knight, edited by Robert Blackmore. With Wilson Knight’s signature
4.Horned Poppies (1996). Inscribed From Francis Powys
A selection of other books by JCP (these are all first editions):
Wolf’s Bane (1916), Ducdame (1925), Rodmoor (1916), Wood and Stone (1915), The Brazen Head (1956), Owen Glendower (USA, 1940), Homer and the Aether (1959), A Glastonbury Romance (1933).
Many other books by JCP in Glen’s collection are standard editions including Village Press and Powys Press/Society publications.

Additional Powys books:

Glen’s collection also contains books about JCP and other members of the Powys family (including a complete set of Powys Society Newsletters and an incomplete set of Powys Notes issued by the Powys Society of North America), books by members of the Powys family – Llewelyn, TFP, Littleton, Philippa (Driftwood, 1930, inscribed by Lucy Penny), as well as books by Mary Casey, Alyse Gregory and Gamel Woolsey.

Other non-Powys books:

All Glen’s other non-Powys literary papers have been deposited, as was his wish, in the archives of Cambridge University Library under the supervision of the senior archivist, John Wells. This collection may include for instance items associated with his interest in the writings of Sylvia Townsend Warner. Dr Hartle provides an interesting sidelight on this association. Dr Hartle informed me that as a Medievalist turned Restorationist in English literature he sometimes found himself unfamiliar with the modern writers Glen talked to him about including Sylvia Townsend Warner (Glen was a founder member of the STW Society). Dr Hartle said that Glen presented him with a copy of Sylvia’s The Music at Long Verney, twenty stories 1929-1977 (stories originally published in The New Yorker), Harvill, 2001.

B. Correspondence and other documents

1. A selection of Glen’s correspondents (the date range of correspondence is indicated in parentheses):

John Batten (1993-1996), John Bayley (1995-1996), E E Bissell (1968-1980), John Brebner (author of The Demon Within, a study of JCP’s novels, 1973), Marius Buning (author of T. F.Powys, A Modern Allegorist, 1986) , H P Collins, Frederick Davies, Terry Diffey (1977-1985), Margaret Eaton, Peter Easingwood, Francis Feather, Oliver Holt (1986-1994), Ichiro Hara, Cedric Hentschel, Bernard Jones, A.S.Krick (1989), Morine Krissdóttir, Oliver Wilkinson (1979-1995), G.Wilson Knight (1978-1984), Jeff Kwintner, P.J.Kavanagh, Rosemary Manning (1977-1987), Jacqueline Peltier, Gerald Pollinger, Sally and Francis Powys, Theodora Scutt (1993-1999), Marian Powys Grey, Angus Wilson (1972-1980), Gerard Casey (1975-1986), Alyse Gregory, Louis Wilkinson (1960-1965), Phyllis Playter (1960-1978), Lucy Penny, Isobel Powys Marks, Philippa (Katie) Powys.

2. Other correspondence

Typescript copies of letters from Phyllis Playter to bookseller G.L.Lewin (1968-1971); Glen’s original letters sent to Lucy Penny (with envelopes, 1961-1986); Glen’s letters sent to Phyllis Playter (1978-1981); original letters from JCP to Eileen Bax (wife of Bill Bax [aka Alfred St. John Bax] who visited JCP in the 1940s and published a memoir of JCP in Recollections of the Powys Brothers edited by Belinda Humfrey).

3. Correspondence with publishers about JCP’s writings

Rigby and Lewis, University of Illinois at Chicago (Ned Lukacher) 1984, Pan Books,1979-1980, Plein Chant, special JCP issue (Benjamin Stassen)1986-1988, Benjamin Stassen, dealing with the translation of JCP’s Romer Mowl in French, 1989.

4. Other documents (this collection consists mostly of ephemera, many newspaper and magazine cuttings, typescripts, and photocopies of published material)

Typescript of thesis by Glen Cavaliero, JCP, Fantasy and Reality in the Wessex novels and Chapter 8, The Land of Fable, Philippa and TFP (inscribed by Lucy Penny, Mappowder).
Photocopy of original mss of JCP’s story Shillyshally
Typescript of a story by JCP entitled Wenda Weir
Typescripts (filed in one folder) of two novellas by Philippa (Katie) Powys: The Stripping Shed and The Tragedy of Budvale.
Documentation about The Powys Review including correspondence about the possible options for the future of the Review and its funding as well as an unattributed and undated history of the relationship between the Powys Society and the Powys Review (probably drafted in 1990 to be presented at a meeting of the committee in April 1990).
Glen’s handwritten manuscript notes on some books by JCP.
Article by Glen Cavaliero “On the Frontier – John Cowper Powys” (in an envelope addressed to Lucy Penny)
Typescripts of Glen Cavaliero’s works: The Powys Family: Some Records of a Friendship;
An Interpretation of T F Powys; Maiden Castle Revisited; Essays and Reviews by
E.M.Forster; JCP and the Aether; Two Topographical Elucidations; and Refs to JCP in recent books.
Obituaries written by Glen Cavaliero of: Eleanor Walton (daughter of A R Powys), Gerard Casey, Derek Langridge, Francis Powys, Oliver Holt, Oliver Wilkinson, Sally Powys, Peter Powys Grey, Angus Wilson.

The collection also contains photocopies from JCP’s diary of entries relating to Glen’s various visits to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Diary entries are for July 3rd and 7th 1958, April 4th and 6th 1959, 30th March and 1st April 1960.