What was your original face?

What was your original face?

John Cowper Powys

CulturePosted by Vidar Wed, December 19, 2007 21:01:38
Having long felt that I have read myself into a corner, in the sense that I read about the same things over and over again (se reading list for evidence), and not being able to find anything new and exciting! ... mid-life crisis raising its head probably.

There is however, light on the horizon. Margaret Drabble wrote an essay about an author in TLS ( November 14, 2007) that I may have seen the name of, but never seriously considered: John Cowper Powys. The essay is about a new biography by Morine Krissd├│ttir "Descents of memory", and a new edition of Powys' "Porius". I promply ordered both. I like excentric englishmen, and Powys seems to fit the bill, having a society, or more exactly, his family has a society: The Powys Society, and a sense of exclusiveness about his authorship that I like (being a snob in such matters). (The publishers blog has links to other reviews)

I'm now halfway into Porius and hooked. This is really an amazing novel! It's set in Wales in the week from 18 to 25 october 499. The setting is Arthurian, but not your standard Arthur-fantasy. Not that the setting matters much (it probably does btw), its a fairly complex novel with several figures and many questions covered. It must be a mix of modern and ancient thought, so reading is like dipping in and out of the unknown. There is pagan, ancient greek and even christian elements here, but mostly what easiest can be described as nature mysticism I guess. (There's even mentions of Mithras, which led me to order this). It's a help to have a guide to all the names and (a few) concepts: John Cowper Powys's Porius: A Reader's Companion.

A Glastonbury romance is on the way (from the same publisher), to ensure that something is at hand when I'm through with Porius.

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