(1872-1963) UK writer, resident for much of his career in the USA, though he returned to Wales in the 1930s, active from around 1896 until a year or so before his death; the first half century of his career as a novelist was mostly devoted to tales in which civilization, out of touch with the mythopoeic nature of reality, and lacking an understanding of the primacy of Sex in true Religion; they are of some interest where they enter realms of Fantastika – A Glastonbury Romance (1932 2vols), for instance, conflates the lives of Joseph of Arimathea and of its contemporary protagonist, evoking en passant the Holy Grail – but are not sf. The novels of his old age – beginning with Morwyn, or The Vengeance of God (1937), where Hell is seen as a kind of posthumous Dystopia – combine fantasy and sf elements in an attempt, sometimes obscure, to heat his eccentric mysticism into a unique amalgam. Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages (1951) is an Arthurian fantasy; The Inmates (1952) presents the "delusions" of a cast of mental patients in exaggerated terms and features a giant helicopter; Atlantis (1954) describes the last voyage of Odysseus, in search of Atlantis; The Brazen Head (1956) treats the explorations of Roger Bacon in terms of alchemy.
After 1957, Powys produced a sequence of remarkable Fabulations, some of them unhinged. The first were published as Up and Out (coll 1957), the first novella of which is a Post-Holocaust tale in which four survivors witness the end of time; All or Nothing (1960), in which two children make a kind of tour of the Universe, Real Wraiths (1974 chap), Two and Two (1974 chap) and Three Fantasies (coll 1985).
Of Powys's ten siblings, six were authors; much of the work of T F Powys (Theodore Francis Powys, 1875-1953) is of fantasy interest [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. [JC]
see also: End of the World; Fantastic Voyages; Multiverse.
John Cowper Powys
born Shirley, Derbyshire: 8 October 1872
died Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, Wales: 17 June 1963
- A Glastonbury Romance (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1932) [hb/]
- Maiden Castle (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1936) [hb/]
- Morwyn, or The Vengeance of God (London: Cassell and Company, 1937) [hb/]
- Owen Glendower: An Historical Novel (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1940) [published in two volumes: hb/nonpictorial]
- Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages (1951) is an Arthurian fantasy;
- The Inmates (New York: Philosophical Library, 1952) [hb/nonpictorial]
- Atlantis (London: Macdonald, 1954) [hb/Stein]
- The Brazen Head (London: Macdonald, 1956) [hb/Stein]
- Lucifer: A Narrative Poem (London: Macdonald, 1956) [novel-length poem: hb/Stein]
- Homer and the Aether (London: Macdonald, 1959) [hb/Steibn]
- All or Nothing (London: Macdonald, 1960) [hb/]
collections and stories
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