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Powys, John Cowper

(British, 1872–1963)

The influence of Powys's West Country boyhood is seen in his fiction. After Cambridge and lecturing, he lived in the United States before settling in Wales. His prolific writings range from poetry, essays, philosophy, and autobiography to the epic novels on which his reputation rests. Start with A Glastonbury Romance (1932), set in the modern town and its ancient ruins. The inhabitants are influenced in their lives and loves by Glastonbury's legends, pagan and Christian. Complex in plot and characters, rich in sense of place, mythic and supernatural elements, this novel is Powys at his best. Read Wolf Solent (1929), an interplay of opposites, centred on Wolf and Gerda; Weymouth Sands (1934), the psychologically interesting story of Jobber Skald; and Maiden Castle (1936), interconnecting several pairs of lovers. Owen Glendower (1940) is based on the Welsh rebel leader and his cousin, Rhisiart.

Thomas Hardy, Emily Brontë  GC

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Pa-Sc)