Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Theme as structure in three novels of John Cowper Powys. Fogel, Stanley Howard 1970

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1970_A8 F64.pdf [ 5.16MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0102168.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0102168-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0102168-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0102168-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0102168-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0102168-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0102168-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0102168-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0102168.ris

Full Text

THEME AS STRUCTURE IN THREE NOVELS OF  JOHN COWPER  POWYS  by STANLEY HOWARD FOGEL B.A., Carleton University, 1968  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of English  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE  UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1970  In  presenting  this  an a d v a n c e d  degree  the  shall  I  Library  f u r t h e r agree  for  scholarly  by h i s of  this  written  at make  tha  it  for  freely  permission  purposes  thesis  in p a r t i a l  the U n i v e r s i t y  may  representatives.  is  financial  of  g M f ? T  The U n i v e r s i t y V a n c o u v e r 8,  of  gain  S  Canada  March 24, 1970  of  Columbia,  British  by  for  Columbia  shall  the  that  not  requirements I  agree  r e f e r e n c e and copying of  t h e Head o f  understood  -r »  British  of  for extensive  be g r a n t e d  It  fulfilment  available  permission.  Department  Date  thesis  this  or  that  study. thesis  my D e p a r t m e n t  copying  for  or  publication  be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my  i  ABSTRACT In this thesis I f i r s t delineated the universe that John Cowper Powys envisioned and the ways he posited of l i v i n g i n that universe. magician,  the ichthyosaurus-ego,  the saint and the sadist are anthropomor-  phized facets of what Powys f e l t was h i s own h i s own way  The  composite nature.  Each has  of coming to terms with h i s environment.  Then, I attempted to show that, i n h i s novels at any rate, Powys's concern i s a r t i s t i c not philosophical or prophetic. one s p e c i f i c way  He does not advocate  of l i f e such as that offered i n In Defence of Sensuality.  Only i n the l a s t few pages of A Glastonbury Romance does he eschew h i s personae for a personal statement about the ineradicable nature of a certain kind of response to the universe.  However, i n the greater part of A Glas-  tonbury Romance, and i n Wolf Solent and Maiden Castle, Powys i s c h i e f l y concerned with s i t u a t i n g h i s characters, the autonomized fragments of h i s character, i n Glastonbury, Dorset and Dorchester.  own  He explores the reactions  of these characters to the m i l i e u i n which they are placed.  My i n v e s t i g a -  tion of the themes of the three novels and t h e i r relationship to the novels' structures reinforces my contention that Powys's emphasis i s not on the narrow formulation of a life-way. A Glastonbury ichthyosaurus-ego,  Romance probes the responses of the magician,  saint and sadist to that aspect of existence which the  G r a i l r e p r e s e n t s — t h e unseen, the s c i e n t i f i c a l l y u n v e r i f i a b l e . examines the convoluted state of an ichthyosaurus-ego accept the universe. tonbury Romance.  who  Wolf Solent  learns to simply  Maiden Castle i s a hybrid of Wolf Solent and A Glas-  I t combines the focus on the ichthyosaurus-ego  with the  multiple perspectives of that aspect of existence represented by the powers of Maiden Castle.  ii  Though both the m a g i c i a n and i c h t h y o s a u r u s - e g o d i s p l a y a p a r t i a l inability dimensions  to cope w i t h q u o t i d i e n e v e n t s , they seem most aware o f a l l the o f Powys's u n i v e r s e .  Consequently,  the t h r e e n o v e l s d w e l l f o r  the most p a r t on the responses o f the i c h t h y o s a u r u s - e g o and the m a g i c i a n . Powys does n o t r e s o l v e which o f the two ways i s most v i a b l e ; however, he does espouse  t h a t f a c e t o f b o t h o f them which a c c e p t s a l i v i n g cosmos, a  n o n - m e c h a n i s t i c w o r l d r e d o l e n t o f the f o u r t h dimension, e x i s t e n c e which cannot be r a t i o n a l l y  apprehended.  that aspect of  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Page CHAPTER I Introduction  1  Wolf Solent  20  A Glastonbury Romance  41  I.  41  CHAPTER I I  CHAPTER I I I  The Novel as Romance  I I . The Town and People as Characters  55  Maiden Castle  69  Conclusion  90  CHAPTER IV  CHAPTER V  BIBLIOGRAPHY  96  CHAPTER I  INTRODUCTION  Angus Wilson writes that "a view of l i f e , however unusual, does not make a worthwhile writer.  I t i s only because Powys's view illuminates  the world so e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y i n h i s novels that i t merits consideration. Wilson would have been more accurate had he asserted that the novels merit consideration not only because of the l i f e - v i e w they r e f l e c t but also because of the s k i l l with which that view i s immersed i n the novels.  That  i s , Powys's i d i o s y n c r a t i c philosophy of l i f e should be accorded consideration no matter how  good the novel i n which i t i s found.  I f the ideology,  which i s f o r c e f u l l y stated i n h i s quasi-philosophical tracts such as A Philosophy of Solitude, The A r t of Happiness and In Defence of Sensuality", provides a v i a b l e way  of l i v i n g for a great many people, then the precepts  he formulates cannot be disparaged because of the medium he uses to convey them. I f , however, our concern i s with John Cowper Powys, the n o v e l i s t , we must s h i f t our emphasis. for  us.  Indeed, careful study of h i s novels does t h i s  Wolf Solent, A Glastonbury Romance and Maiden Castle are not un-  mitigated tracts for the golden age or the rediscovery of the Welsh 'esplumeoir  1  envisioned by Johnny Geard or Uryen  Angus Wilson, "John Cowper Powys,"  New  Quirm; nor  Statesman,  do they l i o n i z e  October 26,  1962.  2 that character i n the novels whom we may c a l l the Powys-figure because phys i c a l l y and temperamentally he reminds one of Powys, himself, the s e l f c r i t i c a l Powys of Autobiography.  My contention i s that, though the s e n t i -  ment of the novels i s directed against something  specific-ratiocinative,  m a t e r i a l i s t i c modern man^-and though the novels posit two different ways of fulfilling  oneself i n reaction to a technological s o c i e t y , t h e i r main con-  cern i s not p h i l o s o p h i c a l . ing i n the universe.  The novels do not define s p e c i f i c ways of l i v -  They contain characters whose life-ways are tested  by t h e i r physical environments and by the other characters who people the world Powys created.  The focus i n Wolf Solent and Maiden Castle i s on the  Powys-figure who l i v e s simply i n the universe, achieving s o l i t a r y  fulfill-  ment; the focus i n A Glastonbury Romance i s on the magician figure who wishes to l i v e a l i f e beyond the one he l i v e s , who i s aware of and seeks to r e a l i z e a different plane of existence.  Nonetheless,  the three novels  contain a whole range of responses to what Powys feels i s a variegated universe, one i n which "the mystery of mysteries  is Personality, a l i v i n g  Person; and there i s that i n Personality which is indetermined, unaccountable, changing every second." 1  (A Glastonbury Romance, ch. 21, p.  693).  A l s o , though each novel ends with a celebration of a n t i - r a t i o n a l , a n t i mechanistic values,  each one has a theme of larger scope.  Wolf Solent,  example, deals with the loss of the protagonist's s e l f righteousness.  for Con-  comitant with this is h i s acceptance of the universe and h i s Wordsworthian animistic r e l a t i o n to i t .  A Glastonbury Romance explores  the diverse re-  sponses to that mystical element of l i f e which people believe i n i n varying degrees.  Maiden Castle combines the focus of the aforementioned two books,  describing the reactions of a number of characters  to what Powys c a l l s  the  fourth dimension,that aspect of existence which cannot be assessed tangibly.  This novel i s e s p e c i a l l y concerned with the stance of the Powys-  figure and the extent to which he sympathizes with this facet of existence. In  this t h e s i s , then, I propose to show that Powys i s a conscious  and conscientious craftsman, a writer of f i c t i o n whose primary impulse i s to his  probe the views of l i f e that the whole range of characters who novels have.  people  The novels enhance Powys's stature not as a s t o i c or  hedonist philosopher but as the creator of a world.  In "The Creation of  Romance" Powys poses the question "What i s the main idea of A Glastonbury Romance?"  He, himself, answers that "The main idea i s a l i f e , not a theory  or a speculation, and i n this case the l i f e of a p a r t i c u l a r spot upon the earth's s u r f a c e . T h e atmosphere, the m i l i e u of Glastonbury i s , i n f a c t , r i c h l y captured.  By examining the structure and theme of three novels, I  hope to support the proposition that Powys has a broad scope as well as a central concern.  In other words, I do not think that he i s merely writing  a f i c t i o n a l In Defence of Sensuality i n which he formulates the precepts by which one i s to l i v e .  Derek S. Savage i s w i l d l y wrong when, i n an a-  side on Powys i n h i s book The Withered Branch, he accuses him of presenting  the c u l t of sensuality d i d a c t i c a l l y .  This presentation, presupposing a s e t t l e d basis of formulated experience, distinguishes him from those who are themselves s p i r i t u a l l y involved i n a process of turning towards nature as a release from the burdens and strains of the d i s t i n c t i v e l y human l i f e which i s f r u s t r a t e d by the conditions of the modern world. 3  In Autobiography, a s p i r i t u a l autobiography not unlike The Prelude, Powys  John Cowper Powys, "The Creation of Romance," i n Modern Thinker, I (March, 1932), 74-76. Derek S. Savage, The Withered Branch: Six Studies i n the Modern Novel (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1950), p. 107.  traces h i s own reaction against and release from the modern world.  More-  over, one of h i s creations, Wolf Solent, has to f i n d a Wordsworthian escape route into nature and another of h i s characters, Dud No-man, learns a great deal about a similar l i f e - i l l u s i o n Maiden Castle.  that he holds onto  throughout  Powys's i n t e r e s t i n A Glastonbury Romance as well as Wolf  Solent and Maiden Castle i s not r e s t r i c t e d to a single kind of response to life.  Powys achieves h i s range by presenting a v a r i e t y of persons with  distinct life-views.  The emphasis on the nonrational response, either the  magician's or the Powys-figure's, at the close of each of the novels to be discussed gives him the impact, the concentration of v i s i o n , of Lawrence. Powys's conclusions about the a r t of Dostoievsky's novel w r i t i n g i n Dostoievsky, h i s c r i t i c a l examination of the Russian's work, are valuable because Powys, i n h i s published works at any rate, i s r a r e l y concerned with aesthetics, with novels as works of a r t . i s the world's greatest n o v e l i s t .  For Powys, Dostoievsky  What i s surprising i s that Powys accords  him t h i s honour p a r t l y because Dostoievsky i s a conscious m y s t i f i e r , one who  distorts his l i f e vision.  ...since h i s f i r s t great purpose i s to convince h i s readers that h i s i n vented world i s a world of 'real r e a l i t y ' , a world intimately, p s y c h i c a l l y and magnetically connected with the immediate actual world that these same readers know only too well i n .their own experience, he must d e l i b e r a t e l y as- a good craftsman i n the most subtle c r a f t that e x i s t s , obscure and sidetrack h i s i d e a l thoughts, saw, hack, lop and d i s f i g u r e the b e a u t i f u l l y b a l anced branches of h i s long cherished metaphysical entelechies, and, above a l l , never allow h i s own passionate, mystical, secret, personal v i s i o n of l i f e to s a i l prosperously with a l l i t s flags f l y i n g and i t s masts unbroken into the haven where i t would be.  4-John Cowper Powys, Dostoievsky  (London:  John Lane, 1946), p. 100.  5  Any n o v e l i s t who  avers that "Everything a writer writes i s of.necessity  propaganda; propaganda for h i s personal view of human values, his personal  'Philosophy of l i f e " ' " ' seems to want to impart h i s own l i f e - v i s i o n too  urgently, too immediately to d i f f u s e or obscure his message.  Yet i n Wolf  Solent, A Glastonbury Romance and Maiden Castle, Powys does not permit h i s 'personal v i s i o n of l i f e to s a i l prosperously with a l l i t s flags f l y i n g and i t s masts unbroken into the haven where i t would be'.  For example,  the women of Powy's novels function as c r i t i c s of the ways of l i f e of the men of the novels:  Gerda Torp and C h r i s t i e Malakite rebuke Wolf Solent  for h i s inadequacies as a man;  Wizzie Ravelston and Thuella Wye mock Dud  No-man for h i s masculine short-comings.  The men's s p i r i t u a l and cosmic  impulses are always counterbalanced by the less ethereal concerns of the women: the e r o t i c emotions, when they brim over from the masculine s p i r i t , e x t r i cate themselves, as women's feelings never do, from the bitter-sweet honeycomb of Nature, and shoot o f f , up, out, and away, into dimensions of non-natural existence, where the nerve-rays of women cannot follow. (A Glastonbury Romance, ch. 19, p. 637). So, too, are the ideologies and mysticism of Johnny Geard and Uryen Quirm tempered by the scepticism of the Powys figures, John Crow and Dud No-man, and are rejected outright by most of the inhabitants of Geard's Glastonbury and Quirm's Dorchester.  In Weymouth Sands Sylvanus Cobbold, the magician,  and Magnus Muir, the scholarly Powys-figure, are even less successful i n t h e i r attempts to r e a l i z e t h e i r l i f e - v i s i o n s ; the former i s committed to Dr. Brush's asylum, the l a t t e r i s j i l t e d by a sensuous g i r l who of Wizzie and Gerda.  In an unpublished paper read to the Powys  reminds one •-Society  5John Cowper Powys, "Introduction," A Bibliography of the F i r s t Editions of John Cowper Powys, ed. Lloyd Emerson S i b e r e l l (Cincinnati: The Ailanthus Press, 1934), p. 12.  6  Glen Cavaliero argues that Wolf Solent " i s a c r i t i q u e as well as a defence of the i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c l i f e , and makes no g l i b or confident moral judgements.  There i s a b e a u t i f u l l y held balance of values."  T r u l y , Powys's  concern, i n the novels I w i l l examine, i s to explore the v i a b i l i t y of the l i f e - i l l u s i o n s h i s characters hold,^ not to propound h i s l i f e i l l u s i o n or to allow "his 'main idea', however deep, however o r i g i n a l , however i l l u m i n ating, to be triumphantly  crowned i n the midst of a f i n a l grand cosmogonic Q  transformation Scene l i k e the p r i n c i p a l g i r l i n a C h r i s t i a n Pantomime." I t i s only at the end of A Glastonbury  Romance that one  0  gets  Powys's v i s i o n d i s t i l l e d ; only i n that l y r i c a l passage a f t e r the death of Johnny Geard does he not disguise 'the b e a u t i f u l l y balanced branches of his  long cherished metaphysical  not undermined.  entelechies'.  Though A Glastonbury  Yet the novel i t s e l f i s  Romance momentarily s h i f t s i t s fo-  cus from the town and i t s e f f e c t on the inhabitants to Powys's affirmat i o n that the unknown dimension of l i f e w i l l not be undermined by the forces of science and technology, Glastonbury's  primarily and magnificently i t evokes  atmospheric presence.  Despite h i s disrespect for T o l s t o i because the Russian i s an a r t i s t of the normal, because he i s seemingly impervious to the unknown dimension, Powys emulates T o l s t o i i n some important  respects.  hurried w r i t e r , he s h i f t s h i s point of view f l u i d l y  from character to  'Glen Cavaliero, "Wolf Solent". May 25, 1968.  p.  100.  un-  Paper read before the Powys Society,  One's l i f e - i l l u s i o n i s h i s i n d i v i d u a l way environment. 'Dostoievsky,  An  of coming to terms with h i s  7  character, and i s a l l of h i s f i c t i o n a l ing  creations.  Sympathetically  enter-  them, he creates f u l l characters as d i f f e r e n t ,as Rodney Loder and  Bet and John Crow.  He does not scorn Dog  Mad  Cattistock or Dave Spear or  Jason Otter, allowing them their l i f e - i l l u s i o n s .  Indeed, Powys i s i n d u l -  gent towards anyone as long as that person's tao or life-way involves no cruelty.  Of a p a t h e t i c a l l y self-conscious a r i s t o c r a t i n Maiden Castle,  Powys writes: Providence i n depriving the poor man of every human g i f t but that of being a gentleman had endowed t h i s v i r t u e with so much magic power of i t s own that a palpable though imponderable c i r c l e of exclusiveness spread i t s e l f over everything within h i s reach....Between h i s self-conscious boot-soles and this p a r t i c u l a r carpet a feudal r e l a t i o n had already established i t s e l f which compelled a l l the other boots i n the room to recognize the presence of some subtle p r i v i l e g e . (Maiden Castle ch. 5, p. 219). Powys i s as accommodating and considerate as i s the waiter i n s h i e l d i n g that man  i n describing this gentleman  from the i n t r u s i o n of the members  of the Cumber party; "the waiter... without anything  said, protected his  l i f e - i l l u s i o n with every wave of h i s discriminating napkin." Castle ch. 5,  p. 225).  (Maiden  Sensitive to the m u l t i p l i c i t y of responses pos-  s i b l e i n a variegated universe, and to the contradictions inherent i n them a l l , Powys, e s p e c i a l l y i n A Glastonbury Romance, achieves the range that T o l s t o i does i n Anna Karenina. To get the range of characterization I have credited him Powys went for the most part to the d i f f e r e n t ways of l i v i n g varying degrees made up h i s own each strand of h i s own ments.  life-illusion.  with,  that i n  That i s , Powys o b j e c t i f i e s  nature, creating whole characters  from these frag-  In Autobiography, written immediately before Maiden Castle and a  few years a f t e r Wolf Solent and A Glastonbury Romance, Powys described components of his modus v i v e n d i , his way  of l i v i n g  i n the  universe.  the  8  U n l e s s a l l my s e l f - a n a l y s i s i s s u p e r f i c i a l i t (my l i f e - i l l u s i o n ) assumes the shape o f a compound, l e s s s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y than i t used t o be, but not even y e t e n t i r e l y harmonized, o f f i v e r a t h e r d i s c o r d a n t elements. I w i l l name them i n the o r d e r i n which, a t the p r e s e n t moment, I f e e l them to be more or l e s s dominant. They r e s o l v e themselves i n t o a d e s i r e to enjoy the cosmos, a d e s i r e t o appease my C o n s c i e n c e , a d e s i r e to p l a y the p a r t o f a M a g i c i a n , a d e s i r e t o p l a y the p a r t o f a H e l p e r , and f i n a l l y a d e s i r e t o s a t i s f y my V i c i o u s n e s s . 9 To t h o s e f a m i l i a r w i t h Powys's n o v e l s , each element he names o f h i s illusion  i s easily  i d e n t i f i a b l e with s p e c i f i c  John Crow and Dud No-man l i v e  characters.  Wolf  Solent,  s o l e l y to enjoy the cosmos on t h e i r  terms though each has qualms about the v a l i d i t y  life-  own  o f h i s approach t o  Johnny Geard, Sylvanus Cobbold and U r y e n Quirm a r e m a g i c i a n s ; Sam  life; Dekker,  C l a u d i u s Cask and D a r n l e y O t t e r a r e h e l p e r s ; Owen Evans i s an u n w i l l i n g sadist. flect  Even the mundane communists,  Red R o b i n s o n and Dave Spear, r e -  t h a t f a c e t o f Powys's n a t u r e which r e j e c t s p r i v a t e p r o p e r t y .  Of  c o u r s e , because o f t h e i r w h o l e h e a r t e d d e v o t i o n to communism, t h e i r a t tempt  t o make i t the e s s e n t i a l p a r t o f t h e i r l i f e - i l l u s i o n s ,  somewhat p i t i a b l e  figures.  they a r e  Powys's i n d i v i d u a l s a r e not j u s t v i t a l  i n a machine; moreover, h i s u n i v e r s e i s not a machine.  cogs  P a t e r n a l l y com-  menting on Dave Spear's inadequacy to d e a l w i t h p e o p l e , p a r t i c u l a r l y w i f e , Powys o m n i s c i e n t l y w r i t e s t h a t Spear "was his  A t l a n t i s book t i l l  b u r n t t o the s o c k e t .  26,  free that night to read  the c a n d l e i n D i c k e r y C a n t l e ' s t h i r d back bedroom But he r e a d o n l y t h r e e pages.  p e r s o n a l i n a cosmos t h a t runs t o p e r s o n a l i t y . " ch.  his  I t i s h a r d t o be  im-  (A G l a s t o n b u r y Romance  p. 909). The most important f e a t u r e o f Powys's l i f e - i l l u s i o n a t the time  he wrote Wolf S o l e n t , A G l a s t o n b u r y Romance and Maiden C a s t l e was h i s  9 John Cowper Powys, A u t o b i o g r a p h y  (London:  John Lane, 1934), pp.  6-7.  9 desire to enjoy the cosmos.  I t i s despite an inherently manichean universe  that Powys resolves to be happy.  He e n t i t l e s h i s philosophy  one of "In-  s p i t e " ; "for i t i s i n s p i t e of the blows dealt him by chance and fate that the i n d i v i d u a l resolves to be happy whatever may firmly i n parthenogenesis, the a b i l i t y of man Powys also recognized that man  befall."1°  Believing  to create his own  world,  must u t i l i z e h i s power to forget and anni-  h i l a t e unpleasant memories. Powys's happy man  i s e s s e n t i a l l y a pragmatist.  verse, he must withdraw into his own  consciousness  a l i e n to h i s nature and r e j e c t i n g momentarily the  In a chaotic uni-  shutting out what i s 'merely human'.  Though  he has to fight to achieve the conditions necessary for happiness, h i s actual e c s t a t i c sensation i s passive rather than active. absolutely s t i l l , and simply contemplating we  what i s immediately around us,  f u l f i l l the ultimate purpose of our l i v i n g . A l w a y s  moments.'  "By remaining  the. contemplative  These are sacred moments akin to E l i o t ' s epiphanies  i n which i s  apprehended "the point of i n t e r s e c t i o n of the timeless/with time,"-'- and 2  Wordsworth's spots of time i n which, Though inland far we be, souls have sight of that immortal sea Which brought us h i t h e r , Can i n a moment t r a v e l t h i t h e r , And see the Children sport upon the shore, And hear the mighty waters r o l l i n g evermore.^ Our  John Cowper Powys, In Defence of Sensuality (New York: 1930), p. 186 X  Ibid.,  p.  2  T. S. E l i o t , "Four Quartets," i n Collected Poems: Faber and Faber, 1963), p. 212.  Simon and  Schuster,  72. 1909-1962  (London:  3 William Wordsworth, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality," and Selected Poems and Sonnets, ed. by Carlos Baker (New Rinehart and Winston), p. 157.  i n The Prelude York: Holt,  10  Powys, i n In Defence of Sensuality, c a l l s the man able to enjoy these moments, the ichthyosaurus-ego. himself.  He i s that person who seeks happiness for  He does this by r e v e r t i n g to p r i m i t i v e l i f e i n h i s redemptive,  contemplative moments.  He "feels himself backward, down the long series  of h i s avatars, into the e a r l i e r planetary l i f e of animals, b i r d s , and r e p t i l e s , and even into the cosmogonic l i f e of rocks and s t o n e s . B y giving himself up to primordial sensations, the ichthyosaurus-ego  experi-  ences a rapture "old as the world, a rapture ante-dating by aeons of time the sensations of beasts and b i r d s . For Powys, the whole universe i s a l i v e .  I t i s "simply a vast  congeries of l i v i n g Bodies and Souls, each one of whom i s i n contact with dimensions of existence transcending both Time and S p a c e . T h e  ichthyo-  saurus-ego's r e a c t i o n to this universe i s not to r o l l i n the responsive vegetation that B i r k i n gives himself up to i n Women i n Love; i s more cerebral. tively.  h i s reaction  He enjoys that malleable body, the universe, contempla-  In this way he merges with plants and a l l i e s himself with the so-  c a l l e d inanimate part of the earth. w i l l , encounters  The s e l f , employing i t s imaginative  the n o t - s e l f i n which everything i s i m p l i c i t ; " i t can  unweave our whole human l i f e tapestry.  I t can work back, down through a l l  the aeons and a l l the avatars, into the o r i g i n a l primum mobile...'  l^xn  Defence of Sensuality,  1 5  Ibid.,  p. 208.  1 6  Ibid.,  p. 249.  1 7  Ibid.,  p.  292.  p. 99.  11  The ichthyosaurus-ego of  i s s e l f i s h to the extent that the moments  f u l f i l l m e n t that he experiences are achieved only i n solitude.  It i s only by, this f e e l i n g of loneliness that we can escape the gregarious warmth of the crowd, that murderous enemy of a l l deep joy, and detach o u r s e l f from the fever of human i d e a l s . I t i s only by t h i s f e e l i n g of loneliness that we can a n n i h i l a t e the preposterous claims of a l i f e of action, and return to the calm reservoirs of earth, a i r , water, and f i r e , from which, as our soul contemplates them, emerge those lovely essences, the constant enjoyment of which constitutes the only i n d e s t r u c t i b l e ecstasy of l i f e . The way  of the saint, though i t i s a n t i t h e t i c a l to that of the  ichthyosaurus-ego i d e o l o g i c a l l y , i s l i k e i t temperamentally. action i s subordinate to contemplation.  In both cases  "For even while the saint acts,  pursuing so obstinately the happiness of others, h i s mind i s forever fixed upon that sadness of p i t y , that mental image of s u f f e r i n g Love which he has taken as h i s i d e a l . T h e apotheosis of the saint aligns himself with Christ not with God the purpose i n l i f e .  (or, the F i r s t Cause).  He renounces happiness  as  Subordinating personal desires, he l i v e s "with the  sole and single object of r e l i e v i n g the s u f f e r i n g of other beings, and of on increasing the happiness of other beings." Whereas the saint has eradicated a l l the e v i l inherent i n h i s d u a l i s t i c nature, the sadist has submerged a l l the good.  Despite the  v o y e u r i s t i c quality of Powys's sadism (reading, for example, about i n f l i c t ing  pain), i t alone seemed "to s t i r my e r o t i c feelings to t h e i r  depths. "^l  A l s o , Powys believed i n the projection of creative or destructive psychic eidola.  Consequently,  18. Ibid..,  pp.  19 I b i d  p.  231.  p.  275.  2 0  Ibid  21  •9  though h i s most s a d i s t i c acts were to cut up some  312-3.  Autobiography,  p.  190.  worms and to k i l l some young b i r d s , he f e l t that just thinking of more heinous crimes could influence the perverse thoughts of others.  Just as  h o r r i f y i n g to Powys were the acts of cruelty that others did a c t u a l l y perpetrate.  V i v i s e c t i o n and those who  practise that s a d i s t i c pursuit (for  example, Dr. Brush and the other s t a f f members of what the people of Weymouth c a l l e d  'Hell's Museum') are the r e c i p i e n t s of some of Powys's  most denunciatory prose.  Powys, however, most successfully o b j e c t i f i e d  that s a d i s t i c aspect of himself i n Owen Evans of A Glastonbury Romance. Powys treats him sympathetically because Evans genuinely struggles against the cruelty inherent i n him. act  Only when he i s confronted with a s a d i s t i c  i s that yearning of h i s , to see someone h i t with an iron bar,  stilled.  Out of h i s desire to play the part of a Magician, Powys created some memorable magician-figures.  D i f f e r e n t i a t i n g them from ichthyosaurus-  egos, Powys wrote that "the desire to be a Magician, that i s to say to exercise a c e r t a i n super-natural control over my destiny and that of others did not completely coincide with the pure, unadulterated enjoyment of sensuous feelings surrounded by an aura of obscure memories." 2 2  The magic-  ian's contact with nature i s ultimately a v e h i c l e to some deeper r e a l i t y ; the contact of Powys.'s happy man with the earth, on the contrary, i s more immediate and organic.  Sylvanus Cobbold shovels dung and Uryen Quirm press  es h i s forehead to the earth i n order to get closer to the paradisal underworld which, i n Welsh terminology, i s c a l l e d ANNWN.  Wolf Solent and  Dud  No-man dig t h e i r walking sticks into the earth to f e e l the mysterious rapport between themselves  I b i d . , p. 7.  and inanimate objects.  They receive r i c h  13  history-laden emanations  from this contact but they do not use them to  try to break onto the d i f f e r e n t plane of existence that the magicians wish to embrace. The magician figures, Quirm, Cobbold and Johnny Geard are united i n their attempt to break through to, or r e a l i z e , a c i v i l i z a t i o n and an ideal greater than those found i n t h e i r own.age.  At the end of A Glas-  tonbury Romance, Powys reveals that this golden age i s not rooted tempor' a l l y or s p a t i a l l y ; nor i s i t s t a t i c .  Indeed, that force which b u i l t Mai-  den Castle and Stonehenge w i l l b u i l d other noble c i v i l i z a t i o n s .  I t i s the  power of the golden age, "the creative p r i n c i p l e , wronged by four thousand years of misguided p r o g r e s s . "  23  The great goddess Cybele, whose forehead i s crowned with the Turrets of the Impossible, moves through the generations from one t w i l i g h t to another; and of her long journeying from cult to c u l t , from shrine to shrine, from r e v e l a t i o n to r e v e l a t i o n , there i s no end. (A Glastonbury Romance, ch. 30, p. 1172). The prototype for these paradises, though, i s that C e l t i c concept of the earthly Elysium, Annwn.  "Annwn i s a wonderful r e g i o n - - . . . i t i s a place  where a bountiful nature provides food from the trees and music from the b i r d s , and there i s nothing but peace. " ^" 2  Powys's magicians l i v e or approach this Utopia inwardly as well as externally.  Uryen Quirm, for example, had a 'Hiraeth', a Welsh word  for Uryen's s t r a i n i n g , "that longing, that yearning, that craving, that madness to break through."  23  2  (Maiden Castle, ch. 9, p. 467).  G. Wilson Knight, The Saturnian Quest (New York: p. 55.  Uryen,  Barnes and Noble, 1964),  ^Morine Smith, "The Magician Figure i n the Novels of John Cowper Powys." Diss. , Carleton U., May 1967.  M.A.  14  because he wrote about this desire for money and was, consequently, a l l i e d with "the s l y children o f gold and of burning, turning the dew of darkness i n t o e v i l , " (Maiden Castle, ch. 9, p. 468) destroyed h i s chance of ever seeing ' i t '  (Annwn) " i n my soul...where  the only r e a l i t y do bide."  (Maiden  Castle, ch. 9, p. 468). Thus, although cults such as those which formed around Stonehenge and Maiden Castle are spatio-temporal i d e a l s , the magician can l i v e the golden age i n t e r n a l l y . through' i s a sublimated sex-urge. not cohabit with Marret Jones.  The drive with which he 'breaks  Sylvanus Cobbold l i e s beside but does  By holding her, he generates energy which  he uses to approach h i s ideal state.  Uryen Quirm says:  Don't you see what force there i s i n s t e r i l e love? Why, my dear boy, i t ' s the strongest force there i s ! Rampant desire unfulfilled--why, there i s nothing i t can't do. S t i r up sex t i l l i t would put out the sun and then keep i t s t e r i l e ; that's the t r i c k . That's the grand t r i c k of a l l s p i r i t u a l l i f e . (Maiden Castle, ch. 6, p. 252). Again, the magician and ichthyosaurus-ego put an i d i o s y n c r a t i c Powys experience to d i f f e r e n t uses.  In Autobiography,  Powys alludes to the sensa-  tions of impersonal lust which f o r him, were more g r a t i f y i n g sexually than actual sexual intercourse.  Being disgusted with what to him were the  grosser aspects of normal sexuality, he was s t i r r e d sensually by the contemplation of sylphs.  Quite apart from the magician's occult trans-  mutation of the sex drive, some of Powys's characters enjoy this kind of cerebral voyeurism to achieve moments of heightened sensations. Powys recognized that we are a l l not magicians.  I t i s important  to r e a l i z e that the mystics represent just one facet of Powys and one fragment, a l b e i t an important one, of the novels.  Maiden Castle and  Weymouth' Sands do not culminate i n the i n s t a l l a t i o n of the prophet-king. Indeed, Sylvanus i s judged insane by h i s townspeople as i s Uryen, i n some  senses, by h i s son.  In A Glastonbury Romance, Johnny Geard does become a  prophet-king, s p i r i t u a l and t i t u l a r leader of Glastonbury.  Nonetheless,  he loses interest i n the town and haggling over t e c h n i c a l i t i e s of h i s disciples. his  Rejecting the mantle of prophet, (he never was interested i n  mayoralty role) he seeks, i n death, a f u l f i l l m e n t too burdensome i n  life.  A l l the magicians, i n fact, court death when their powers to pierce  the crust of c i v i l i z a t i o n atrophy. The f i n a l aspect of himself that Powys recognized and that became another of the novels' centers i s h i s desire to appease h i s conscience . I cannot remember a time when Conscience was not a trouble to me, ordering me to do what I didn't want to do and to r e f r a i n from doing/what I wanted to do. In fact i t may be said at once that the grand struggle of my l i f e has been between my Conscience and my impulse to l i v e a l i f e made up solely and e n t i r e l y of sensual-mystical sensations. ^ 2  The intervention of h i s conscience greatly modifies the d i r e c t i o n of h i s novels.  Powys's awareness of the flaws i n h i s s e l f i s h sensation-seekers  provides him with the detachment with which he writes about even the Powysfigures.  Wolf Solent, for example, i s more than a mere f i c t i v e s e l f -  p o r t r a i t of Powys.  Wolf stands i n r e l a t i o n to Powys the way Stephen  Dudalus  stands i n r e l a t i o n to Joyce i n A P o r t r a i t of the A r t i s t as a Young Man. Powys i s i n control of h i s a r t — h e i s detached s u f f i c i e n t l y from Wolf, and from Dud No-man, to view them i r o n i c a l l y .  He recognizes how  inadequate  their l i v e s are i n certain respects. One f i n a l piece of background in Powys's cosmic view of the universe.  information which must be given The kind of universe that Powys's  characters respond to i s less open to alternatives than the way i n which they come to terms with i t .  Autobiography, p. 7.  His overview i s a donne', deduced empirically  16  from ourselves.  Because we contain both good and e v i l , we must take for  granted (these are Powys's words) that we, indeed a l l things, were made i n the image of the F i r s t Cause who smacks of Aquinas's unmoved mover. As he w i l l do over and over i n the novels and essays, Powys asserts that the F i r s t Cause i s d u a l i s t i c , being composed of both good and e v i l .  As he  says i n In Defence of Sensuality, because each man i s a microcosm of the F i r s t Cause, i t i s not to be worshipped-on the contrary, i t s good i s to be loved, i t s e v i l hated.  "In the depths of our consciousness we are  forever f i g h t i n g to overcome our own tendency to cruelty and to o b l i t e r ate the tendency to cruelty i n the F i r s t Cause." plane i s the cosmos an image of the F i r s t Cause.  Only on an i n d i v i d u a l In i t s entirety i t i s  heterogeneous, a multiverse "made up of nothing else than the...struggling to-gether of endless conscious, semi-conscious, demi-semi-conscious ies."  entit-  2 7  Powys's cosmic view i s a curious one. I t i s ultimately s t a t i c not k i n e t i c .  The universe or multiverse, i s a f l u c t u a t i n g , dynamic organ-  ism whose motion i s arrested by our consciousnesses and w i l l s . dismisses the term stream-of-consciousness as inaccurate.  Powys  Instead, he  argues that our w i l l s constantly change the objects that our consciousnesses hold momentarily  i n patterns.  The f l u c t u a t i n g masses of sensation are  devoured by  26in Defence of Sensuality, 2 7  Ibid.,  p. 247.  pp. 306-7.  17 an unblinking Eye gazing into a mirror f u l l of shapes that i t has the power of transforming.... But always behind this Eye...is a l i v i n g and very magnetic thought-goblin whose will-power i s continually deciding which of these retina-colours and retina-shadows s h a l l be compelled to transfer themselves to the mirror or be removed from the mirror. The objects devoured by the Eye have, i n themselves, s i m i l a r Eyes and similar w i l l s which are, of course, d u a l i s t i c . and creative-destructive. him,  They are both good-evil  This i s important to Powys's philosophy.  "the course of every natural phenomenon i s personal--the  For  exertion on  of energy by a conscious,  or at any rate a half-conscious w i l l .  No  less than any sentient or insentient thing, the F i r s t Cause i s a persona l i t y who i s capable of projecting waves of creative and destructive energy and whose v i s i o n and happiness depend on i t s free w i l l .  Powys's  b e l i e f that a l l beings and a l l things have the power to create their own worlds sets him apart from those, l i k e Wallace Stevens, whose v i s i o n i s anthropomorphic. This study of the theme and structure of Wolf Solent, A Glastonbury Romance and Maiden Castle w i l l fragments of Powys's own nature are. ness of these novels. the philosophy  reveal' how v i a b l e the autonomized I t w i l l reveal the fullness and r i c h -  I r e i t e r a t e that these novels do not f i c t i v e l y echo  a r t i c u l a t e d i n , for example, In Defence of Sensuality.  The  happy man Powys delineates there comes to terms i n the novels with much more than h i s contemplative ecstasies.  He i s challenged by others attemp-  t i n g to lead l i v e s d i f f e r e n t than but as meaningful as h i s own.  Angus  Wilson feels that Powys's thought i s modified by a fundamental scepticism 2 8  Ibid.,  29  p. 196.  Autobiography,  p. 55.  18  which i s "quite peculiar i n so f a r as i t s function i s not the negative desire to r e j e c t but the p o s i t i v e unwillingness to exclude the innumer30 able facets of thought or f e e l i n g that attach to any person or event." Wilson r e a l i z e s this quality helps determine the form and content of the novels.  Powys's e f f o r t s , then, "to tone down h i s personal ideology and 31  muffle the oars of his private metaphysical l i f e b o a t , " the shocks h i s i d e a l man  and to assess  suffers i n incompatible surroundings preclude  that ideology being the shaping force of the novels.  And i t i s the  shaping force I mean to explore when I use the terms theme and structure. For the most part I w i l l use structure to mean framework or superstructure; however, I also wish to investigate Powys's i n t e r n a l ordering. Structure here includes "any pattern such as symmetry, recurrence, rhythm, s i m i l a r i t y , 32  contrast, progression-found within much or a l l of the novel."  Recurring  motifs such as the face on the steps of Waterloo Station i n Wolf Solent and the stones of Stonehenge i n A Glastonbury Romance are examples of such a pattern. In her unpublished thesis e n t i t l e d John Cowper Powys, Novelist, Margaret Going frequently states how Powys should have altered h i s novels to achieve unity.  This v i o l a t e s the basic dictum that understanding a  poem or novel means understanding the whole of i t .  Northrop Frye writes  that the reader must surrender h i s mind and senses to the impact of the work of art as a whole. Given this kind of sympathetic reading, Powys's Angus Wilson, "'Mythology' i n John Cowper Powys's Novels." A Review of English L i t e r a t u r e , IV (1963), 9-20. Dostoievsky, p.  iK.  140.  Newell, Structure i n Four Novels by H.G. Mouton, 1968), p. 7.  Wells (Netherlands:  19  novels reveal t h e i r own unity.  Even A Glastonbury Romance i s a single  work of a r t ; the characters of that novel, though, are important only i n sofar as they relate to Glastonbury.  20  CHAPTER I I  WOLF SOLENT  S t r u c t u r a l l y , the novel Wolf Solent presents no d i f f i c u l t i e s . I t opens with Wolf t r a v e l l i n g by t r a i n to Ramsgard i n Dorset and ruminat i n g on the events which led him to return to Dorset as well as the things he expects to encounter there.  He also dwells on h i s 'mythology', "a  device that supplied him with the secret substratum of h i s whole l i f e , (I. 19).  The question which he only h a z i l y and inwardly a r t i c u l a t e s i s  whether the events that awaited him--these new scenes — these unknown people --would be able to do what no outward events had yet done—break up this mirror of h a l f - r e a l i t y and drop great stones of r e a l r e a l i t y — d r o p them and lodge them—hard, b r u t a l material stones—down there among those dark waters and that mental foliage. (I. 21). This question i s r e a l l y the s t a r t i n g point for what happens to Wolf—and what happens to Wolf i s what happens i n the novel as a whole.  The people  whom he encounters and the events he i s involved i n do a l t e r h i s mythology. Indeed, they destroy i t and nearly drive him to suicide. recover, h i s e a r l i e r feelings are not restored.  Although he does  With the recognition that  his happiness w i l l be a d i f f e r e n t happiness than that h i s mythology provided, the novel closes.  Wolf Solent, then, i s a bildungsroman; i t traces  the inner l i f e of the hero through the v i c i s s i t u d e s of h i s Dorset encounters.  The structure, homogeneous with the content, i s l i n e a r .  The action  i s not d i f f u s e ; the other characters are considered mostly i n t h e i r immediate r e l a t i o n to Wolf.  All  quotations from Wolf Solent are from the Penguin e d i t i o n  (England, 1961).  21 Wolf Solent should be the novel with the widest range of appeal for those readers not accustomed to Powys's a r t i s t i c and philosophic i d i o syncracies.  I t i s s t r u c t u r a l l y simple, not having the many centres of A  Glastonbury Romance or Weymouth Sands.  (These novels have no unifying  plots and they do have characters representing each of the Powys fragments.)  "The more direct impact of Wolf Solent owes much to the fact that  the author's views are mainly concentrated i n Wolf and not splintered o f f among a number of i n t e r a c t i n g characters, as i n Jobber Skald (Weymouth Sands) for instance.  Wolf Solent contains none of the occultism of  the l a t e r Powys obsessed by Welsh mysticism. (Nonetheless, i t i n c i p i e n t l y contains this f a s c i n a t i o n - - C h r i s t i e i s a t t r i b u t e d to be a descendant Merlin.)  The novel i s , however, a d i f f i c u l t one.  cur with Angus Wilson, one of those few who  of  One would have to con-  champion Powys, when he says  that a writer receiving scant attention i s wronged because the c r i t i c s have lacked space to do more than indicate.  Wolf Solent, no less than  A Glastonbury Romance and Maiden Castle, i s an enormously complex novel. Written out of Wolf's subjective center, i t i s concerned with the fluctuations of the man's conscious mind. of mind that are charted.  Wolf's mythology i s i d e n t i f i a b l e with the state  of Powys's ichthyosaurus-ego. sensation.  And these are rather esoteric states  Wolf himself i s "a megalomaniac of l i f e -  He i s i n f i n i t e l y proud of being just what he i s , a human-  animal-vegetable biped, walking on the surface of the earth and staring up at the sun."  J  Concomitant  with this aspect of Wolf, however, i s the i d i o -  H. P. C o l l i n s , John Cowper Powys: R o c k l i f f , 1966), pp. 70-1. In Defence of Sensuality,  p. 90.  Old Earth Man  (London:  Barrie and  22  syricratic view of the role he has to play i n the cosmic struggle of good and e v i l .  This i s the magician's  side of Wolf's nature.  the b a t t l e against e v i l , he attempts over h i s own and other's destiny. loses h i s whole l i f e - i l l u s i o n .  A protagonist i n  to exercise supernatural control  Defeated i n this i n t e r n a l struggle, he  Wolf's recovery i s only a p a r t i a l one.  "The supernatural i t s e l f had vanished from h i s mind." (631).  Turning h i s  back on the magician's way, he contents himself with an animistic r e l a t i o n ship with nature, the state of the i n c i p i e n t ichthyosaurus-ego at home i n the universe.  Although h i s moments of contemplative ecstasy are destroy-  ed, Wolf loses h i s self-righteousness. In addition, to comprehend the process that Wolf's mind undergoes from ichthyosaurus-ego with i t s o f f shoot, i n t e r n a l p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n a struggle between good and e v i l , to a corporeal intimate of nature i s not to accede to the relevancy of such a transition.  Thought of as the destruction of a man's l i f e - i l l u s i o n which  locked him too much i n a diseased mental construct, though, the novel can be relevant to those outside ot Powys's esoteric borders.  Like Stephen  Dedalus whom Joyce has to drag back to earth to stop from soaring, Wolf Solent needs to venture behind the pigsty, to plunge into the r e a l i t y Powys e s c h e w e d f o r h i s revelation.  Assessing the broader  implications  of the novel's i n t e r n a l focus, Glen Cavaliero writes, " I f i t i s taken as REPRESENTATIVE of the inner, most secretive fantasies, life-awareness of a l l men, the relevance of the novel as a human document w i l l be seen to be  profound. The danger of equating Wolf Solent with Powys should be evident.  "Glen Cavaliero, "Wolf Solent," p. 8.  23  As I have already indicated ("Introduction", p. 17), Powys's l i f e - i l l u s i o n i s not proferred untarnished i n h i s novels. Maiden  Castle i t i s fragmented.  occult, less cerebral life-way.  In A Glastonbury Romance and  In Wolf Solent, i t gives way  to a less  Given h i s l a t e r mystical, v i s i o n a r y novels,  one cannot see i n Powys the Wolf at the end of the novel who  discovers, l i k e  Wordsworth discovered, "that c e r t a i n 'Intimations of Immortality' had to take a narrower, a simpler form, as the years advanced.'" Dud No-man, Wolf rejects the supernatural:  (25.631).  'If I can't enjoy l i f e , '  Like he  thought 'with absolute c h i l d i s h absorption i n i t s simplest elements, I might as well never have been born.''  (25,632).  Unlike Uryen Quirm and Johnny  Geard, he rejects death when h i s powers flag--he i s not a mystic. One  of the l a s t things Powys wrote before he died was  to Wolf Solent.  a preface  I t i s a jerky, somewhat confused account of the n o s t a l g i a  out of which the novel was written and of the purpose of the book. What might be c a l l e d the purpose and essence and inmost being of this book i s the necessity of opposites. L i f e and Death, Good and E v i l , Matter and S p i r i t , Body and Soul, R e a l i t y and Appearance have to be joined to-gether, have to be forced into one another, have to be proved dependent upon each other, while a l l s o l i d e n t i t i e s have to disolve, i f they are to outlast t h e i r momentary appearance, into atmosphere.^ However, although the major c o n f l i c t i s the "supernatural struggle going i n the abysses (of Wolf's consciousness), with the Good and the E v i l so sharply opposed"  (25.632), the r e s o l u t i o n of the novel i s not i n terms of  these opposites.  Wolf learns that l i f e i s more complex than the p o l a r i z a -  t i o n of Good and E v i l f i r s t led him to believe.  He learns to r e - e s t a b l i s h  himself i n h i s body, to immerse himself i n nature, which he had h i t h e r t o been avoiding.  5 John Cowper Powys  "Preface" to Wolf Solent (England:  Penguin, 1961), p. 9.  24 Though h i s protagonist recognizes h i s mind has been diseased, Powys has written a novel exploring what for him i s 'the mystery of consciousness. '  Like Henry James before him, Powys was  concerned not with  outward action but with the i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n and a s s i m i l a t i o n of the external.  Not objects, but the feelings that one associate with the objects  are important. of  James captured the texture of the mind thusly i n "The Art  Fiction":  Experience i s never l i m i t e d , and i t i s never complete; i t i s an immense s e n s i b i l i t y , a kind of huge spider web of the f i n e s t s i l k e n threads suspended i n the chambers of the consciousness, and catching every air-born p a r t i c l e i n i t s tissue. I t i s the very atmosphere of the mind.^ Similarly,"; V i r g i n i a Woolf writes i n "Modern F i c t i o n " that l i f e i s not a series of gig-lamps  symmetrically arranged, i t i s a luminous halo.  the n o v e l i s t must "record the atoms as they f a l l on the mind. aware that  And  Powys,  'the secret of l i f e i s the secret of consciousness', has, none-  theless, a d i f f e r e n t conception of consciousness than either Henry James of V i r g i n i a Woolf.  As I mentioned i n Chapter One, Powys rejects  of  "The modern n o v e l i s t tends to crowd a great deal too  consciousness':  much into h i s 'flowing waves' of consciousness."  'stream  Our consciousnesses are  creative-destructive Eyes regarding a world f u l l of other creative-destruc t i v e Eyes.  The pattern into which they arrange the myriad sensations  which they receive depends on the philosophy which we have evolved to l i v e by, ( i n other words, our l i f e - i l l u s i o n s ) :  Henry James, "The A r t of F i c t i o n " i n L i t e r a t u r e of the United States, Vol. I I , Walter B l a i r et. a l . , ed. (N. Y.: Scott Foresman and Co., 1966), p. 614. ^ V i r g i n i a Woolf, "Modern F i c t i o n " Hogarth Press, 1925), p. 190. Q  In Defence of Sensuality, p. 195.  i n The Common Reader (London:  25 Our philosophy should have a c e r t a i n overtone of awareness f a l l i n g upon a mass of obscure, disorganized sensations, and giving them a compact and l i v i n g continuity....Our v i s i o n must be a 'complex v i s i o n ' . I t must be a l i v i n g organism, i n the sense of being a cumulative wedge of l i g h t , made up of every awareness we possess, r e s o l u t e l y turned upon the ocean of the unknown.9 The characters i n V i r g i n i a Woolf's The Waves t r y vainly to stay the flux of existence, to give t h e i r evanescent  sensations some framework.  Deep below the surface events, Bernard recognizes, i s , even when we a r r i v e punctually at the appointed time with our white waistcoats and p o l i t e f o r m a l i t i e s , a rushing stream of broken dreams...--that r i s e and sink even as we hand a lady down to dinner... there i s nothing one can f i s h up i n a spoon; nothing one can c a l l an event--Yet i t i s a l i v e too and deep, this stream... (emphasis mine).-^ Wolf does not t r y to do t h i s , to stop the flux of e x i s t e n c e - - i t cannot be done i n a chaotic, ever-changing  universe.  Nonetheless, he does have a  way of enjoying the universe which orders h i s sensations. way of the ichthyosaurus-ego  That way i s the  which does give 'a l i v i n g c o n t i n u i t y ' to the  memories and stages of existence i t passes.  When he i s unable to conjure  up this contemplative enjoyment, the continuity i s destroyed and Wolf a l most k i l l s himself--only the s u b s t i t u t i o n of a simpler life-way saves him. That Wolf Solent i s an e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y dense novel i m a g i s t i c a l l y and thematically, a close examination of the f i r s t chapter, "The Face on the Waterloo Steps," w i l l reveal.  In a vacant compartment of the t r a i n  taking him to Ramsgard, Wolf gives himself up to h i s mythology and to a cons i d e r a t i o n of h i s immediate past and future.  He wonders whether that which  awaited him would destroy h i s mythology, drop 'hard, b r u t a l , material stones' into i t .  9  lbid.,  Oblivious to Wolf while he muses i s a bluebottle f l y which  pp. 199-200.  ^Virginia  Woolf, The Waves (England:  Penguin, 1964),  p. 219.  26  buzzed up and down above h i s head, every now and then s e t t l i n g on one of the coloured advertisements of seaside resorts--Weymouth, Swanage, Ulworth, and Poole--cleaning i t s front legs upon the masts of painted ships or upon the sands of impossibly cerulean waters. (1.13). The bluebottle i s Powys's symbol for those who have not succeeded i n becoming detached.  These people are over-human, part of the 'gregarious  warmth of the crowd' which was anathema to Powys. fillment i n detachment, i n solitude.  They cannot f i n d f u l -  To avoid becoming l i k e  them—caught  up i n the too-human—it i s necessary to exercise the very magic of Detachment, that magic that makes i t possible for you to be i n one p l a c e — l i k e the man seated on the naked stone by the flowing water—and yet to be i n the heart of the flaming sun and at the c i r cumference of the divine ether. For i f you f a i l to exercise the magic of Detachment upon the bluebottle f l i e s who i n f e s t your road they w i l l r e a l l y lay their eggs — t h e eggs of the maggots of c i v i l i z a t i o n — i n your soul. And then you w i l l believe i n the j u s t i f i a b i l i t y of v i v i s e c t i o n . . i n slaughterhouses, i n brothels, i n slavery, and i n the great, noble, s c i e n t i f i c , gregarious, loving, human undetached a r t of--Advertisement. Rousseau was r i g h t . I t i s only by detaching y o u r s e l f from human c i v i l i z a t i o n that you can l i v e a l i f e worthy of a l i v i n g s o u l . ^ 1  The appearance of the bluebottle f l y foreshadows Wolf's loss of detachment and near s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n .  At the end of the novel, though, Wolf Solent  (lone wolf) finds the s o l i t u d e , the aloneness, which f o r t i f i e s h i s sanity and h i s i d e n t i t y . Part of the bluebottle f l y ' s i n f e c t i o n i s "a moving tower of instruments and appliances, the monstrous Apparition of Modern Invention" (I. 15).  With a Laurentian f l o u r i s h , Wolf (here, a mouthpiece of Powys)  lacerates modern c i v i l i z a t i o n which leaves the earth bleeding and v i c t i m i z e d , l i k e a smooth-bellied v i v i s e c t e d frog. He saw i t scooped and gouged and scraped and harrowed. He saw i t hawked at out of the humming a i r . He saw i t netted i n a quivering entaglement of v i b r a t i o n s , heaving and shuddering under the weight of i r o n and stone. (1.16).  John Cowper Powys, "The Magic of Detachment" quoted i n part i n John Cowper Powys: A Record of Achievement by Derek Langridge (London: The Library Association, 1966), p. 128.  27  Just as he h i d his mythology from the mechanistic universe, he recognizes the need to do so with h i s less cerebral, but v i a b l e new way of l i f e . The despair-ridden face of the man on the steps outside Waterlob Station i s an i t e r a t i v e image which i s always hovering around Wolf's consciousness. I t was just the face o f a man, of a mortal man, against whom Providence had grown as malignant as a mad dog. And the woe upon the face was of such a character that Wolf knew at once that no conceivable s o c i a l readjustments or ameliorative revolutions could ever atone for i t - - c o u l d ever make up for the simple irremediable fact that i t had been as i t had been.' (1.15).  The  face i s the albatross around Wolf's neck.  Solent associates this face  with the face of the waiter at the Lovelace Hotel; and i t i s through him, Stalbridge, that t h i s persistent image i s exorcised.  He also finds "the  f l e s h l e s s head of William Solent buried i n the earth" and "the despairing head of that son of p e r d i t i o n crouching at Waterloo Station", (4.85) a n t i thetical.  Whenever Wolf seeks to detach himself, to s e l f i s h l y withdraw  i n order to achieve moments o f heightened  consciousness — indeed, at a l l  moments of c r i s i s — t h e image of the face on the Waterloo Steps nags at him, attempts to draw him back to the r e a l i t y of human  goings-on.  Just  as he and C h r i s t i e are about to consummate t h e i r love the face appears to him. A l l the sorrows i n the world seemed incarnated i n that face, a l l the oppressions that are done under the sun, a l l the outrages, a l l the wrongs.' They seemed to cry shame upon him, these things; as i f the i n d e c i s i o n that tore at h i s v i t a l s were a portion of whatever i t was that caused such suffering. (20.459). That face, of course, represents Wolf's conscience.  I t attempts to, impose  obligations on him, to deny him the s e l f i s h , contemplative which he i s t r u l y happy.  Wolf's consciousness  moments i n  of h i s debt to the face of  despair i s denied by Carfax who ministers to Stalbridge simply by giving him a job and money.  28  There was a scooped-out misery i n the ex-waiter's eyes that reminded him of the man of the Waterloo Steps.' He was evidently making some personal appeal to Carfax now. Perhaps he hoped to get employment from him. Perhaps he would get employment from him.' What a thing i t was to be possessed of the power that Carfax had.' Carfax was now succouring the WaterlooSteps man.' (25.605). Wolf's excitement seems out of keeping with the simple deed Carfax i s performing.  I t i s a r e v e l a t i o n to him, though.  He learns how wrong Jason  Otter was when he t o l d Wolf that as long as there was one miserable soul i n the universe, he had no r i g h t to be happy. ego (cf.  Unless you have the saint-  "Introduction", p.11) and forego your happiness to a l l e v i a t e the  s u f f e r i n g of others, you do what Carfax did; you give the sufferer a l l the material things you can to mitigate h i s poverty or desperate condition, then you go your own way. and be happy.  You s e l f i s h l y claim the prerogative to be alone  Wolf r e a l i z e s that "The Cause up there could c e r t a i n l y at  any minute make him howl l i k e a mad dog. I t could make him dance and skip and eat dung."  (25.633).  U n t i l that happens and h i s potential for hap-  piness i s destroyed—according to Powys, poverty, cold, t h i r s t , hunger, pain, u g l i n e s s , disgust,  i l l - h e a l t h , can diminish i t — h e must seek hap-  piness without pangs of g u i l t . he has to do good.  He has just as much r i g h t to feel good as  Wolf's father was never one to allow the F i r s t Cause  to intrude upon h i s happiness nor did he have any qualms about being happy. Thus, Wolf opposed William Solent to the face on the Waterloo Steps.  And,  0  when he receives h i s f i n a l v i s i o n , when he discovers that the secret i s 'to forget and to enjoy', he queries exultantly "Ha, old Truepenny, am I with you at l a s t ? "  (25.631).  The f i r s t chapter also contains Wolf's internal a r t i c u l a t i o n of h i s mythology.  This philosophy which he has evolved i s very close to that  of the ichthyosaurus-ego which i s described i n l n Defence of Sensuality.  29 "This, abysmal h a p p i n e s s which we and  plants,"  memories we make-up.  life  the n e g a t i v e  of s e n s a t i o n ,  p e j o r a t i v e kind of f u l f i l l m e n t "the  animals and  the  by hushed noons, by  f e a t u r e of Wolf's  leaves  l i q u i d , transparent  feelings  n i g h t s , by  and  internal a  That h i s mythology  over a s t i l l  e l e m e n t s " (1.20) i s n e i t h e r good nor bad.  resembles  pool-leaves  nourished  a l l the movements o f  the  I t i s merely a symbol f o r what  the i c h t h y o s a u r u s - e g o chooses to contemplate as Nonetheless, i t i s l o s t  fishes  s i n k i n g i n t o h i s s o u l , i s not  i n t h i s novel.  expanding o f g r e a t v e g e t a b l e  verse.  b i r d s and  and which g i v e s a c o n t i n u i t y to the d i s p a r a t e  1 2  a s s i m i l a t e i s not  The  share w i t h  the s u m - t o t a l of the  uni-  to Wolf because i t  was always accompanied by an a r r o g a n t mental i d e a - - t h e i d e a , namely, t h a t he was t a k i n g p a r t i n some o c c u l t cosmic s t r u g g l e — s o m e s t r u g g l e between what he l i k e d t o t h i n k of as 'good' and what he l i k e d to t h i n k o f as ' e v i l ' i n those remote depths. (1.20) Inventing  the e l a b o r a t e  opposites  o f good and  the good o n l y to g i v e i n to the e v i l and ology  with  it.  Only when he  people does he b e g i n  fident his  that threatened  i n Dorset,  h i s secret l i f e  l i k e a cherished v i c e "  f u r t i v e inner l i f e ,  for  example,  .  32  it.  He h e a r s " i n s i d i o u s v o i c e s — to t h a t underground  life  (2.33); however, he remains con-  must s u r e l y deepen, i n t e n s i f y , it."  submits to Gerda's demand f o r U r q u h a r t ' s money, he  mythology to p o s s e s s him.  P  s u f f u s e N a t u r e or  i s i n t a c t ; so i s h i s  r a t h e r than t h r e a t e n or d e s t r o y  his  1 2  does not  unguessed a t d i s t u r b a n c e s  t h a t " t h i s w o n d e r f u l country  U n t i l he  d e s t r o y h i s i d e n t i t y and h i s myth-  learns that e v i l  s u s p i c i o n o f D o r s e t ' s power to d e s t r o y  o f h i s which was  takes the s i d e o f  to be r e h a b i l i t a t e d .  On h i s a r r i v a l  voices  e v i l , he  Walking to Blacksod  f o r the  enrich  (2.39). often  first  allows time,  30 He f e l t as i f he enjoyed at that hour some p r i m i t i v e l i f e - f e e l i n g that was i d e n t i c a l with what these pollarded elms f e l t , against whose ribbed trunks the gusts of wind were blowing, or with what these shiny celandine-leaves f e l t , whose world was l i m i t e d to tree-roots and fern-fronds and damp, dark mud." (4.67) Despite these moments, Wolf gradually becomes enmeshed with Mr. Urquhart, Weevil, Gerda, G h r i s t i e , and Jason and h i s i d o l Mukalog u n t i l h i s b a t t l e with e v i l i s undermined and h i s i d e n t i t y  shattered.  Wolf came to Dorset to a s s i s t Mr. Urquhart i n w r i t i n g a prurient h i s t o r y of that region.  Immediately, Wolf attributes  malignancy to  him: It presented i t s e l f to h i s mind as a clear i s s u e , that he had now r e a l l y come across a person who, i n that mysterious mythopoeic world i n which his own imagination i n s i s t e d on moving, was a serious antagonist—an antagonist who embodied a depth of actual e v i l such as was a completely new experience i n his l i f e . (emphasis mine) (3.47-48). Everything Mr. Urquhart does seems to be f u l l of e v i l intent.  Wolf feels  that Urquhart h i r e d Bob Weevil, who i s already i n love with Gerda, to duce Wolf's wife.  se-  Thinking that the destruction of h i s marriage would pro-  vide Urquart with s a d i s t i c enjoyment, Wolf reacts suspiciously to Urquhart's a m i a b i l i t y with and interest  i n Weevil and young Torp.  The aura of mystery  surrounding Urquhart and Weevil i s t h i c k ; Wolf has to learn what i s and what is i l l u s i o n .  reality  He chooses to believe that Weevil i s out to exploit  Gerda at Urquhart's bidding when, i n f a c t , he i s merely ' p i n i n g after as Lobbie Torp r e l a t e s .  her'  He does, we are led to b e l i e v e , make love to her  but only because she permits him t o , Wolf having l e t her down. chooses to believe that Urquhart is a t r u l y s i n i s t e r  figure,  Wolf  that his love  for Redfern drove the young man to attempt suicide and that i t prompted Urquhart to dig up the boy's body and commit n e c r o p h i l i a .  Because he had  always "opposed, i n h i s dialogues with himself, his own secret 'mythology' to some equally secret  'evil'  i n the world around him" (2.33), he regarded  31  Urquhart as an enemy.  He had been so caught up b a t t l i n g the man, however,  that he didn't bring his conscience to bear on the man's book u n t i l , reading the squire's notes, he recognizes the 'lewd p r e c i o s i t i e s ' he i s ghost writing. Then, cold, frozen, eternal, malignant--this abominable doubt f e l l upon him l i k e an accursed rain...drip-drop, drip-drop, drip-drop...each drop sinking out of sight into the dim unreasoning levels of h i s being, where i t began poisoning the waters. (16.331) By f i n i s h i n g the book and accepting Urquhart's money to p r o p i t i a t e Gerda, he compromises himself and t o t a l l y shatters h i s l i f e - i l l u s i o n . Lord Carfax pierces another of Wolf's b e l i e f s , this time by r e vealing that Urquhart i s far less i n stature than the embodiment of e v i l . He assures Wolf that Redfern died of double pneumonia and that the voyeurism  Wolf sold his soul to transfer into p r i n t was merely the i d e a l i z a t i o n  of " Urquhart's dead s i c k of him.'  confounded p e c u l i a r i t i e s to quite such a tune you get I'm a l l i n favour of honest bawdry myself; but why sing  such a song about i t " ?  (25.610)  These comments of Carfax make Wolf howl  inwardly-Ailinon.' Ailinon.' Was a l l the a g i t a t i o n , a l l the turmoil, a l l h i s consciousness of a supernatural struggle with some abysmal form of e v i l , reduced now to the paltry l e v e l of a feeble old bachelor's f a n t a s t i c s e l f deception? (25.610) His elaborate inner b a t t l e exposed to himself, Wolf, having l o s t h i s mythology, h i s a b i l i t y to sink into h i s soul because of that b a t t l e , begins to recover.  He begins to establish a simpler way of l i v i n g i n the universe.  Another threat to Wolf's mythology Mukalog.  i s Jason's Hindu rain-god,  Wolf buys the i d o l from Jason with the thought of getting r i d of  i t himself and, thus, destroying an incarnation of e v i l .  32 He came to the conclusion that although i t i s impossible for any l i v i n g human being to o b l i t e r a t e a l l elements of good from i t s e l f , i t _is possible for an a r t i s t , or for a w r i t e r , or even for the anonymous creative energy of the race i t s e l f , to create an image of e v i l that should be e n t i r e l y evil. (4.60) Later, he shoves Urquhart's cheque under the rain-god which was hidden i n his dresser drawer.  A f t e r h i s mythology i s dead and he i s hopelessly  enmeshed i n h i s domestic a f f a i r s with Gerda, he seizes on Mukalog as the repository of a l l that i s thwarting him and f l i n g s i t "high over the pigsty into the darkening  f i e l d beyond" (22.533).  Powys does not then forget  about the i d o l Wolf has hurled behind the pigsty. ed, a careful writer.  He i s , as I have mention-  The imagery he weaves through the book i s consistent.  To say, as Margaret Going does i n her t h e s i s , that Powys has not placed det a i l s properly i s to deny him h i s a r t f u l n e s s .  The Apparition of Modern  Invention, the face on the steps of Waterloo Station and Mukalog are a l l recurrent images which are resolved or acquire a new perspective at the end of the novel.  In the case of the rain-god, i t i s suffused with the golden-  ness of the f i e l d which Wolf enters to experience his epiphany.  This en-  hances the conclusion to which Wolf comes--that the deep forces of e v i l which he was f i g h t i n g have been eliminated. The other prominent threats to Wolf's mythology are the two women he a l t e r n a t e l y desires--Gerda  and C h r i s t i e .  Desiring a woman to make love  to as well as the prolongation of his dominant sensations, Wolf quickly discovers Gerda whose physical beauty immediately a t t r a c t s him. nature-girl:  She i s a  "Her voluptuous throat resembled an arum l i l y before i t has  unsheathed i t s p e t a l s " (4.70).  She can whistle l i k e a blackbird i n a man-  ner reminiscent of another pure earth-goddess, Rima of Green Mansions:  33  I t was, as he r e c a l l e d i t s f u l l e f f e c t upon him, the expression of just those mysterious silences i n Nature which a l l h i s l i f e he had, so to speak, waited upon and worshipped. That strange w h i s t l i n g was the voice of those green pastures and those blackthorn-hedges, not as they were when human beings were conscious of them, but as they were i n that indescribable hour just before dawn, when they awoke i n the darkness to hear the f a i n t , f a i n t stirrings--upon the a i r - - o f the departing of the non-human powers of the night. (5.113). Wolf, l a t e r , expatiates more f u l l y on h i s association of Gerda with nonhuman powers.  This feature of her convinces him that she, no less than  Urquhart, has e v i l powers. Gerda to that h i l l ,  On an outing with her on P o l l ' s Camp, he links  thinking she was " i n league with whatever more remote  and more heathen powers had dominated  this embattled h i l l "  dark gods of primal matter, Wolf f e e l s , are h o s t i l e to him.  (15.327).  These  C h r i s t i e , on  the contrary, i s associated with the plains below P o l l ' s Camp which,  though  they are mystical, are imbedded with the s p i r i t of King Arthur, a known quantity, a beneficent soul.  Only when he discovers that i t i s h i s mind  and not nature which i s diseased i s Wolf's mistrust of Gerda  dispelled.  Before t h i s , he doubts her claim to v i r g i n i t y and he thinks Weevil i s cuckolding him long before Gerda, hurt by Wolf, gives i n to Weevil. Wolf made a mistake by succumbing to Gerda's l o v e l i n e s s , a phys i c a l beauty which "absorbs with a kind of absoluteness the whole aesthet i c sense, paralyzing the e r o t i c s e n s i b i l i t y "  (5.103).  Although she does  not suit him, Wolf i s helpless before a beauty "so over-powering, so absolute i n i t s flawlessness" (4.73); however, (and I wish to emphasize this point) just because she i s the embodiment of woman, of 'the seductive quali t y of a woman's body to a l l men', she does not f u l f i l l Wolf's, i d e a l .  He  wants to take her sexually--he has an i n s a t i a b l e craving to do so; nonethel e s s , she does not activate h i s s p i r i t . bility'.  She paralyzes h i s 'erotic sensi-  34  After Wolf possesses Gerda she loses her magic for him. ing a passionate, sexual person Wolf becomes uninterested i n her. pondingly, she becomes a much simpler creature.  Not beCorres-  The l u s t r e of a c l a s s i c a l  nymph rubs o f f her when she becomes a housewife and her pursuits become mundane.  She enjoys dancing with Bob Weevil, spending money, and looking  a t t r a c t i v e ( i n the more pejorative sense of the word).  His evanescent de-  s i r e for g r a t i f i c a t i o n s t i l l e d i n the boredom of marriage, and f e e l i n g trapped i n a dead-end existence, Wolf senses the atrophy of h i s mythology. E g o i s t i c a l l y , he also becomes obsessed with jealousy which causes him to lose the detachment necessary for him to withdraw into himself.  Nor i s  Gerda l e f t unscathed by their diurnal monotony--she loses her a b i l i t y to sing l i k e a blackbird.  who  I t i s Carfax, again, who  i s the r e s t o r a t i v e agent.  C h r i s t i e i s Wolf's r i g h t f u l soul-mate.  She i s l i k e those sylphs  evoked i n Powys himself a pure impersonal lust while he watched them  on Weymouth sands.  Powys described them as being  hardly of the feminine sex at all.' I t i s as i f I had been born into this world from another p l a n e t — c e r t a i n l y not Venus; Saturn possibly—where there was a d i f f e r e n t sex altogether from the masculine and feminine that we know. I t i s of this sex, of this Saturnian sex, that I must think when i n the secret chambers of my mind I utter the s y l l a b l e " g i r l " . I suppose women are more l i k e these e l f i n sylphs, these f l e e t i n g elementals, then most men are; but I am not p e r f e c t l y sure even about this.'-'3  C h r i s t i e i s one of these elementals.  She appears to be neither masculine  nor feminine--"the impression he received of her appearance was..of a f i gure so s l i g h t and sexless that i t resembled those meagre, androgynous forms..."  (4.83).  Wolf's soul, l i k e Powys's, needs a sylph to motivate  i t without causing i t to lose i t s apartness.  His r e l a t i o n s h i p with C h r i s t i e  does not need physical consummation to be consolidated. Indeed, C h r i s t i e  Autobiography,  p. 206.  35 evokes i n him an impersonal lust which withdraws for Wolf as i t does for Powys "with shrinking of i t s whole nature from contact with ordinary, 14 normal, natural sex-expression." essence, i t i s open-ended.  Because i t i s only a contemplative-  C h r i s t i e , who  i s described as having an e l f -  ish humour and as being a changeling out of the purer elements, provokes his  s p i r i t whenever h i s meagre passion for Gerda i s s t i l l e d .  Thus, he  can maintain a 'strange i n t e n s i t y ' i n his r e l a t i o n s with C h r i s t i e though he only infrequently sees h e r — " H i s sensual nature t r a n q u i l l i z e d , s a t i s f i e d , appeased, permitted h i s s p i r i t to wander o f f f r e e l y towards that other g i r l i s h form, more elusive, less tangible...." (12.276) C h r i s t i e not only shares i n some ways Wolf's mythology, or at least h i s desire to have a philosophy which i s more than abstract, but she also i s able to perceive the f o l l y of Wolf's mystical, i n t e r n a l struggle. Containing a good deal of what Hewitt c a l l s "the unfastidious realism 15 which a l l Powys's women have," dualistic battle. 'good' and  C h r i s t i e rebukes Wolf f o r his private  "What you never seem to r e a l i z e , for a l l your talk about  ' e v i l ' , i s that events are something outside any one  mind." (20.466).  person's  Her assessment of Wolf i s as accurate as Wizzie Ravelston's  pronouncement that Dud No-man i s t r u l y not a man.  Although Wolf escapes  from C h r i s t i e ' s bedroom with h i s l i f e - i l l u s i o n i n t a c t , he i s censured again by her.  Having been unable to make love to her, he s t i l l loves her.  She i s s t i l l h i s - soul-mate. catalyst of Wolf's s p i r i t . Ibid., p.  C h r i s t i e , however, needed to be more than the She wanted to be lovedphysically.  A virgin,  207.  C h r i s t i a n B. Hewitt, "The Novels of John Cowper Powys" (Michigan: s i t y Microfilms, 1961), p. 77.  Univer-  36  she  f e e l s t h a t "'I  s h o u l d have known...tonight...what...now...I... s h a l l . . .  n e v e r . . . know.' '"  (20.467).  coupling of her  f a t h e r and  F i n a l l y , a f t e r her  incestuous  s i s t e r , C h r i s t i e g r a d u a l l y draws away from Wolf.  f a t h e r d i e s , she and  r e s o l v e , however, t h a t she the l o s s o f h i s  T a k i n g t o Olwen, the p r o d u c t . o f the  the c h i l d r e t i r e t o Weymouth.  i s h i s true love i s only strengthened.  Wolf's  Despite  life-illusion,  There hung about the i d e a o f her s t i l l . . .yes.' s t i l l , s t i l l , s t i l l . a sweetness as e x c i t i n g as the w i l d e s t f a n c i e s of h i s y o u t h , as t h o s e d a r k , s e c r e t f a n c i e s where the s y l l a b l e s 'a g i r l c a r r i e d w i t h them so y i e l d i n g an essence t h a t b r e a s t s and h i p s and t h i g h s l o s t themselves i n an u n u t e r a b l e mystery.' (25.616) 1  1  H i s f i n a l v i s i o n i s s u f f u s e d w i t h t h o u g h t s o f a C h r i s t i e who a l l u r i n g to  remain  him.  I have t r a c e d the i n f l u e n c e o f t h o s e who life.  will  I t would be w o r t h w h i l e now  fashion i t i s told.  most a f f e c t e d W o l f ' s  t o d e l i n e a t e h i s s t o r y i n the  linear  A l t h o u g h i n d i s c u s s i n g the e f f e c t o t h e r s had  I have p a t c h e d t o g e t h e r  on  him  some o f the f l u c t u a t i o n s o f h i s s o u l , I have not  t r a c e d i n Wolf the h i s t o r y o f the a r t i c u l a t i o n of h i s mythology t o l o s s of i t t o the f o r m u l a t i o n o f a new  l i f e way,  phany w h i c h I have o n l y b r i e f l y a l l u d e d t o .  The  the  c u l m i n a t i n g w i t h an e p i s t r u c t u r e o f Wolf  Solent  f o l l o w s t h i s p a t t e r n , from l o s s t o r e d e m p t i o n . D u r i n g h i s f i r s t few weeks i n D o r s e t , Wolf i s a happy Though he does not t r u s t U r q u h a r t , he  i s not  de v i p e r e s ' which l a t e r s t r a n g l e s h i s s o u l . not h a v i n g any  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , he  h i m s e l f up t o the e c s t a s y  s u s c e p t i b l e t o the Not  burdened by h i s work  o f h i s mythology.  He  and  When h i s mythology i s dormant, communion w i t h  i s a term c o i n e d by Powys t o r e p r e s e n t  a l l o f n a t u r e comes a l i v e .  'noeud  frequently sinks into his soul, giving  Wolf gives vent to h i s f e t i s h - w o r s h i p , a simple Fetish-worship  man.  describes  nature.  t h a t power by which  i t in''Wolf S o l e n t  i n the f o l l o w i n g  37  manner: It was a worship of a l l the separate, mysterious, l i v i n g souls he approached: 'souls' of grass, trees, stones, animals, b i r d s , f i s h ; 'souls' of planetary bodies and of the bodies of men and women; the 'souls' even, pf a l l manner of inanimate l i t t l e things; the 'souls' of a l l those strange, chemical groupings that give a l i v i n g i d e n t i t y to houses, towns, places, countrysides....and between h i s soul and the 'soul', as i t were, of whatever i t was he happened to be regarding, there seemed to be established a tremulous and subtle r e c i p r o c i t y . (4.54-55). This animism i s evocative of the early mind i n Wordsworth's The Prelude which delighted i n a r e c i p r o c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p with nature. I was only then Contented, when with b l i s s i n e f f a b l e I f e l t the sentiment of Being spread O'er a l l that moves and a l l that seemeth s t i l l ; O'er a l l that, l o s t beyond the reach of thought And human knowledge, to the human eye I n v i s i b l e , yet l i v e t h to the heart.  (The Prelude, 2.399-405)  Wolf never loses this a b i l i t y to enter into a symbiotic r e l a t i o n s h i p with nature.  Like Rupert B i r k i n who wanders into a f i e l d , r o l l s i n the respon-  sive vegetation and then becomes a part of nature, Wolf, when h i s inner l i f e i s most troubled, i s able to give "himself up to a physical sensation of being an i n t e g r a l portion of t h i s wide, somnolent landscape.'" (22.522) Like Rupert, he wants something more ( i n Wolf's case, h i s mythology); however, unlike Rupert, he has to s e t t l e for that early Wordsworthian absorpt i o n i n nature--the v i s i o n "of that immortal  sea, which brought us h i t h e r "  having been denied him. As h i s stay inDorset i s extended, h i s mythology becomes more and more endangered.  His job makes demands on h i s struggle with e v i l ; h i s  marriage necessitates h i s taking on r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s .  1 6  "ode:  Intimations of Immortality.','  In addition, h i s  1  38 mother "who  stands for enterprise and responsibility"-'-  gard to claim some of h i s time and he i s compelled  7  arrives i n Rams-  to take up the case  of h i s father's o f f s p r i n g , Mattie Smith, and Olwen Smith as well.  The  pressure builds u n t i l he gives Gerda Urquhart's blood money and destroys h i s mythology.  Wolf becomes a s h e l l , a d e a t h - i n - l i f e figure, bereft of  "any d e f i n i t e personality, no longer £with]] any banked-up i n t e g r a l s e l f : (23.543).  "A l i g h t capable of l i n k i n g h i s days i n flowing c o n t i n u i t y "  (24.572) i s l o s t .  His mythology had given him the f l u i d i d e n t i t y which  Powys thinks i s so important i n a world of disparate experiences: Continuity i s the whole secret. To have smoothed out, by constant use, those psychic grooves i n one's nature along which the W i l l h u r r i e s , l i k e a polished machine along a s t e e l i n c l i n e , bringing back these moments of f l e e t i n g d e l i g h t , this i s a great achievement. 1  8  Without t h i s a b i l i t y Wolf i s , l i k e Rhoda i n The Waves, a person without some centre by which one relates experiences.  Rhoda commits suicide.  Wolf, attempting to drown himself i n Lenty Pond, i s saved by h i s body which i s i n s t i n c t i v e l y r e p e l l e d by the prospect of death by drowning. The very bones within him began screaming-a low, t h i n , wire-drawn screambefore what h i s mind was contemplating. I t was not that l i f e — m e r e l y to be a l i v e - - had suddenly become so precious....What h i s f l e s h and h i s bone shrank from was not eternity. I t was immersion i n that l o c a l i z e d , p a r t i cular, cubic expanse of s t a r l i t oxygen-hydrogen.' (23.560). This marks the beginning of Wolf's recovery.  s  Although he i s s t i l l a s h e l l ,  s t i l l without an i d e n t i t y and although he does not yet exult i n merely being a l i v e , he has confronted death and withstood i t s c a l l . The f i r s t clue to Wolf's recovery i s provided by Gaffer Barge's  1 7  G l e n Cavaliero,  1%n  "Wolf Solent",  Defence of Sensuality ,  p.  38.  p. 5.  i n s t i n c t i v e goodness. age to Mrs.  Barge's innocence and eagerness to convey a mess-  Solent i s not forgotten by Wolf.  Gaffer's kind of goodness  for Wolf's former combative good.  clue comes from the dying Mr. Malakite who he dies.  His f i n a l v i s i o n substitutes The  second  shrieks "Forget."' just before  Wolf r e a l i z e s that he must learn to forget the s u f f e r i n g and mis-  deeds of the past by an act of his will--"'There i s no l i m i t to the power of iny w i l l , ' he thought, 'as long as I only use i t for two uses only... to forget and to enjoy.'"  (25.631).  Restoration to both body and soul come to Wolf at the end of the novel.  F i r s t , h i s body comes  "to i t s own conclusions.' I t was as i f h i s f l e s h were drinking i n and soaking up this beauty, while h i s soul, cut into pieces by his recent humiliation l i k e a worm by a bird's beak, wriggled and squirmed somewhere above h i s head..'" (25.620) He r e j o i c e s i n merely being a l i v e .  Then h i s soul, s t i l l lacking a centre,  heals i t s e l f i n the scene behind the pigsty.  Like Ursula Brangwen, h i s  epiphanic moment comes when he finds the gap i n a hedge and enters a world.  new  This world of Wolf's i s suffused with Saturnian gold, representing  an age i n which good did not have to wage war with e v i l . supernatural  "The  sense of a  struggle going on i n the abysses, with the Good and the E v i l  so sharply opposed had vanished  from his mind."  (25.631).  purpose i n l i f e , to forget and to enjoy, Wolf gains a new 'I am I' from which to act.  Given a  new  centre, a  new  S t o i c a l l y accepting the p o s s i b i l i t y that  Chance might destroy him, he emulates another s t o i c , C l a r i s s a Dalloway, who  learns to pursue her own  goals, to  Fear no more the heat o' the sun Nor the furious winter's rages.  V i r g i n i a Woolf, Mrs.  Dalloway  (England:  Penguin, 1964), p.  12.  40 U n t i l the F i r s t Cause overwhelmed him, Wolf "was his  'road' through the ink-stains, and endure.'"  going to e n d u r e . f o l l o w (25.633).  41  CHAPTER I I I  A GLASTONBURY ROMANCE I The Novel as Romance  A Glastonbury Romance can be e a s i l y c r i t i c i z e d .  I t s length,  apparent disunity and cosmic overview (an omniscience incorporating not only a l l the characters but also the sun, moon and F i r s t Cause), not to mention the obtrusive authorial presence of i t s creator, have been seized on by c r i t i c s and reviewers, the most laudatory of whom c a l l i t a magnificent failure.  Writing i n the Saturday Review of L i t e r a t u r e , B a s i l  Davenport argues that the author has given us both too l i t t l e and too much. Too l i t t l e because the action does not a f t e r a l l seem to j u s t i f y a l l the supernatural 'machinery' as Dr. Johnson would have c a l l e d i t . . . . B u t we are also given too much, f o r i t i s hard to sustain our interest i n the sordid threads, through the twelve hundred pages of h i s volume. A Glastonbury Romance c e r t a i n l y has i t s s t y l i s t i c f a u l t s .  .Powys's p r o l i x -  ity  often overwhelms one. His penchant f o r a l l - i n c l u s i v e l i s t s causes  his  prose to be tiresome.  Often Powys destroys the suspense he has b u i l t  up by embellishing h i s material with c l a s s i c a l comparisons or by attempting  to people the scene of the c o n f l i c t at the expense of the protagonists.  Also, the a r i s t o c r a t i c element of h i s writing and a remoteness of idiom, alluded to by H. P. C o l l i n s i n John Cowper Powys: provide some embarrassing passages f o r the reader.  March 26, 1932.  Old Earth Man (p. 7),  42  Powys, again somewhat misleading i n the preface he wrote twentyfive years a f t e r the p u b l i c a t i o n of the novel, intimates that A Glastonbury Romance was written i n a 'somewhat tumultuous and chaotic manner . 1  Even i f this was the case, i t i s not to say, as H. P. C o l l i n s has said, 2 that "there i s no form, no 'art', and there i s abundance of v i t a l i t y . " A Glastonbury Romance i s not an u n d i s c i p l i n e d and amorphous work.  I t has  an organizing force; i t i s a tone-poem on the G r a i l exploring how people react to a fragment of the Absolute; or, to c l a r i f y the theme of the novel, how they respond to the i n t e r s e c t i o n of the timeless with time, the unseen with the seen, the miraculous with the mundane.  The viewpoints con-  sidered range from P h i l i p Crow's denial of these ' r e l i g i o u s ' values to Johnny Geard's embodiment of them.  Moreover, the theme i s enhanced by the  way the physical s e t t i n g i s used to symbolize or r e a l i z e this concern with the s p i r i t u a l dimension of our existence.  The action i t s e l f i s centered  in Glastonbury and i s grouped around Glastonbury Tor, Chalice H i l l and Wirral H i l l , each of which are repositories of those mystical values which are Bloody Johnny's.  In the atmospheric and t e r r e s t r i a l regions of Glas-  tonbury resides the G r a i l which, t r a d i t i o n has i t , was brought to Glastonbury by Joseph of Arimathea.  Thus, though there may be several d i s t i n c t  'human' p l o t s , they are developed i n and around Glastonbury whose r e l i g i o u s emanations permeate those receptive to them and repel those who deny them. Powys treats Glastonbury as a protagonist. He writes that he treats the town psychologically, John Cowper Powys:  Old Earth Man,  p. 80.  43  by describing i t and analyzing i t under the moods of the weather and under various chemical and s p i r i t u a l influences and i n regard to i t s f l o r a and fauna and geological s t r a t a ; and i n regard to the h i s t o r i c changes that have come to i t s human inhabitants i n connection with these things; and to i t s whole being from zenith to nadir, and from circumference to centre.^ Much of the disparagement of A Glastonbury Romance has been directed toward i t s structure and genre.  An examination of the novel as  a tone-poem exploring a v a r i e t y of responses to the Absolute should obv i a t e claims of inadequate structuring.  Indictments of A Glastonbury  Romance's f a i l u r e as a novel can also be refuted.  H. P. C o l l i n s writes  that " t h i s i s a great novel i f you seek out and accept what i t gives; i t i s but a q u a l i f i e d masterpiece i f you look for the rest of what makes novels."^  This i n i t s e l f i s not a very clear c r i t i c i s m of Powys's novel.  What C o l l i n s i s t r y i n g to convey, though, i s that A Glastonbury Romance does not s a t i s f y a l l the conditions that novels t r a d i t i o n a l l y  fulfill.  In Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m Northrop Frye provides a v i a b l e d e f i n i t i o n of the novel: The n o v e l i s t deals with personality, the characters wearing their personae or s o c i a l masks. He needs the framework of a stable society... The novel tends to be extroverted; i t s chief i n t e r e s t i s i n human character as i t manifests i t s e l f i n society. Admittedly, Powys i s very much concerned with the i n t e r a c t i o n of humans i n society.  The commune which Dave Spear, Paul Trent and Red Robinson  argue about and i n s t a l l  i n Glastonbury, the gatherings at Miss Drew's  3"The Creation of Romance" i n Modern Thinker (March, 1932), p. 75. 4  John Cowper Powys:  Old Earth Man,  p. 79.  ^Northrop Frye, Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m (N.J.:  Princeton Press, 1957), p; 305. v  44 and Mother Legge's and the Pageant which Geard inaugurated are undeniably n o v e l i s t i c scenes.  Furthermore, Powys relates that he has "the whole l i f e  of a community on my hands": with housewives, lawyers, doctors, chemists, innkeepers, procuresses, clergymen, servants, old-maids, beggars, madmen, children, poets, landowners, labourers, shop-keepers, an anarchist, dogs, cats, f i s h , and an airplane pilot...There are no less than s i x major love a f f a i r s , one murder, three b i r t h s , two deaths... 6  However, Powys's scope i s larger than that of the f a m i l i a r , everyday world.  He writes that "now  as I hover  found A Glastonbury Romance I can  see that i t i s not the work i n any sense of 'an observer of r e a l  life'".  7  Three dimensional r e a l l i f e i s only a small part of the novel; work, 'dead time', though pursued by P h i l i p Crow and Dave Spear, i s only s c a n t i l y explored i n i t .  Indeed, the f i r s t paragraph of this long novel emphatically  takes us out of the realm of the purely human. Crow i s f i r s t  Like Wolf Solent, John  seen at the end of a journey by t r a i n .  Whereas i n Wolf  Solent, we were i n the protagonist's consciousness and consequently circumscribed i n our point of view; i n A Glastonbury Romance, we share the view of an omniscient author.  Never has omniscience been invoked so l i t e r a l l y ,  the narrator has a cosmic view which allows him to r e l a t e the following: Something passed at that moment, a wave, a notion, a v i b r a t i o n , too tenuous to be c a l l e d magnetic, too subliminal to be c a l l e d s p i r i t u a l , between the soul of a p a r t i c u l a r human being who was emerging from a t h i r d - c l a s s carriage of the twelve-ninteen t r a i n from London and the d i v i n e - d i a b o l i c soul of the F i r s t Cause of a l l l i f e . (1.1). Thus, C o l l i n s ' c r i t i c i s m of A Glastonbury Romance i s unfair. not judging this work of a r t on i t s own grounds.  6  7  Modern Thinker  Collins i s  He measures i t accord-  (March, 1932), p. 76.  John Cowper Powys, 1955), p. x i .  "Preface" to A Glastonbury Romance (London, Macdonald,  45 ing  to a r b i t r a r y generic precepts; then he denigrates i t because of the  lack of those precepts.  He does not r e a l i z e that A Glastonbury Romance  i s more than (or, at least d i f f e r e n t from) a novel. parison can be made with Wuthering  A worthwhile com-  Heights which, V i r g i n i a Woolf recog-  nized, i s not a novel i n the s t r i c t sense i n which Frye has  empirically  defined that term: The gigantic ambition i s to be f e l t throughout the novel--a struggle h a l f thwarted but of superb convictions, to say something through the mouths of her characters which i s not merely "I love" or "I hate" but "we, the whole human race" and "you, the eternal powers"... 8  S i m i l a r i l y , Powys's concern transcends the interest generated by the s t r i c t l y human, by the various plots. Powys i s interested i n the e f f e c t of the G r a i l on those  who  are i n the locale i n which i t s force i s strongest: the G r a i l now that i t has been accepted as an impenetrable mystery, has found i t s way into that Elysium realm of what we can only c a l l the poetry of our race;...and indeed become a recognized 'resident a l i e n there, from the international sphere of universal metaphysical magic, i t has not only stained, dyed, impregnated the atmosphere of this p a r t i c u l a r spot but has associated i t s e l f with every d e t a i l of i t s l o c a l h i s t o r y . ' ^ 1  The G r a i l , Powys says, i s the heroine of A Glastonbury Romance.  It is  so insofar as i t i s the embodiment of the fourth dimension, of 'the super-lunary crack i n the cause-and-effect logic that two and two make four.'  Glastonbury i s an important actor i n the novel because i t has  been permeated with the mystery of the G r a i l for so long that i t i s esp e c i a l l y receptive to that holy object.  Likewise, the townspeople are  susceptible to an epiphany of the G r a i l .  J.R. Theobald, writing i n The  ^ V i r g i n i a Woolf, "Jane Eyre and Wuthering (London: Hogarth Press, 1925), p. 202.  Heights" i n The Common Reader  ^"Preface",  pp. x i - x i i .  46 Bookman i n 1932,  i s the most sympathetic and perceptive reviewer of A  Glastonbury Romance.  He i s aware that Powys t r i e d to e f f e c t "a constant  sense of the whole l i f e of Glastonbury i n progress, as d i s t i n c t from an a r b i t r a r i l y imagined plot of which the scene happens to be Glastonbury."  11  Granting that the book has a strong spatio-temporal sense and v i v i d personal and s o c i a l elements, he recognizes that Powys has a unique  struct-  uring p r i n c i p l e which transcends the l o v e - a f f a i r s and murder plots he has woven into the book.  Somewhat too e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y , Theobald ascribes  to A Glastonbury Romance a more tremendous design than to Ulysses. What i s t h i s p r i n c i p l e which caused Theobald such transport and which i s at the heart of this great book? a i r y web  Theobald asserts that "the  that holds to-gether a l l the realism and philosophy and  l o g i c a l subtlety of this book i s the romance."  11  psycho-  Powys himself c a l l s the  book a romance both i n the preface and i n the t i t l e and links i t to the Arthurian Legend by quoting from the Black Book of Carmarthen for h i s epigraph.  12  Although Theobald does not r e l a t e romance to A Glastonbury  Romance to the extent that a l l the facets of h i s t o r y and myth that Powys incorporates i n the novel are seen to be an organic part of that novel, he does r i g h t f u l l y contend that miracles and the supernatural are j u s t i f i a b l y a part of the book.  Theobald, i n c i p i e n t l y leading us towards a  d e f i n i t i o n of romance which w i l l reveal the unity and s t r u c t u r a l soundness of A Glastonbury Romance, writes that  u  October,  1932.  ^bid. o  The excerpt from The Black Book of Carmarthen foreshadows the theme of the reoccurence of societies which erect shrines such as Stonehenge and Maiden Castle. A tomb for Arthur would be f o o l i s h because he, or h i s values, w i l l i n some form reappear.  47  supervening over a l l human influences i s that of the primordial powers that haunt the immemorial t e r r a i n of Glastonbury.... Like a l l the great romances of the past, this one i s pervaded by unfathomable mysteries and i s , i n consequence, an exceedingly awe-inspiring book. From the moment when John Crow drinks the water from the Slaughtering Stone at Stonehenge u n t i l the c l o s i n g invocation to the towers of Cybele, we are never allowed to forget that we are 'moving about i n world h a l f r e a l i z ed'....It may be said that this peculiar seduction of the imagination i s the inmost secret of romance.13 In l i n k i n g A Glastonbury  Romance to the great romances of the past which  "have stood or f a l l e n by t h e i r a b i l i t y to create f a i t h i n miracles."!^ Theobald acknowledges that atmospherically i t succeeds as a romance. I t i s l e f t to Ernest Rhys i n a book e n t i t l e d Romance to evolve a d e f i n i t i o n of romance which i s similar to Powys's concept of the term as i t i s manifested  i n A Glastonbury  Romance.  In Rhys's book i s found a  theory which, i n i t s emphasis on the fourth dimension, the links with the past and the p o t e n t i a l for modern romancers, i s astonishingly close to Powys's p r a c t i s e .  In a d d i t i o n , Rhys's d i s q u i s i t i o n on romance uses  the Welsh romances as i t s frame of reference. reference as well.  They are Powys's frame of  Powys f e l t that the ancient Cymric tribes held the  key to l i v i n g i n the universe.  In Maiden Castle, Powys e x p l i c i t l y  links  this mystery of the ancient Welsh with the creative force of the great goddess Cybele.  In A Glastonbury  of Welsh mysticism.  Romance Owen Evans i s the repository  Both he and Megan Geard can trace their lineage to  the Rhys family; Evans feels that this associates them with Welsh royalty. For Ernest Rhys, the romancer i s the one who seeing beyond the lamp.  13  T h e Bookman, Oct.,  1 4  Ibid.  Unlike P h i l i p Crow, who  1932.  has the power of  does not see beyond the  48 e l e c t r i c f l a s h l i g h t and matches he uses to illuminate Woolcey Hole and  who  disregards the mystery of that subterranean complex, the romancer i s sens i t i v e to the 'other  l i f e , "the l i f e that i s everything or nothing ac1  cordingly as you estimate your world, and as you care about penetrating the sensual zone and finding the supersensual plane." "^ 1  More than this  Rhys's romancer i s conscious of the interpenetration of present and past. Rhys c i t e s the example of a b l i n d man  discoursing on the l i f e of a town.  He drew upon his memory, and through h i s personal vein of reminiscence, he associated the town events....So the town that had f i r s t grown up round a c a s t l e , and that had at l a s t substituted the nearest railways t a t i o n for that castle as the focus and connecting l i n k between i t s e l f and the outer world, had i n h i s c h r o n i c l i n g become matter of the ever l a s t i n g t r a d i t i o n . He related them, whether w i l l i n g l y or no, to that reserve of memory, emotion, and imagination that knits up the present with the past, and breaks through into the c i r c l e , which i s behind the apparently fast-sealed everyday r i n g of our l i v e s . 1 6  This i s e s e n t i a l l y what John Cowper Powys does i n A Glastonbury Romance. He relates the stories of the Crows and Geards and others who were a part of Glastonbury at this time to the town's past, imaginatively fusing  them so that they reveal what Rhys c a l l s a farther and larger re-  ality. That Glastonbury's past i s associated with Arthur, the G r a i l and Avalon only makes the potential for the interplay of past and present that much r i c h e r .  Although Arthurian scholars regard as specious  these a s s o c i a t i o n s , c i t i n g them as "a part of the fraud which the monks of  Glastonbury were then [ i n the late twelfth or early thirteenth cen-  turyj* engaged i n f o i s t i n g upon the w o r l d , "  1 5  E r n e s t Rhys, Romance (N.Y.:  1 6  Ibid.,  pp.  17  they are, for Powys, a part  E. P. Dutton, 1913), p. 8.  23-4.  17 J. D. Bruce, The Evolution of the Arthurian Romance (Mass.: 1958), p. 265.  P. Smith,  49 of the psychic r e a l i t y of the town.  The b e l i e f that people have had i n  these mysteries, no less than the authenticity of them, have kept them a l i v e , hovering about the concrete r e a l i t i e s , the cause-and-effect l o g i c of Glastonbury.  Most aware of the l i v i n g continuity of Glastonbury and,  consequently, most able to use the magical properties i t has stored up i s Johnny Geard.  Opening the Saxon Arch he oversaw the b u i l d i n g of,  Bloody Johnny, l i k e Rhys's b l i n d seer, c h i l d i s h l y relates the h i s t o r y of Glastonbury.  He t e l l s of the Lake V i l l a g e n e o l i t h i c race, the Ancient  Britons and the f a m i l i a r aspects of the G r a i l story.  He founds a new  r e l i g i o n using a l l the talismanic properties that Glastonbury has assimi l a t e d i n i t s r i c h history.  So, too, when he cures T i t t i e Petherton of  cancer he opens himself to the G r a i l Spring's psychic storehouse. The truth i s that t h i s chalybeate fountain on this p a r t i c u l a r h i l l s i d e had been the scene of such a continuous series of mystic r i t e s , going back to the n e o l i t h i c men of the Lake V i l l a g e , i f not to the s t i l l more mysterious race that preceded them, that there had come to hang about i t a thick aura of magical vibrations. (23.738). Attuned to these v i b r a t i o n s , Geard projects them onto the normal plane of r e a l i t y .  In other words, he a s s i s t s a t , or i s a medium f o r , the  penetration of the temporal by the eternal. What Mr. Geard kept h i s mind steadily upon, a l l this while, was that crack, that cranny, that s l i p in.Time through which the Timeless-known i n these parts for five thousand years as a cauldron, a horn, a krater, a mwys, a w e l l , a kernos, a p l a t t e r , a cup and even a nameless s t o n e had broken the laws of Nature.' (23.738) Geard's r o l e i n A Glastonbury Romance, which w i l l be taken up l a t e r i n more d e t a i l , i s only one example of the interdependence of purpose and structure i n the novel.  Most s e n s i t i v e to the supernatural,  Geard's reaction to i t i s not the only one Powys explores. consuming focus of the novel.  Nor i s i t the  A l l the characters, i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n to  the G r a i l , contribute to the syncretic wholeness of A Glastonbury Romance.  50  Powys i s a modern romancer who those sensitive to the fourth dimension.  i s ultimately on the side of The novel begs the r h e t o r i c a l  question that Lady Rachel passionately asks Ned A t h l i n g : i f i t i s n ' t something  "What's Poetry  that has to fight for the unseen against the seen,  for the dead against the l i v i n g , for the mysterious against the obvious? I t fights for the... for the. .. for the Impossible.'"  (17.549).  Indeed,  the f i n a l pages of the novel contain a paean to Cybele, 'whose forehead i s crowned with the Turrets of the Impossible.' who  I t i s a hymn to those  created at Stonehenge and at Glastonbury shrines which became reposi-  t o r i e s of the mystery of l i f e , of the 'Unknown Dimension.  1  Though the  cults around these places are eventually destroyed, the impulse which gave r i s e to them i s imperishable.  Cybele, the ancient Tower-Bearer,  cannot be t o t a l l y eradicated by the powers of science and reason: evermore she r i s e s again, moving from the mists of dawn to the mists of t w i - l i g h t , passing through the noon-day l i k e the shadow of an ecl i p s e and through the mid-night l i k e an unblown trumpet, u n t i l she finds the land that has c a l l e d her and the people whose heart she alone can f i l l . . . . Those "topless towers" of hers are the b i r t h - c r i e s of occult generation, raised up i n defiance of Matter , i n defiance of Fate, and i n defiance of cruel knowledge and despairing wisdom. (30.1173-1174). Here, Powys asserts the endurability and u n i v e r s a l i t y of romance.  He  focuses on the G r a i l because i t i s a fragment of the Absolute, part of the 'Timeless'.  And anyone a l i v e to-day who  does not, l i k e P h i l i p Crow  did, w i l f u l l y r e j e c t the 'beyond', i s as susceptible to the intersect i o n of the Timeless and Time as was medieval man.  Rhys writes that  I t may even be said that to-day we have widened the avenues of the imagi n a t i o n , instead of closing them as many people suppose; for we have l e arnt to find i n the new areas, and i n the more intimate regions of psychology, s p i r i t u a l : . adventures which are more r e a l than anything t o l d i n the romances of c h i v a l r y . * 10  18 Romance, pp. 49-50.  51  Modern c i v i l i z a t i o n has, however, brought with i t the danger that  "through  the glut of the c i t i e s and the m u l t i p l i c a t i o n of petty and unrelated experiences, we have s p o i l t the innocence of our eyes and m i n d s . T h a t are more P h i l i p Crows now  than there ever were i s undeniable.  Wolf Solent  and Dud No-man do not succumb to the A p p a r i t i o n of Modern Invention. does John Cowper Powys ever lose sight of the occult. inanimate and the intangible with a r e l i g i o u s awe, h i s streak of scepticism.  there  Nor  He responded to the  sometimes tempered by  For him the universe i s not something  to be de-  mythologized and turned into an abstraction; i t i s not a great machine. Out of h i s r e f u s a l to reduce experience solely to what can be measured or r a t i o n a l l y proved came A Glastonbury Romance.  Powys's tendency, i f we ac-  cept the d e f i n i t i o n of Novalis, i s to romanticize:  "By giving the common  a noble meaning, the ordinary a mysterious aspect, the known the dignity of the unknown, the f i n i t e the appearance of the i n f i n i t e - - I romanticize."  2  Thematically r e l a t e d to Four Quartets i n i t s exploration of the a r t i c u l a t i o n of the response to those exquisite moments which are redolent of i n f i n i t y , A Glastonbury Romance combines the multiple perspectives of The Ring and the Book and the i n t e l l e c t u a l l y r i c i s m of Four Quartets, i t self.  In addition, Powys's novel closes on a heightened l y r i c a l cry, es-  pousing the romantic way,  the turrets of the Impossible.  The Four Quartets provides an i n s t r u c t i v e comparison with A Glastonbury Romance.  I t explores, through the persona of the speaker, var-  ious stances with respect to the mystical experience i n the rose-garden.  1 9  Ibid.,  20  p. 51.  52  For the speaker "The hint h a l f guessed, the h i n t h a l f understood, i s In71  carnation," made man  the orthodox Incarnation, i n which Christ (timeless) i s  (time).  E l i o t ' s impulse i n Four Quartets, though not d i d a c t i c ,  i s to unify our mystical and r e l i g i o u s experiences:  a t r a n s l a t i o n of the  epigraph to "Burnt Norton" reads, "Although the Word (Logos) i s common, yet most men  l i v e as i f they had a private insight of t h e i r own."  The  ultimate focal point of Powys's mysticism-in A Glastonbury Romance i s much more imprecise.  Powys rhapsodically pleads only for the awareness  of the fourth dimension.  Bloody Johnny's new  r e l i g i o n i s not by any means  a d e f i n i t i v e r e l i g i o n ; i t i s only a modern embodiment of the awareness of the cults around Stonehenge and early Glastonbury.  What he advocates that  the i n d i v i d u a l do i s contained i n h i s speech at the opening of h i s Saxon Arch: I t matters not at a l l from what cups, or from what goblets we drink so long as without being c r u e l , we drink up L i f e . The sole meaning, purpose, i n t e n t i o n , and secret of C h r i s t , my dears, i s not to understand L i f e , or mould i t , or change i t , or even to love i t , but to drink of i t s undying essence.' (30.1137). In imaginative contemplation, one drinks of L i f e ' s undying L i t t l e Gidding i s very much l i k e Glastonbury.  essence.  No less than  Glastonbury, i t i s a holy place and can divulge meaning on a plane which transcends the sensual: I f you came this way, . . . I t would always be the same: you would have Sense and notion. You are not here to v e r i f y , to put o f f Instruct yourself, or inform c u r i o s i t y Or carry report. You are here to kneel Where prayer has been v a l i d . And prayer i s more Than an order of words, the conscious occupation Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.  2 1  T.  S. E l i o t ,  Collected Poems 1906-1962, p.  213.  53  And what the dead had no speech f o r , when l i v i n g , They can t e l l you, being dead: the communication Of the dead i s tongued with f i r e beyond the language of Here, the i n t e r s e c t i o n of the timeless moment /the l i v i n g . Is England and nowhere. Published  ten or so years before  closes with the following l i n e s : r i s i n g , forever vanishing.  Never and always  (p. 215).  " L i t t l e Gidding", A Glastonbury Romance "Thus she abides; her Towers forever  Never or Always."  (30.1174).  Both writers  celebrate the immanence of the Absolute for those who permit themselves to receive i t s emanations.  Everpresent, i t nonetheless i s only momen-  t a r i l y incarnate i n i n d i v i d u a l s and s o c i e t i e s . i s conquered".  22  "Only through time, time  To those who deny i t s existence, however, i t remains  forever unexpressed. That the true r e a l i t y transcends tangible objects and outward action and that truths other than empirical truths are being offered i n A Glastonbury Romance, Powys reveals i n yet another way.  Powys would echo  the claim of Browning's subtle Don Juan i n F i f i n e at the F a i r that "The h i s t r i o n i c truth i s i n the natural l i e . "  2 3  Indeed, one of the c l o s i n g  passages c l o s e l y p a r a l l e l s this line--"For She whom the ancients named Cybele i s i n r e a l i t y that b e a u t i f u l and t e r r i b l e Force by which the Lies of great creative Nature give b i r t h to Truth that i s to be."  (1174).  There i s no objective t r u t h ; consequently, the a r t i s t i s not A r i s t o t e l i a n . He does not hold up a mirror to l i f e or r e f l e c t the ideal which i n c i p i e n t l y resides i n nature.  He i s creator, a Cybele-figure, who provides  the i d e a l pattern which the ' r e a l ' world can only imperfectly emulate.  z z  C o l l e c t e d Poems:  23  S t a n z a 85.  1909-1962,  p. 192.  54 Johnny Geard and Powys, himself, are magicians who possess Cybele's ity  abil-  to reveal truths which nature does not contain, which escape a l l those  who do not penetrate to the super-sensual plane. Glastonbury Romance i s not the work i n any sense  When Powys wrote that A 'of an observer of r e a l  l i f e , ' he meant that one does not find truth i n quotidian events.  Before  Geard performs h i s C h r i s t - l i k e miracle of r e s u s c i t a t i n g a dead c h i l d , he shouts: "Any l i e . . . I t e l l you, any l i e as long as a multitude of souls believes i t and presses that b e l i e f to the cracking point, creates new l i f e , while the slavery of what i s c a l l e d truth drags us down to death and to the dead.' L i e s , magic, i l l u s i o n — t h e s e are names we give to the r i p p l e s on water of our experience when the S p i r i t of L i f e blows upon i t . I have myself...I have myself cured a woman of cancer i n that spring....Miracles are l i e s ; and yet they are happening. Immortality i s a l i e ; and yet we are a t t a i n i n g i t . Christ i s a l i e ; and yet I am l i v i n g i n him. I t . . . is...given...unto...me...to t e l l you that i f any man brought a dead body before me...in the power of what you people c a l l a ' l i e ' I would even now, here and before you a l l , restore that dead one to l i f e . ' " (27.931-932).  55  II The Town and People as  Characters  In the f i r s t part of this chapter I have attempted to c l a r i f y what kind of work Powys wrote and how  i t i s structured on a grand scale  as a romance.  The characters are r e l a t e d only insofar as they are part  of Glastonbury  and as they respond to the town's ethereal p o t e n t i a l .  Powys himself writes that "this tale i s so p r o l i f i c i n plots and denouements that the outcome, l i k e that of l i f e i t s e l f , w i l l appear i n d i f f e r ent forms to d i f f e r e n t readers."  That i s , the various plots that are  b u i l t around the Dekkers and the Crows and the Geards are resolved (or not resolved) i n an unintegrated fashion.  They are i n t e r e s t i n g stories  that occur i n the same town at the same time. i s Glastonbury  Yet, because Powys's focus  and the s p i r i t u a l force the town embodies, these  s t o r i e s , part of Glastonbury  separate  and a prey to the s p i r i t u a l force, are es-  s e n t i a l to the novel's vast theme. In the foregoing section, I also t r i e d to elaborate on the romantic v i s i o n which i s immersed i n the novel.  In A Glastonbury Romance  Powys has written a romance that extols the romancer's way One  i n two voices.  i s that of the author himself, the other that of Johnny Geard.  One  i s , as i t were, outside commentary; the other i s an amalgam of inner voice and events, the events being those v i s i o n s and miracles which profoundly shake the l i v e s of those characters who I should now  l i k e to examine those characters whom Powys places  i n and around Glastonbury. actor of the novel.  experience or believe i n them.  The town i n i t s e l f , of course, i s the chief  Powys's scope and angle of v i s i o n are far greater  56  here than i n Wolf Solent where the action was centered i n and d i s t i l l e d through Wolf's consciousness.  In.A Glastonbury Romance Powys e f f e c t s a  t o t a l view which embraces l i t e r a l l y everything that a f f e c t s and compro6  mises Glastonbury.  Cosmic, human and inanimate forces are a l l perceived  and r e l a t e d by the author as being part of that town.  Powys makes a con-  stant e f f o r t to keep the whole v i s t a before the reader who i s never  left  alone with the characters i n the novel, and i s made to share Powys's overview.  The following description, f o r example, incorporates i n the scene  the F i r s t Cause and a minute parasite as well as Mr. Evans. Thus i t was fated for this p a r t i c u l a r turnip heap i n Edmund H i l l Land, halfway between Old Wells Road and the B r i c k - t i l e Works to be the occasion of the bringing together, at exactly three minutes to nine o'clock on the night of the twelfth of December, of three identi c a l psychic aberrations, that of the i n f i n i t e s i m a l , microscopic para s i t e , that of Mr. Owen Evans, and that of the ultimate F i r s t Cause. (25.849). To become so engrossed i n the separate p l o t s , the love a f f a i r s , intrigues and spectacles, that you lose the overview and reject the novel as d i f f u s e i s to thwart the intention of Powys and misplace the emphasis of A Glastonbury Romance.  The incident i n which the ash tree eavesdrops  on John and Mary's t r y s t i s somewhat ludicrous i n i t s e l f - - " A l l this the ash tree noted; but i t s vegetative comment thereon would only have sounded i n human ears l i k e the gibberish: wuther-quotle-glug"  (2.74);  how-  ever, i t i s one of the many devices Powys uses to take the attention of the reader away from the s t r i c t l y human.  Indeed, humans appear diminu-  t i v e i n the novel, dwarfed by the constant presence of the ether, the sun and even the F i r s t Cause.  For example, the f i r s t sentence of the novel  d i r e c t s the reader's attention not only to John Crow but also to the F i r s t  57 Cause.  Consequently, one must step back from John Crow and see him as  one of the many persons who often effects  activate the soul of the F i r s t Cause.  Powys  this diminution by considering only the non-human aspects  of a s i t u a t i o n .  In the chapter, "Nature Seems Dead", "one of the great  turning points i n the l i f e of Glastonbury" i s reached somewhere outside of the plane of existence on which John Crow, P h i l i p Crow and a l l the others whom Powys alludes to i n this chapter are to be found. hate or G r a i l - l o v e  The G r a i l -  which these characters s p i r i t u a l l y project keeps a l i v e  "the psychic war that was  going on above the three h i l l s of Glastonbury"  (24.781)--in that war those who hate the G r a i l attempt to k i l l i t .  Though  the contest i s an interminable one, the G r a i l , a fragment of the Absolute, "that fragment of Beyond-Time f a l l e n through a crack i n the worldc e i l i n g upon the Time-Floor"  (24.789), i s imperishable.  This c r u c i a l •  night, however, the G r a i l force wins an etherealvictory: The sturdy northeastern i n v a d e r s — t h e ancestors of P h i l i p and John--beat back more than Mr. Evans' people when they swept the Celts into South Wales. ... along with Mr. Evans' people, and t h e i r dark chthonian gods, these healthy-minded invaders had driven back the very dreams of these Cymric and Brythonic t r i b e s . ....on t h i s night of a l l nights, this night of the tenth of December, a date that always, every year...was a s i g n i f i c a n t date for Glastonbury, what r e a l l y came back upon this t e r r i f i c wind, blowing up out of the western sea and the western i s l e s , were the dreams of the conquered, those disordered, extravagant law-breaking dreams, out of which the Shrines of Glastonbury had o r i g i n a l l y been b u i l t . (24.788789). Powys's angle of v i s i o n , then, by de-emphasizing  a s t r i c t l y human view of  the world i s i n harmony with the theme of A Glastonbury Romance.  As d i f -  f i c u l t to accept as the supernatural machinery may be, i t i s , nonetheless, an i n t e g r a l part of what, for Powys, i s Glastonbury.  58  One who has an overview i n the novel i t s e l f i s John Crow. Though not endowed with Powys's cosmic omniscience, he i s one of those "who  are able to s l i p out of their skins and share t h i s super-mundane  observation of themselves" character who  (20.647).  John Crow i s a curiously  plays a unique role i n A Glastonbury Romance.  full  In some sen-  ses a s c e p t i c a l observer and manipulator of what goes on i n Glastonbury, he can never f u l l y convince himself that Geard i s wholly a charlatan. Able to detach himself and disclaiming any e f f e c t that Glastonbury might have had on him, he does, nonetheless, have a v i s i o n of Arthur's sword being hurled into the water from Pomparles Bridge. Through John Crow, A Glastonbury Romance begins with the journey motif.  John' arrives  i n Glastonbury, as Wolf Solent does i n Dorset,  unaware of the impact this new  locale w i l l have on him.  Whereas i n Wolf  Solent the focus i s only on Wolf, i n A Glastonbury Romance i t i s on many of Glastonbury's town folk.  In addition, as spectator and observer, John  Crow has the detachment to look down from above the surface of the aquarium; he has an overview.  Wolf, detrimentally to h i s inner l i f e , does not  have t h i s detachment during the course of Wolf Solent. i d e n t i t y i s shattered, John's remains i n t a c t :  Thus, whereas Wolf's  "'I am a hard, round, glass  b a l l , that i s the mirror of everything, but that has a secret landscape of i t s own i n the centre of i t ' " .  (13.381).  He i s much less impervious to  the 'cause of the unseen' than he c y n i c a l l y l e t s on.  However, he does not,  as Wolf does, see himself at the centre of a l l the cosmic emanations of good and e v i l . Like the redeemed Wolf, John l i v e s simply or, rather, simply  59  l i v e s i n the universe.  He cannot understand  t a l k of l i f e having a purpose.  "'what people mean when they  L i f e to me i s simply the experience of  l i v i n g things; and most things I meet seem to me to be l i v i n g things'" (3. 93).  He l i v e s somewhat s e l f i s h l y for h i s sensations l i k e the ichthyosaurus-  egos of Wolf Solent and Maiden Castle do. John Crow, though he does not give himself up to prolonged ecstatic  contemplation, i s very much the ichthyosaurus-ego  the stones of Stonehenge.  i n h i s worship of  Powys writes of Stonehenge:  Perhaps here-and here alone on the whole surface of the earth-could the lonely s p i r i t I am concerned with, could t h i s ichthyosaurus-ego praise and curse, i n mysterious, rhythmic consentaneousness, the double-natured F i r s t Cause of i t s being.' Here, and here alone, could i t gather i t s whole nature together, a s p i r a l waterspout of e c s t a t i c contrareity, and w i l l to forget the e v i l i n i t s Creator, while i t weeps i n gratitude for i t s l i f e . 24 "'I  can defy i t [the whole universe), and get what I want out of i t too.'"'  says John Crow a l l y i n g himself with the s p i r i t s of Stonehenge:  he curses  the F i r s t Cause for the misery of the world and f u l f i l l s himself with h i s wife Mary. What c o n f l i c t there i s i n him i s i n the ambivalence of h i s f e e l ing  toward the G r a i l and the r e s i d u a l Glastonbury magic.  Uncommitted to  Glastonbury, finding h i s gods and h i s woman outside of i t s t e r r i t o r y , Crow, nonetheless, i s too sensitive to 'the beyond' to leave the town without some h i n t of i t s magic.  His v i s i o n of King Arthur's sword, though he re-  gards i t as a sign from the supernatural, does not p r e c i p i t a t e i n him wholehearted espousal of Geard's new  religion.  mindedness and devotion of Nancy S t i c k l e s .  In Defence of Sensuality,  p.  265.  Crow never acquires the singleNonetheless, he perseveres, not  60  wholly h y p o c r i t i c a l l y , i n carrying out Geard's mystical and f e t i s h i s t i c spectaculars.  John's doubt-faith conundrum i s not solved by the myster-  ies of Glastonbury.  Having seen Arthur's sword and Geard's miracles, he  s t i l l cannot commit himself wholly to the mysterious.  His repressed  Grail-hate surfaces twice while he i s employed by Geard:  once, i n a  sleep-projection of destructive e i d o l a , and l a t e r , i n a frenzied f i t of denial at the opening of the Saxon Arch.  Yet, when Geard t e l l s John of  h i s approaching suicide, John had to struggle by the use of the most cynical considerations from h i s heathen Stoneworshipping nature, to cover up the primordial ice-crack, the g l a c i e r crevasse among h i s s u n l i t earth-rocks, which the problem of Mr. Geard perhaps quite erroneously-had uncovered before h i s pessimistic imagination. (29.1091). John and Mary (she embodies, as H. P. C o l l i n s points out, John's feminine s e l f ) almost see the G r a i l a number of times.  Having rejected  the magical properties of Glastonbury before she met John, she becomes more sensitive to them; however, l i k e John she claims that her true home i s i n Norfolk.  When they return there, they take with them the corpse  not only of Tom Barter but also "of t h e i r s t i l l b o r n never-returning opportunity of touching the Eternal i n the enchanted s o i l where the Eternal once sank down into time.'"  (29.1113).  They had come close to the Eter-  nal when, before being permitted to l i v e to-gether, t h e i r u n s a t i s f i e d desire, which i s the strongest psychic force i n the world,"was so caught up and so heightened by the f r u s t r a t e d desires of two thousand years, which i n that v a l l e y had pulsed and jetted and spouted, that i t did a c t u a l l y draw near to that Secret Thing."  (4.113).  There are those, however, who shut themselves o f f completely from the power that i s Glastonbury's.  The communists, Dave Spear and Red Robin-  61  son, and the anarchist, Paul Trent, ignore that power so busy are they with e f f e c t i n g p o l i t i c a l , s o c i a l and economic reform.  They are s l i g h t l y wooden  figures because i n t h e i r r e f u s a l to recogn'ize the legitimacy of the G r a i l and what i t symbolizes  they are meant, by Powys, to be caricatures. By ut-  t e r i n g s o l e l y d o c t r i n a l statements,  they demean and o s s i f y themselves.  The  revolutionaries see Glastonbury, not as a sacred repository of intimations of immortality, but as Anytown which could be communized.  I r o n i c a l l y , they  i n s t a l l a s o c i a l i s t factory which manufactures r e l i g i o u s icons.  Powys i n -  dicates by the d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n of the working class with the triumvirate that the s u b s t i t u t i o n of communism for capitalism merely s h i f t s the balance of economic power; i t i n no way s a t i s f i e s the desire for r e a l l i f e which i s on a plane transcending the material.  Although Trent, Spear and Robinson  regard him as a figure-head mayor, Geard, the p l a c i d v i s i o n a r y , sees Glastonbury restored to i t s condition as the I s l e of Glastonbury--Avallon. P h i l i p Crow, too, r e j e c t s the sacred claims of the town. His v i s i o n of the universe being what i t i s , he i s a much more dangerous adversary to the s p i r i t of Glastonbury  than the revolutionaries.  Although  Powys  admires P h i l i p ' s d r i v e , just as he does that of Dog Cattistock, the capita l i s t of Weymouth Sands, he d i s l i k e s P h i l i p ' s w i l f u l blindness to the supernatural.  Everything P h i l i p does i s a n t i t h e t i c a l to animism and mystery.  A f t e r a f l i g h t i n h i s a i r p l a n e , he muses: I t had a l l passed only too quickly.' I t seemed only just a minute ago that he had scrambled into h i s seat on the back of this shining torpedo with dragon-fly wings. But what thoughts, what sensations.' His brain whirled with the v i s i o n of an e a r t h - l i f e dominated absolutely by Science, of a human race that had shaken o f f i t s f e a r f u l childhood and looked at things with a c l e a r , unfilmed, unperverted eye. He said to himself, as he walked out of the f i e l d with Barter...that this conquest of a i r had reduced those Glastonbury Ruins to nothing. (8.226).  62  P h i l i p does not carry a s t i c k , he i s not close to nature, and i s i n f a c t , i s interested only i n e x p l o i t i n g i t .  He i s very much l i k e Gerald Crich  of Women i n Love, desiring only to conquer the land and harness i t s po-:" wer.  Thinking of Glastonbury  as "this effeminate flower-garden  pretty superstitions and mediaeval abracadabra."  1  of pretty-  (8.225), he seeks to mod-  ernize i t , to "plant factory upon factory i n i t , dynamo upon dynamo.'  He  would have, mines beneath i t , railways across i t , a i r l i n e s above i t . ' "  (8.  225).  Though he exhibits a great deal of willpower i n wanting to begin  over again a f t e r h i s bridge i s washed away, and h i s factory i s flooded, he has a malignant  will.  Foregoing i t s use s o l e l y as an agent to "forget and  enjoy" as Wolf and John Crow do, P h i l i p uses h i s w i l l to impose h i s v i s i o n on h i s wife and lover, employees and  townsfolk:  'in the bowels of the Mendips, ' h i s w i l d feelings ran, 'my_ girl...my_ pleasure... I, I , I,. . .taking my pleasure...conquering this land underneath the earth...as I conquer i t i n the a i r . . . I , I , I, stamping my w i l l on l i f e . . . on woman...on...on...on...the Future.' (8.238). The weak-chinned Sam Dekker, with none of the assertiveness of P h i l i p Crow, i s the only important  character whose l i f e - v i s i o n undergoes  change during the course of the novel.  Sam,  who,  Red Robinson declares,  has the look of a saint, passionately and confusedly loves N e l l u n t i l he gives i n to the saint-ego i n him and rejects her.  Zoyland  His sight of  the G r a i l , however, causes him to reassess himself; this r e s u l t s i n h i s r e - , j e c t i o n of the saint-ego for the happiness which he r e a l i z e s he should not have denied himself. Long before h i s v i s i o n of the G r a i l , Sam believes i n the i n t e r section of the eternal with the temporal; however, mysticism  for him i s  not personal but rather u n i v e r s a l , without any direct r e l a t i o n to Glastonbury or, indeed, himself:  \  63  ' i t ' s the Incarnation that transforms Nature. I t has been done once. Nothing can reverse i t . Something has come into i t from outside; from that Outside you t a l k about. But I t ' s i n i t now.' You can't get r i d of i t . . . . Something has taken up Matter into I t s e l f . Two and two can now make five.' It's the Thing Outside breaking into our closed c i r c l e . And every atom of Matter feels i t . Matter i s no longer separate from S p i r i t . I t has become the l i v i n g f l e s h of S p i r i t . Verbum caro factum est.' (9.265). 1  Nonetheless, Sam i s not so burdened with p r i n c i p l e s or doctrines that he i s unable to give himself to N e l l and to f e e l the pantheistic responsiveness of nature.  Though the i n c i p i e n t seeds of sainthood cause him to think  of himself as a lover and a s a i n t , Sam and N e l l consummate t h e i r love f u l l y . As the weeks go by, the impulse to sainthood becomes stronger and stronger i n Sam.  The ethereal presence of C h r i s t , or rather, "the tormented body  of h i s Redeemer. Himself,"  (14.398) obsesses him more and more u n t i l i t  suffuses h i s v i s i o n and masters him.  He hardens himself to N e l l , rebuffs  her i n order to f u l f i l l himself i n the image of Christ. His soul seemed to be saying to h i s natural senses and h i s natural w i l l : "You must go through t h i s because Christ went through i t . I care not how you s u f f e r ; so long as you go on, day by day doing His w i l l and not your own.'" (17.558). Oblivious to a l l but the poverty and s u f f e r i n g which he, the saint, wants to a l l e v i a t e , he paradoxically becomes i n s e n s i t i v e to those closest to him. As Holy Sam,  he performs good deeds, befriending the friendless and admin-  i s t e r i n g to the sick.  When he i s deepest into h i s saint phase though, he  i s furthest away from the spontaneous  acceptance and apprehension of l i f e .  I t ' s a l l poison. I t ' s a l l one g l i t t e r i n g , shining, seething tide of poisonous selfishness." We are a l l scales, scurf, scab, on the same twisting cresting dragon of the time. The tide of l i f e i t s e l f i s e v i l . That's the great secret of Christ. And what he's aiming at now--the tortured A n t i God that he i s - - i s the freezing up of the life-stream.' (25.856). Sam cannot dam the l i f e - f o r c e i n him forever; because he has repressed i t , i t labours towards i t s own release. In the G r a i l scene, Sam i s f i r s t red by the external world, just as he was at Whitelake Cottage;  stir-  64 something i n the atomic nature of the inorganic substance of these things must have answered to an i n a r t i c u l a t e craving of Sam's, u n t i l Matter i t s e l f , the old obstinate Protean mystery, moved and s t i r r e d to meet him. He could a c t u a l l y f e e l a magnetic power pouring forth into his fingers from this post against which he leaned. (28.979). Slowly his area of consciousness widens.  It dawns on him that h i s surplus  of p i t y was wrong, that "there must be a l i m i t to p i t y or the life-stream would stop....The f i r s t motive of every l i v i n g creature must be to r e a l i z e i t s own i d e n t i t y . " of  (28.980).  Recognizing the symbolism  the f i s h i n the Dekker's aquarium, and the consequent  i n the strangulation danger to h i s  own l i f e urges, Same becomes aware of the aliveness and fecundity of nature. His  body and soul come together.  "Although his soul s t i l l f e l t  independent  of h i s body, and free of his body, i t no longer f e l t contemptuous of h i s body.  I t had ceased to utter i t s mandates i n the tone of a slavedriver."  (28.998).  Sam's epiphany, h i s v i s i o n of the G r a i l , however, cannot  t o t a l l y transform him.  Though the appearance  of the G r a i l , i t s e l f ,  reveals  to Sam the presence of the eternal i n the temporal, he has already been sure that this was the case.  In h i s attempt to formulate a credo around  the G r a i l , Sam i s only frustrated.  For Powys, the Grail's' message i s  that no one Receptacle of L i f e and no one Fountain of L i f e poured into that Receptacle can contain or explain what the world offers us....the symbolism of the G r a i l represents a lapping up of one perfect drop of noonday happiness as Nietzsche i n h i s poignant words would say, or as Nature h e r s e l f , according to the hint given us by Goethe, whispers to us i n more voices than at present we are able to hear, or to understand when we do hear. -* 2  Thus, Sam's attempt to i n t e l l e c t u a l i z e the G r a i l v i s i o n i s rebuffed by everyone he t r i e s to convince, even the simplest of the townsfolk.  His mystical  experience does abolish his scruples about making love to N e l l ; however,  25 Preface,  p.  xm.  65 he i s only i n c i p i e n t l y l i b e r a t e d from the malaise which Johnny Geard does not succumb to: Sam i n h i s passion for the c r u c i f i e d , opposed himself to the F i r s t Cause, as Something so e v i l i n I t ' s cruelty that a man ought to r e s i s t I t , curse I t , defy I t , and have no dealings with I t . Thus i n h i s loathing of the e v i l inGod, Sam, the Saint, refused to make any use of the beneficence i n God; and this r e f u s a l was constantly handicapping him i n h i s present " a l l or-nothing" existence. (23.739). Bloody Johnny, aware of 'the Beyond', can harness i t s power, can, with an act of the w i l l , bring the timeless into the temporal and perform miracles.  Geard plays an i n s i g n i f i c a n t part on the early chapters of A  Glastonbury Romance.  Content to l e t John Crow organize the Pageant and op-  ening of the Saxon Arch, Geard l i v e s that p e c u l i a r l y unpurposeful existence which causes those s c e p t i c a l of h i s powers to regard him as a charlatan. He i s p l a c i d l y confident of h i s a b i l i t y to u t i l i z e charged atmosphere, stating that "There are only about h a l f a dozen reservoirs on the Whole surface of the globe...and of these Glastonbury has the largest residue of unused power."  (10.291).  Geard's unkempt appearance, ambling gait and naive de-  l i g h t i n h i s wife and other women divulge h i s unconcern with protocol and formality.  Devoid of dogma and doctrine, he responds  simply and wholly to  l i f e ; he partakes of i t the way he does h i s h e r e t i c a l Easter mass--on h i s knees i n the garden, he "began with a sort of ravenous  greed, tearing open  the loaf and gobbling great lumps of crumb from the centre of i t .  These  mouthfuls he washed down with repeated gulps of wine."  Unso-  (15.422).  p h i s t i c a t e d and impractical, he only l i v e s to r e a l i z e and actualize the magic of the G r a i l , "a l i t t l e nucleus of E t e r n i t y , dropped somehow from the outer spaces upon one p a r t i c u l a r spot."  (15.473).  Whereas Sam Dekker imitates C h r i s t , Geard imitates Merlin.  He  66  refuses to allow M e r l i n to be acted i n h i s pageant, 'creates' the new, r e l i g i o u s town of Glastonbury  and, l a s t l y , dies into 'esplumeoir',  erious death greater than l i f e .  Geard's deeds are metaphorically a cele-  bration of the powers of the human soul. l i z e his l i f e v i s i o n .  the myst-  Geard i s not one to i n s t i t u t i o n a -  T i r e d of the d e f i n i t i o n s he has to formulate as head  of a new c u l t , he seeks personal f u l f i l l m e n t i n , or rather, through death. Granted the ultimate v i s i o n of the G r a i l i n i t s f i n a l shape, Geard dies. Owen Evans, though s p i r i t u a l l y receptive to and i n t e l l e c t u a l l y aware of the G r a i l , refuses to see i t .  He knows that Glastonbury  i s sacred;  he i s passionately cognizant of the ideals of i t s early dwellers: they sought f o r the knot of the opposites...for the copulation-cry of the Yes and No, f o r the amalgam of the Is and Is Not.' What they sought. ..what the Fisher Kings of my people sought, and no other p r i e s t s of no other race have ever sought it...was not only the cauldron and the Spear...but that which exists i n the moment of timeless time when these two are one.' (23. 772). Yet Owen w i l f u l l y denies this v i s i o n for himself, so consumed i s he with his  unpardonable s i n .  The desire i n him to experience, v i c a r i o u s l y or not,  the k i l l i n g of a man with an iron bar i s so strong that he i s unredeemable. Though he t r i e s to exorcise this demon by playing the part of the c r u c i f i e d Christ i n the Pageant, the s a d i s t i c worm i s s t i l l e d only when he sees the bloodied s k u l l of Tom Barter and the i r o n bar beside i t .  The obsession  which precludes Owen's immersion i n G r a i l love i s beyond his control. i s an u n w i l l i n g , v o y e u r i s t i c sadist.  He  "Such abominable wickedness came s t -  raight out of the e v i l i n the heart of the F i r s t Cause, t r a v e l l e d through the interlunar spaces, and entered the p a r t i c u l a r nerve i n the e r o t i c organism of Mr. Evans which was predestined to respond to i t . " Evans does not v o l u n t a r i l y give himself up to the contemplation  (9.254-255). of c r u e l t y ;  67  however, he i s one of those whom the F i r s t Cause has c a p r i c i o u s l y made to howl and to eat dung.  E x h i b i t i n g Hardian determinism, Powys, i n In Defence  of Sensuality, can sympathize with the sufferers at the hand of chance. Nonetheless, he dictates that who was made to suffer.  we f e e l gratitude that i t was someone else  Mr. Evans, then, i s one of those whose misery  makes possible the happiness of John and Mary Crow and Johnny Geard. The presence of a l l those facets of h i s l i f e - i l l u s i o n which Powys f e l t were dominant when he wrote Autobiography are  ( c . f . "Introduction", p.  present as characters i n A Glastonbury Romance.  8.)  John Crow the ichthy-  osaurus-ego, Johnny Geard the magician, Sam Dekker the saint and Owen Evans the sadist l i v e i n a place charged with the s p i r i t u a l force of the G a i l . Each, according to h i s own nature, responds to this force which i s the point of reference for everyone i n this large novel.  Glastonbury Tor, Wirral H i l l  and Chalice H i l l s t a b i l i z e the structure of this novel.  They are the repos-  i t o r i e s of myth and h i s t o r y which Bloody Johnny does not relegate to a crustacean past.  Whereas Stonehenge i s John Crow's concretization of Cybele's  Turrets of the Impossible, the three Glastonbury h i l l s are the apotheosis of Bloody Johnny's occultism. are  I t i s on Glastonbury Tor that Geard's eyes  transfixed while the drowning man  sees the G r a i l .  I t i s Glastonbury  Tor that we f i r s t see when John Crow and Evans ride towards Glastonbury. Rich i n h i s t o r y , that h i l l was  the scene of Michael's defeat of Gwyn-ap-Nud,  the Welsh Fairy-Demon, god of death and darkness.  I t also was the place on  which Abbot Whiting and Tom Barter were murdered. S i m i l a r i l y , Chalice H i l l i s f u l l of a past which what occurs on i t i n the present.  foreshadows  The enchanted castle of Carbonek, where  the G r a i l was kept and where, i f one sat i n a p a r t i c u l a r chair, one need  68  not fear i l l n e s s , was  reputedly situated on Chalice H i l l .  In the chaly-  beate spring on this h i l l , Geard cures T i t t i e Petherton of cancer. Powys's sense of the three h i l l s i s very strong.  The  characters'  r e l a t i o n to the h i l l s no less than t h e i r actions define their attitude to the G r a i l .  Powys e x p l i c i t l y states that Sam  faced the three h i l l s at the  moment "the earth and the water and the darkness cracked." One  i s always aware of the h i l l s —  climbed by the characters.  (28.981).  as s e t t i n g for the action, as h i l l s  They exist as material phenomena and as  images and symbols. 26 "A Glastonbury  Romance i s less a book than a B i b l e . "  Unlike  the t i n at Wookey Hole, the richness of this novel has not been exhausted. In exploring the responses of the main characaters to the central theme, I have not touched on, for example, the theme of male versus female response to l i f e which Powys develops at great length. though, that the notion that A Glastonbury consequently,  I do hope,  Romance i s formless  only b r i l l i a n t because of the author's  and,  energy and, at times,  rhapsodic prose has been d i s p e l l e d ^ .  G. Wilson Knight, The Saturnian Quest (New York: p. 41.  Barnes and Noble, 1964),  69  CHAPTER IV MAIDEN CASTLE  Maiden Castle i s a hybrid of A Glastonbury Romance and Wolf Solent.  I t combines the focus on a locale with the focus on an i n d i v i -  dual's l i f e - i l l u s i o n . trated than  More detached than Wolf Solent and more concen-  A Glastonbury Romance, i t e f f e c t i v e l y synthesizes the inten-  tions of the e a r l i e r novels.  Yet Maiden Castle, the earthwork for which  the novel i s named, despite i t s imposing h i s t o r y , does not evoke the atmospheric presence of Glastonbury or Stonehenge.  Though i t represents a  pre-technological paradise, and despite i t s being one of Cybele's 'Turrets of the Impossible' -- "those  'topless towers' of hers are the b i r t h - c r i e s  of occult generation, raised up i n defiance of Matter, i n defiance of Fate, and i n defiance of cruel knowledge and despairing wisdom"''" -- i t neither permeates the characters of the novel nor the novel as a whole.  Only Ury-  en Quirm gets caught up i n Maiden Castle's r e l i g i o u s p o s s i b i l i t i e s .  Dud  No-man, whose l i f e - i l l u s i o n i s at the centre of this book, i s largely unaffected by Maiden Castle; however, understanding h i s father's v i s i o n of i t helps him to a r t i c u l a t e h i s own response to the universe.  Though he  retains the cherished sensations which he l i v e s for and rejects the challenges his father and Wizzie present to h i s i d i o s y n c r a t i c life-way and  NOTE:  A l l quotations from Maiden Castle are from the Colgate U. Press edition (N.Y. , 1966).  •*"A Glastonbury Romance,  p.  1174.  70  i s o l a t i o n i s m , he comes to understand himself and h i s surroundings better because of h i s experiences i n Dorchester and at Maiden Castle. Maiden Castle, then, has a l l the ingredients of the f i r s t two novels discussed.  I t has a s e l f i s h Powys-figure, a Communist, a saint-  ego, a magician and,  i n Maiden Castle, a p r i m i t i v e b u i l d i n g erected i n  the s p i r i t of Stonehenge.  G. Wilson Knight i n The Saturnian Quest writes  that "Maiden Castle i s a t r a n s i t i o n work. i n t e r e s t from Wessex to Wales".  2  On i t pivots Powys's s h i f t of  However, i t seems to me that the novel  i s more an exploration of Dud No-Man's response, partly to Maiden Castle, but more important to Dorchester and the people he i s intimately concerned with than i t i s an exploration of Maiden Castle's Welsh sources.  It  i s true that pagan c u l t around Maiden Castle i s r e l a t e d more s p e c i f i c a l l y to Welsh mythology than the c u l t Johnny Geard t r i e s to r e - e s t a b l i s h i n Glastonbury; and that Uryen Quirm's roots are s p e c i f i c a l l y of Welsh ext r a c t whereas Johnny Geard's though occult, are not traced to any p a r t i cular race-consciousness.  Nonetheless, Maiden Castle plays a r e l a t i v e l y  small part i n the novel which bears i t s name as the t i t l e . not made aware of the earthwork's constant  The reader i s  presence, though i t i s on the  o u t s k i r t s of Dorchester and can nearly always be seen from the town.  Ex-  cept for the two scenes at the ancient earthwork (the f i r s t being Dud's and Uryen's personally revealing trek there, the second being the foray to that part of the Castle where primitive statues were discovered), the novel  focuses  on the town and the r e l a t i o n s h i p of the characters therein.  In f a c t , i n his f i n a l remarks to Nancy,  The Saturnian Quest,  p..49.  Dud/ r e j e c t s the mysticism that  71 Uryen evolves Castle.  from h i s d e f i n i t i o n of the Welsh powers which created Maiden  Because Maiden Castle i s more externalized than Wolf Solent, the  indictments of Dud's nature are more severe than those of Wolf's.  Yet  Dud  does not modify h i s i d i o s y n c r a t i c habits despite Wizzie's abandonment of him and h i s father's occultism. Although i t does not have the r i c h atmospheric presence of Glastonbury, Maiden Castle does serve as a point of reference for the s p i r i t u a l natures of the novel's characters.  Uryen, for example, l i v e s the ancient  values of the earthwork so f u l l y that he sees himself as a reincarnation of one who  was  part of the early c i v i l i z a t i o n which engendered i t .  In h i s  whole-hearted embrace of the s p i r i t of Maiden Castle, he i s l i k e John Geard, a magician.  I t i s at Maiden Castle that Uryen i s i n closest contact with  h i s v i s i o n because he believes that when the c u l t around Maiden Castle f l o u r i s h e d , t h i s v i s i o n was  a reality.  Once at Maiden Castle, he performs  r i t u a l s which bring him into a communion with i t s gods.  When the archeol-  o g i c a l discoveries are unearthed from Maiden Castle, Uryen t r i e s to communicate with them by the use of Wizzie's u n f u l f i l l e d love for him. She f e l t sure that Uryen was not only conscious of her presence—had he not moved up to her the second they came in?--but was making various impatient movements to arrange matters according to some overpowering secret i n t e n t i o n of h i s own. (8.370). To the others, the Castle and i t s subterranean awesome things than they do to Uryen. outing  treasures represent  less  Though Dud and h i s friends on the  are i n a r t i c u l a t e l y aware of the mystery of the i d o l s , they are not  responsive to the psychic energy unleashed by the i d o l s which have been restored from the center of the earth.  The malignancy of the party to-  wards Dud which prompt them to want to throw him into h i s f i r e .may have  72  been momentarily s t i r r e d by the i d o l s ; however, t h e i r presence and that of Maiden Castle are not nearly as pervasive as that of Glastonbury the G r a i l .  and  Furthermore, Uryen i s not at a l l preoccupied with the char-  acter of Maiden Castle. he wants to possess. gods i s minimal.  He merely regards i t as a symbol of the power  Dud's concern  for Maiden Castle and i t s strange  Although he recognizes that l i f e i s not bound by cause  and e f f e c t l o g i c , he i s too s c e p t i c a l l i g i o u s quality  to commit himself f u l l y to the re-  of Uryen's response to Maiden Castle.  tured as John Crow who  Though not as tor-  fluctuates v i o l e n t l y between b e l i e f and  disbelief  in Geard's miracles, he does i d e n t i f y himself with Uryen's plane of existence--"We both l i v e at a somewhat d i f f e r e n t  l e v e l from most people.  you, I don't say at a higher l e v e l , but a d i f f e r e n t one"  (9.495)--while  r e j e c t i n g Uryen's elaborate method of sustaining himself there. more mindful of the richness of Dorchester.  Mind  Dud i s  F i n a l l y , there i s Claudius  Cask whose response to Maiden Castle i s broadly similar to the responses of P h i l i p Crow, Dave Spear and Red Robinson to Glastonbury; he i s t o t a l l y devoid of any sense of the supernatural quality  of i t .  Powys's i n t e n t i o n i n Maiden Castle, then, i s not p r i m a r i l y to explore a region and the reactions to i t .  H. P. C o l l i n s writes:  Maiden Castle i s wholly occupied with the essence of l i f e ; but especia l l y , again, with the essence of memory, earth-memory, race-memory.. Mai Dun, Uryen, the ideal of Hiraeth are race-memories. The author's possession with the idea of race survival and of our ancestors' being s t i l l a l i v e i n ourselves, part of ourselves, i s evident everywhere. The impressiveness of Maiden Castle has i n fact l i t t l e to do with happening or expectation. There i s no authentic present or f u t u r i t y : whatever happens, one f e e l s , i s already deeply i n the past. Disagreeing with H. P. C o l l i n s , I think that, i n concentrating on Dud man  No-  i n the novel, Powys's ambition i s not nearly as vast as the preceding  John Cowper Powys;  Old Earth Man,  p.  136.  73  quote would have i t .  Certainly, race-consciousness i s central to Dud and  i s one of the values he holds sacred throughout  the novel.  Uryen's an-  c e s t r a l t i e s , however, are not enshrined i n Dud's f i n a l a r t i c u l a t i o n of h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with Uryen.  The impact of the novel arises out of Dud  No-man's i n t e r a c t i o n with and p a r t i a l immunity to Wizzie and Uryen and Maiden Castle.  And our judgement i s not channelled towards assessing the  v a l i d i t y of Maiden Castle as a repository of the Welsh Golden Age; rather, i t i s channelled towards an evaluation Dud No-man and h i s decision to forf e i t Wizzie and most of h i s father's values for h i s s e l f i s h life-way. As Kenneth Hopkins points out i n The Powys Brothers the concluding passages of Wolf Solent and Maiden Castle are remarkably  similar.  Both extol the  i n d i v i d u a l , more detached and s c e p t i c a l than the magician, who derives h i s pleasure from those contemplative moments i n which are received 'intimations of immortality.  1  Once again, H. P. C o l l i n s denies the craftsmanship of John Cowper Powys when he writes that Maiden Castle i s "curiously lacking i n shape or planned development".  4  This i s not the case.  Just as he does  in Wolf Solent, Powys, i n Maiden Castle, l i n k s a l l the motifs he i n t r o duces i n the early parts of the novel.  As with Wolf Solent and John Crow,  Dud No-man i s a newcomer to the locale i n which the story takes place.  As  the hero (or, as i n the case of most fumbling Powys figures, the anti-hero) gets to know the region and the people, he discovers more and more about himself and the way he i s to l i v e i n and adapt to the universe.  Wolf  Solent's search begins when he asks himself "whether the events that a-  4  Ibid.,  p. 136.  74  waited him...would be able to do what no outward events had yet done-break up this mirror of h a l f - r e a l i t y and drop great stones of real reality-down there among those dark waters" new  He i s almost destroyed when the  experiences c r u c i a l l y a l t e r his inner make-up.  lent delineates these events. ing  (1.21).  The whole of Wolf So-  Dud No-man's l i f e - i l l u s i o n , the way  of act-  i n the understanding the universe which gives each i n d i v i d u a l h i s  separate i d e n t i t y , i s not severely a l t e r e d during the course of Maiden Castle; however, h i s somewhat s e l f i s h , passive acceptance of the universe undergoes many tests which cause him to r e a f f i r m the life-way he has chosen for himself.  Concomitant with this i s the ease with which he accepts,  i f not resolves, those images and questions which troubled him when he i s ' f i r s t described.  For instance, i n  Chapter One, Dud, musing on the rea-  son he chose to come to Dorchester, i d e a l i z e s h i s motive into "a longing to to,  solve...the ultimate meaning of death i t s e l f " i n a sense, break through, to discover how  (1.20).  His a g i t a t i o n  one becomes immortal  takes  the form of two alternate ways to l i v e , the espousal of one of which, he thinks, w i l l r e s u l t i n a l i f e a f t e r death. I f our s u r v i v a l of death, he had come to f e e l , depended on the i n t e n s i t y with which we l i v e d our i n d i v i d u a l l i f e , the i n t e n s i t y with which we grasped l i f e ' s most symbolic essences then i t was "the Woman from Wales" (Dud's mother) who was more l i k e l y to dodge a n n i h i l a t i o n ; whereas i f our chance depended on the power we develop for sinking our i n d i v i d u a l i t y i n others' l i v e s , why then i t was the dead Mona (Dud's wife) who had the better s t a r t . (1.21). A f t e r being exposed to Uryen's longing to break through, Dud loses h i s desire to solve eschatological questions. content merely to l i v e i n the universe.  At the end of the novel he i s Instead of answering  the question  he had formulated about which way one should l i v e to immortalize oneself, l i k e h i s mother grasping  l i f e or l i k e h i s wife helping others, he merely  75  ceases to pursue the question.  "Which of those two--his mother, with her  inhuman egoism or Mona, with her weird unselfishness--held the secret that prevailed?  Well.  1  He must go on as best he could i n h i s own way."  (9.496).  The h e r a l d i c heads, one of which i s always fixed-to Dud's beadpost and the other which Uryen gives him to substantiate Uryen's claim of paternity, recur as frequently i n Maiden Castle as the image of the face on the steps of Waterloo Station recurs i n Wolf Solent. with them, too, at the end of the book. to Dud,  Dud comes to terms  What the h e r a l d i c head represented  "what most of a l l he seemed to detect i n i t was  simply desire, that  Faustian 'desire' to penetrate and enjoy--even i n forbidden d i r e c t i o n s - the huge mystery of the Cosmos"  (1.18).  Yet as symbols of the Faustian  desire to break through, which i s given the name of Hiraeth by Uryen, the h e r a l d i c bed-posts are eschewed by Dud. s i g n i f i c a n c e Uryen ascribes to them.  He r e j e c t s the Welsh mythological  To him they are redolent of the s p i r -  i t that l i f e i s not l i v e d on a s t r i c t l y m a t e r i a l , r a t i o n a l l e v e l .  Identi-  fying himself i n this respect with h i s father, Dud says that "It a l l comes from l i v i n g , as he and I do, more i n the great cosmic forces...than i n ordinary human i n t e r e s t s "  (9.495).  His father's mistake, Dud  f e e l s , i s to  take the bed-posts l i t e r a l l y instead of h i s t o r i c a l l y as he, himself, takes them.  Early i n the novel, Dud r e l a t e s the heads to Malory's  Beast which i n turn i s r e l a t e d to "Dor-Marth" which means the Death'.  Questing 'Door of  The quest for this monster, Dud remembers, thumbing through h i s  volume of Malory was  "apparently confined to one p a r t i c u l a r family, of  whom Malory only knew two,  Pellenore and Palomides, who  father and son"  Although h i s father goes on the quest which i n -  (3.114).  might have been  volved the Hiraeth (which I s h a l l return to l a t e r ) Dud does not do so.  76 "He (Uryen) thought this 'groaning and t r a v a i l i n g ' of the longing i n us could break through the b a r r i e r .  But there is_ no b a r r i e r "  (9.493).  Dud  comes to view the h e r a l d i c heads merely as r e p o s i t o r i e s of h i s t o r y . As part of the whole a l i v e , animistic universe, the heads represent " a l l the Inanimates on earth i n which man's love-longing loses i t s e l f , and i n which i t finds i t s e l f .  There's not a s t i c k or stone i n this place into which  some lonely s p i r i t hasn't poured the tragedy of h i s u n s a t i s f i e d d e s i r e " (9.493).  Because the h e r a l d i c heads overlook the bed on which Dud made  cerebral love to Mona's wraith and on which he ached for Wizzie a f t e r she l e f t him, they are suffused with h i s longings. try to use t h i s storehouse reality.  Dud, however, does not  of f r u s t r a t e d desire to f i n d a higher l e v e l of  This i s i n keeping with h i s passive, non-defining acceptance of  the universe.  To l i e back and receive sensations, to be the ichthyosaurus-  ego i s , f o r Dud, to l i v e a f u l l l i f e .  Uryen, on the contrary, seizes the  beast heads as the r e p o s i t o r i e s of s t i f l e d desire which w i l l a i d him to transcend this l e v e l of existence and l i v e a sort of inner nirvana, an inner golden age. He becomes more and more attached to these symbols of a l i b e r a t i o n from this l i f e as h i s own inner v i s i o n atrophies.  This mac-  eration occurs because he writes about that v i s i o n for money and because Wizzie and Thuella prove to be unsatisfactory mediums for h i s epiphany. When Wizzie returns the h e r a l d i c head to him, He kissed the grotesque thing, he hugged i t , he mumbled incoherent gibberish over i t , he examined i t , he turned i t f i r s t one way and then another, he scrabbled over i t , he scraped at i t , he slobbered over i t , he tapped i t , he smelt i t , he held i t to h i s eyes, to h i s mouth, to h i s forehead, and even to h i s ears. (9.448). As Uryen becomes, so he f e e l s , more and more i n e f f e c t u a l i n h i s attempt to  'break through', he r e l a t e s more and more strongly to that object which  77 embodies that Hiraeth, that Faustian desire which i n him i s thwarted. Uryen Quirm i s a fascinating character whom Powys explores beyond h i s r e l a t i o n to the bedposts.  Like Johnny Geard h i s awareness of  l i f e on a supernatural plane sets him apart from other men. However, the method he invokes i n h i s attempt  to l i v e his other r e a l i t y i s d i f f e r e n t  from and less successful than Johnny's.  Geard i s a p l a c i d , sensual per-  son, not the least b i t averse to f u l f i l l i n g himself sexually with h i s wife. •of  Hedonistic, he i s able i n h i s l i f e t i m e to e f f e c t the i n t e r s e c t i o n  the Timeless with the temporal.  A Glastonbury Romance closes with a  heightened l y r i c a l cry. espousing Geard's a n t i - r a t i o n a l , mystical but undefined values.  Dud's statements at the end of Maiden Castle deny Uryen's  assertions of the golden age, celebrating instead the Wordsworthian spots of  time and ichthyosaurus-ego response to l i f e which are the values Wolf  Solent closes on.  Uryen, though he i s as ill-kempt as Johnny Geard and  has a head of majestic proportions s i m i l a r to Johnny's, does not have the zeal for l i f e that Johnny, i n addition to h i s mystical powers, has. f i r s t impression of Uryen i s of "a h a l f - v i t a l i z e d corpse"  Dud's  (1.55).  Mr. Quirm's eyes were d u l l , l i f e l e s s , c o l o u r l e s s , opaque. They were empty of every gleam of human response. They neither softened nor warmed; they neither lightened nor darkened--they were simply there, as i f someone had found a great antique mask with empty eye-sockets, and had inserted a couple of glass marbles into the holes. (1.55). Uryen's corpse-like smell also contributes to the description of a man whose t e r r e s t r i a l l i f e i s of l i t t l e i n t e r e s t to him.  Uryen wishes to l i v e  l i f e e n t i r e l y i n h i s abnormally large head; he wishes to l i v e on a d i f f e r ent l e v e l than most people do.  Whereas Wizzie berates Dud for not being  a man, Nance c a l l s Uryen more than a man.  He, himself, believes he i s an  incarnation of the Uryen of Welsh myth o f whom the following i s b e l i e v e d :  78  "The mental pain that breaks against the b a r r i e r , the mental pain that loses i t s e l f i n d e a t h - i n - l i f e i s the key to Uryen's country....And i t ' s Rhys and no one else who makes clear what this Power, this 'Uryen' i n me r e a l l y i s . I t i s the old magic of the mind, when, driven to bay by the dogs of r e a l i t y , i t turns upon the mathematical l i f e and tears i t to bits.' I t ' s the o l d magic of the mind, the secret of which has been so often l o s t ; t i l l the Welsh, along among the races, h i d i t instead of squandering i t . " (6. 252-253). And he, the present-day Uryen, believes that the 'secret' has been reborn i n him.  Although i t i s not enlarged on i n the novel, he, l i k e  Johnny Geard, assumes the mantle of prophet and t r i e s to i n s t i l l the essence of h i s v i s i o n i n a l l those he comes into contact with.  Nance says  that, to the people of Dorchester, Uryen i s t h e i r greatest wonder a f t e r Maiden Castle and Poundberry and Maumbury Rings.  "Haven't they assured  you that i n the future people w i l l come to Glymes as i f to a shrine?" (1.59).  Nonetheless, Uryen does not succees i n gathering around him a  c u l t as t r u s t i n g as that around Bloody Johnny.  Nor, does he succeed i n  breaking through to that plane of existence which Johnny Geard i s i n contact with when he performs h i s miracles. What Uryen has i s a longing, a Hiraeth, by means of which he plans to r e a l i z e a Utopian society, a golden age. of  Maiden Castle i s one  Cybele's monuments, one of those structures which i s a fragment of a  purer, more noble era.  "'You must remember, l a d , ' (Uryen) said, we're  t a l k i n g of the c i v i l i z a t i o n that b u i l t Stonehenge and Avebury.'"  (6.239).  This c i v i l i z a t i o n that i s Uryen's ideal flourished i n an age i n which "there were no wars, no v i v i s e c t i o n , no money, no ten-thousand-times accursed nations.' "  (9.467-8).  tore this way of l i v i n g .  Uryen feels that he has the power to res-  His hiraeth i s the power, much l i k e that c e l -  eb rated at the end of A Glastonbury Romance, 'that b e a u t i f u l and t e r r i b l e Force by which the Lies of great creative Nature give b i r t h to Truth that  79 i s to be.'  Uryen defines i t i n the following manner:  I t moves from the impossible to the impossible. I t abolishes cause and e f f e c t . I t strides from world to world creating new things out of nothing.' I t takes Nature between i t s fingers and Evolution i n the palm of i t s hand. I t ' s more than desire. I t ' s a l l the defeated longing, a l l the b a f f l e d longing, a l l the forbidden longing, a l l the beating against the walls, that makes the wind howl and the r a i n cry.' And i t w i l l break through....And when i t breaks through, these four thousand years wherein the world has been deceived and has l e f t the way w i l l be redeemed, and what was intended to happen w i l l be allowed to happen, and the s u p e r s t i t i o n of science w i l l be exploded forever.'"' (9.468). The power to create, to a c t u a l i z e these ideals i s solely a mental one. For Uryen, the imagination i s t h i s supreme creative f o r c e - - " ' A l l s v i s i o n , 1  lad,....the truth of l i f e ' s i n the imagination, not i n ashes and urns.' I t e l l you we, I and others l i k e me, are the gods of Mai-Dun'" Uryen's v i s i o n , however, i s f o i l e d .  (6.250).  One reason Uryen f a i l s i s  that i n w r i t i n g about h i s l i f e - i l l u s i o n for the Cumbers i n order to restore f i n a n c i a l s t a b i l i t y , he a r t i c u l a t e s what i s e s s e n t i a l l y a non-verbal v i s i o n , a mystical v i s i o n which rested a good deal on f a i t h . to r a t i o c i n a t e about an a n t i - o r non-national  Attempting  concept, he, i n Dud's words,  "has shaken h i s own f a i t h and got a l l confused,  troubled, uncertain, ex-  posed i n some way, not knowing what he does believe or doesn't b e l i e v e " (9.433).  The other important  reason for Uryen's f a i l u r e i s the method  he employs for breaking through.  Uryen's reasoning, an offshot of Powys's  avowed enjoyment of cerebral, v o y e u r i s t i c lovemaking, i s that unrequited love evokes the most powerful  psychic v i b r a t i o n s that one can emit. He  seizes on Thuella's lesbian longing for Wizzie to carry him to h i s inner v i s i o n - - " ' I t ' s nothing to you that I've taken your'--and he fixed h i s flaming eyes on T h u e l l a — ' f e e l i n g for you'--and he turned them on Wizzie --' to break through into the mystery that maddens me.'"  (9.466).  And  80 t r u l y , the g i r l s do not care whether Uryen r e a l i z e s h i s desire. love him; ually.  They  indeed, Wizzie i s quite prepared to give h e r s e l f to him sex-  However, Wizzie i s remote from and unmoved by h i s occultism:  "It wasn't his demented Hiraeth that brought that lump (to her throat). It was her own  p r a c t i c a l , d e f i n i t e , professional Hiraeth, her  to be w h i r l i n g round the ring." c r a t i c tendencies,  Dud  1  (9.467).  longing  Summing up Uryen's idiosyn-  t e l l s Nance,  "Enoch's idea was, I think, that f r u s t r a t e d love--unreturned love I mean --was the strongest magnetic force i n the world. Mephistopheles gives Faust a key by which he 'breaks through.... To Enoch this 'key' was frustrated love; and for some reasons he got into his head that 'Thel's' love for Wizz was l i k e that.' Neither of them, of course, had the l e a s t idea of what he was up to. (9.495). Consequently, Uryen never achieves h i s inner golden age.  He dies d i s -  claiming the name Uryen and h i s t i e s with Maiden Castle. Although Dud regards much of the elaborate r i t u a l and  mysti-  cism of his father as well as some aspects of h i s father's behaviour as sham, a great deal of the scorn that Dud leashed because that man  d i r e c t s at his father i s un-  i s h i s father and not because Dud's own  i l l u s i o n i s so opposed to Uryen's.  Both men,  i n f a c t , are a l i k e i n t h e i r  loathing of the pragmatic, p r o g r e s s i v i s t i c ideology Claudius pounds.  Though he i s not caught up i n the search  Cask pro-  for a golden age,  though he i s much more at home i n the universe than Uryen, Dud i n that dimension of l i f e which i s not e a s i l y apprehensible plane on which we  live.  life-  and  believes  from the  He agrees with Uryen that  "you can't face l i f e four-square.... The back side of your square turns away from l i f e . L i f e never sees i t . I t cannot see l i f e . It's like the other side of the moon.' And yet nobody has ever doubted that there i s another side to the moon." (6.233). By the same token, Uryen i s sympathetic to Dud's goals, to h i s aware-  81  ness of a region's impact.  When h i s son t e l l s him that he i s w r i t i n g a  romance about Dorchester, championing Mary Channing, Uryen shouts "Bravo, lad.'  That's the game.  Give it'em, the brutes, give it'em, hip and thigh.'"  (4.173). Claudius Cask plays a major r o l e i n the novel, despite Maiden Castle's lengthy consideration of the l i v e s of Dud and h i s father.  Clau-  dius 's materialism and a l t r u i s m provide a necessary contrast with Uryen's occultism and Dud's sensation-seeking.  Dud  objective, he and h i s father subjective.  speaks of Claudius as being  Because of Claudius's f a i t h i n  man's r a t i o n a l progress toward a communist state and an i d e a l future, he i s regarded, by Dud, future'.  as being  'a mere objective bridge to the world's  Upholding a l l of Dave Spear's impersonal, passionless ideals  for the p e r f e c t i b i l i t y of man  the s o c i a l animal, Claudius i s the counter-  balance against which Dud measures h i s own the novel.  l i f e - i l l u s i o n at the end of  Hearing one of Claudius's a i r p l a n e s , Dud resolves a l l the  more firmly to r e j e c t the future for which Claudius holds so much hope. Claudius i s t o t a l l y lacking i n the awareness of that other d i mension of l i f e which Dud and Uryen are, to varying degrees, of.  cognizant  His a t t i t u d e toward Maiden Castle echoes Dave Spear's toward Glas-  tonbury.  To r e t a i n a sense of i t s mystery i s to retard progress.  I t s one of those cases when v i r t u e s are as bad for Progress as v i c e s Evolution means S c i e n t i f i c Excavation at one end and S c i e n t i f i c Experiment at the other. The more you know about what was, the faster you can create what w i l l be. We must undermine a l l prejedices.' (3.126). Moreover, g l o r i f y i n g  ' S c i e n t i f i c Experiment", Claudius sanctions that  Frankenstein--like quality of progress that Powys despised.  In the name  of just such experimentation, v i v i s e c t i o n , the dispassionate t o r t u r i n g  82  of animals, i s condoned,  (Weymouth Sands and Morwyn contain more e x p l i c i t  d i a t r i b e s against this kind of detached exploration of the universe.) Claudius i s a reformer.  He i s p h y s i c a l l y and s p i r i t u a l l y akin to the prag-  m a t i c Romans, even adopting the sobriquet Claudius i n place of his r e a l name, Roger.  Oblivious to p r e h i s t o r i c races and forces, he traces the  lineage of Dorchester as well as Uryen's dark gods to Rome. In h i s zeal for science and progress, Claudius i s no more subtly delineated than the Communists of A Glastonbury Romance.  About the wire-  l e s s , Claudius exults'"How they tower above our personal sensations.' they point to the great Future.''" (3.138). t i c a figure as, say, Dave Spear.  How  Yet Claudius i s not as plas-  Jenny Dearth accuses him of wanting a  world of robots rather than a world of men  and women.  However, Claudius  has a conscience which compels him to take up manual labour when accused of being an ivory tower a l t r u i s t .  This alienates him from Jenny with whom  he had performed those deeds which Powys would ascribe to, i n h i s words, the saint-ego.  Though Claudius s t i l l spouts h i s dogma about  subjective, personal feelings and about the triumph of man  eradicating  over nature,  h i s love for Jenny preys more heavily on h i s mind than the p e r f e c t i b i l i t y of the human race does. Dud No-man's search for a modus vivendi ends, as I have stated, with a commitment to the l i f e - i l l u s i o n he held at the beginning of the novel.  His longing to plumb the ultimate meaning of death i t s e l f i s m i t i -  gated.  He advocates merely l i v i n g i n the universe and being s e n s i t i v e to  the richness of h i s environment.  Though he rejects h i s father's desire  to 'break through', he recognizes h i s response to the universe i s as uns c i e n t i f i c , as unmechanistic as Uryen's.  Like Wolf who  finds h i s s p i r i t  83 akin to that of 'old Truepenny's', Dud, h o s t i l e to Uryen on t h e i r outing to Maiden Castle, reconciles himself to t h e i r caramon antipathy to modern, industrial  civilization. The surname No-man was  chosen by Dud  " i n his sulky reaction  against h i s parents, as an i n s p i r a t i o n of pure misanthropy," he learned that h i s mother's husband was not h i s father.  (1.18), when  Bearing out this  chosen a p e l l a t i o n , he i s t o l d by Wizzie that, because he i s abstracted and uninvolved with people, he i s , indeed, not a  man.  I mean you're not a man, D. That's the whole thing i f you must have i t . . . . You may be higher or lower, You may be an angel or you may be--that beast over there. But a g i r l when she's my age...wants someone she can fuss with, be s i l l y and gay with, yes.' and quarrel with. Do you r e a l i z e , D. , we've never once made i t up? Why haven't we? Because you're not a manj 1  (9.440).  Dud, man.  l i k e Wolf Solent, i s simply not a passionate, p h y s i c a l l y responsive Wolf's misfortune i s to marry an earthy, active woman whom he cannot  fulfill.  His s p i r i t u a l union with C h r i s t i e i s more f u l f i l l i n g because i t  is wholly cerebral.  At l e a s t , i t i s more s a t i s f y i n g to him than to her,  C h r i s t i e wanting a man Dud to respond. own terms.  i n the sensuous and passionate way Wizzie wanted  Dud i s just as s e l f i s h as Wolf.  He wants Wizzie on h i s  He wants to make love to her only i n a cerebral manner.  His  dead wife died a v i r g i n and there i s nothing i n the novel to indicate that Dud brings h i s protracted love-making, h i s fondling of Wizzie, to actual coitus.  Indeed, carnal contact seems to hold as l i t t l e i n t e r e s t for Dud  as i t did for Powys, himself.  In Autobiography,  Powys writes that "I  have a morbid fastidiousness, a super-refined, almost maidenly detestation of the grosser aspects of normal sexuality".-'  ^Autobiography,  p.  275.  84  Dud,  though he i s a Powys-figure, i s drawn as o b j e c t i v e l y and  with as much detached amusement by Powys as are John Crow and Magnus Muir. He i s t o t a l l y unaware of Wizzie's needs and, i n h i s bumbling i n a b i l i t y to understand her, he i s a pathetic figure.  Though Wizzie's  sympathetic  neighing for her horse i s not as a e s t h e t i c a l l y pleasing as Gerda's blackb i r d whistle, i t , nonetheless, provides an insight into that part of her character which Dud cannot fathom. goddess Caridwen" a man  She, "a natural daughter...of the earth-  (8.364), desires the physical and emotional contact with  that Dud No-man cannot supply. The type of love Dud prefers to indulge i n i s suited much more  for h i s Mona-wraith than for Wizzie.  Wizzie, i n f a c t , though she loathes  'Old Funky' for having raped her and made her pregnant, muses about she could possibly have fought Urgan o f f , but did not do so. man  less repulsive than Urgan, she, nonetheless, wants a man  as he did.  how  Wanting a to take her  Wizzie also admires Old Funky for having coached her and cared  for her body u n t i l she performed  flawlessly on her horse.  Dud,  indeed,  denies her whole personality, seeing himself as "the Bronze-Age way-farer with h i s Stone Age paramour"  (2.92).  He refuses to allow her to break  into h i s well-regulated existence except when he wants h i s l u s t to be s t i r r e d or when he wishes to r e l a t e incidents about h i s writing or h i s habitual walks.  Dud i s that type of person, a s e l f i s h sensation-seeker,  who needs a woman and i s aware of a woman only when she contributes to h i s mental l i f e .  In h i s prefatory  note to Maiden Castle, Malcolm Elwin argues  that the novel i s a study of the destructive powers of feminine emotions.  85  The problems of man and woman l i v i n g together being 'when the f i r s t love i s gone...when the state of being i n love is.over.' Woman has to contend with her impulse to s e l f assertion and that possessive i n s t i n c t which may r e s u l t i n 'her devouring and swallowing up, l i k e an insanely possessive python, both her o f f s p r i n g and her mate. Man has to r a t i o n a l i z e 'his impersonal masculine l u s t ' and f i n d refuge i n a mental l i f e . ' 6 1  Elwin's theory i s not v a l i d for this novel.  Wizzie i s not a Lamia-figure.  Nor i s Dud involved i n h i s mental construct to save h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with Wizzie.  His apartness precedes h i s love-making which, i n i t s e l f , i s de-  tached and u n f u l f i l l i n g for h i s mate. Wizzie exposes many of the f o i b l e s that are offshoots of Dud's i d i o s y n c r a t i c nature.  She i s cold to the fondling which makes him so ec-  s t a t i c ; she mocks him for h i s adherence to h i s sensations: He's got nothing on h i s mind, as 'Thel says, but h i s walks and h i s sensat i o n s . A l l the rest of us are unhappy--Uryen most of a l l . And there he stands, enjoying himself....I hate you. Do you understand that? Put that among your sensations.' I hate you; and I hate your book and both your dead bitches.' (8.388). Despite her v i t r i o l i c nature, she perceives a great deal about Dud's character.  She i s not ignorant of Dud's race-consciousness or the degree to  which he r e l i e s on h i s walking s t i c k .  About the s t i c k , Wizzie thinks,  "'With i t he looks l i k e a s e l f i s h old man; without i t l i k e a s e l f i s h child.'  But that's a l l h i s mind does when i t gets out of i t s e l f .  into h i s stick.'"'  (8.386).  At the end of Maiden Castle, a f t e r Dud utters  what i s to be h i s credo--"'Hold to the centre...as you move on. ure's not everything.'"  I t goes  The fut-  (9.496)--he digs h i s s t i c k into the earth and  fixes h i s eyes on the ground.  His communion with the earth f i n i s h e d , he  goes to meet Nance and the novel ends.  At the close of Wolf Solent, Wolf  swings h i s s t i c k i n the f i e l d i n which he receives h i s f i n a l  illumination  M. Elwin, "Prefatory Note," to Maiden Castle (N.Y.: Colgate U., 1966), p. 9.  86  and resumes his l i f e .  Both men  espouse simply l i v i n g i n the universe,  receiving 'intimations of immortality'.  Both reject that urge of man  to  progress which i s represented i n Wolf Solent by the 'Apparition of Modern Invention' and i n Maiden Castle by one of Claudius's airplanes from which Dud  averts h i s eyes to assert his own way Dud's race-consciousness  of l i f e .  together with his cerebral sensuality,  which I s h a l l explore more f u l l y when I examine his lovemaking with Mona and Thuella, are the two most important race-consciousness,  facets of h i s inner l i f e .  Of h i s  i t i s said:  After a l l i t was the stream/of human existence down the centuries that swept him out of himself more constantly than any immediate contact. It was i n t h i s , with i t s magical overtones, that he sought to immerse hims e l f . This was the impersonal element i n his subjective l i f e , this was the reverse side of h i s cerebral sensuality. It was to this winnowed r e a l i t y , a r e a l i t y caught under a purged l i g h t f a l l i n g on the less transient gestures of our race, that h i s soul responded with a f e e l i n g that broke up the l i m i t a t i o n s of h i s grosser nature. (5.196). Enlarging on a s p e c i f i c example i n which he senses the richness of the s t r a t a of human c i v i l i z a t i o n s , Dud  says:  'It i s n ' t just sensation that I l i v e f o r . . . . I t ' s something that has behind i t more than you t h i n k — t h e feelings of our race for thousands of years. For instance, this morning, warm though i t was, I l i t a f i r e i n the grate to celebrate Mid-summer's Eve. What are a l l your e l e c t r i c a l appliances compared with a f i r e that I l i g h t with my own hands? It i s n ' t only a sensual pleasure; i t ' s a r e l i g i o n , i t ' s an ecstasy of l i f e . ' (8.338) . Voicing a Lawrentian concern for modern man's detachment from the of his l i f e , Dud contemplative  celebrates that facet of the ichthyosaurus-ego,  sources that  ecstasy, which unravels the whole human l i f e - t a p e s t r y .  responds to Dorchester,  He  the town i n which the action of Maiden Castle takes  place, as "a region charged with so many layers of suggestive a n t i q u i t y " (1.19). "And he thought of how  he had f e l t the roots of this ancient mellow  place sinking down to the very nadir of the e a r t h - f u l l of the magic of  87 the  generations"  (9.492).  In Durnovaria Dud can best contemplate the  layers of man's l i f e , f e e l i n g 'himself backward, down the long series of his  avatars' and beyond.  As an ichthyosaurus-ego, he i s sensitive to 'a  return to the centre from which we spring.'  Dud's sense of the town, of  a l l the layers of i t s history, i s much l i k e the sense of Glastonbury Powys evokes. the  Keenly aware of Dorchester's history, Dud writes a novel about  cruel burning of Mary Channing i n that town's Amphitheatre to focus  on the forms of cruelty which have been perpetuated there and elsewhere. Again, though Dud's awareness of the past i s not as climactic as Uryen's. He does not try to l i v e wholly i n another c i v i l i z a t i o n ; he i s only conscious of the other c i v i l i z a t i o n s .  His race consciousness i s immediately  g r a t i f y i n g ; i t provides him with the sense of the continuity of existence which was so essential to Wolf Solent. Dud's love-making i s s i m i l a r l y not  pleasurable.  I t i s cerebral  because he wishes to use i t to break through into a l i f e behind this  one but because i t , i n i t s e l f , f i l l s him with ecstasy.  What makes him  rapturous i s the contemplation of what Powys i n his Autobiography c a l l s his  sylphid i d e a l .  Powys, finding maternal love too cloying, was  attracted  to g i r l s who actually bore l i t t l e resemblance to the female sex. The very word " g i r l " . . . . conveyed to my mind a sort of f l e e t i n g , f l o a t i n g , f l u t t e r i n g fantasy of femininity, a kind of Platonic essence of sylphhood, not exactly v i r g i n a l sylphidness, but the state of being-a-Sylph carried to such a l i m i t of tenuity as almost to cease to have any of the ordinary female attributes....(See also Chapter Two, p. 34) . ^  Autobiography, p. 205.  88  Powys's emphasis on ethereal figures adumbrates Dud's propensity for h i s Mona-wraith.  In h i s mind, he creates a g i r l not i n the image of Mona;  rather Mona becomes a s y l p h - l i k e creature who  absorbs every amorous i n -  s t i n c t he possessed.  He regards his ethereal necrophilia as 'an a f f a i r  with an Elemental'.  In addition, one i s prepared for his a t t r a c t i o n to  Thuella, a name that means storm-cloud. and having a f r a i l , androgynous being.  She i s described as being t h i n Very much l i k e C h r i s t i e of Wolf  Solent, she seems to be one of those whose sex i s Saturnian, who  is nei-  ther male nor female but who has that g i r l i s h a t t r i b u t e over which Powys gloats.  Her dalliance with Dud beside the scummy pond involves "their  magnetic advances and r e t r e a t s , while the absence of actual contact between them evoked, i n place of any twinge of t a n t a l i z a t i o n , an i n t e n s i t y of imaginative lust that was  transporting".  (5.212).  This kind of res-  ponse, which Dud c a l l s impersonal l u s t , provides Thuella and him with an immutable bond that actual physical contact just could not sustain. Dud's values, then, though they render him unable to compromise with Wizzie, are preserved at the end of the novel.  Recognizing that he  had used Wizzie the way he used h i s dead wife, Dud i s nonetheless puzzled that Wizzie does not accept h i s kind of loving. that there was  " I t meant nothing to her  i n this a proof of the i n t e n s i t y of h i s f e e l i n g , a proof  of i t s etherealized sensuality, of i t s a l l pervasiveness and absorbing diffusion"  (9.486).  thyosaurus-ego  Dud remains f a i t h f u l i n his life-way.  Like the i c h -  Powys describes i n In Defence of Sensuality, Dud refuses  to become too involved with other people.  He knows that h i s precious sen-  sations occur when he i s alone and free from cloying human r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Alone, he can receive his 'intimations of immortality'.  89  We need no u n u s u a l c l e v e r n e s s , no p a r t i c u l a r g i f t o f t a s t e , no e s p e c i a l l u c k i n our c h a n c e - g i v e n abode, no f a v o u r from the gods i n our f a t e - c h o s e n companions, no e x c e p t i o n a l power of mind o r s p i r i t , t o s a t u r a t e o u r s e l v e s i n Wordsworth's way of l i f e . Surrounded by d u l n e s s we can touch the e t e r n a l . Surrounded by the commonplace we can f e e l the i n f i n i t e . A l l t h a t we need i s a c e r t a i n s t o i c a l s e l f - c e n t r e d n e s s , a c e r t a i n a l o o f n e s s from the w o r l d , a c e r t a i n s a c r e d s t u p i d i t y , a c e r t a i n c o n s e c r a t e d and c r a f t y detachment from the l i v e l y i n t e r e s t s of the h o u r , and a tendency, I might a l m o s t s a y , t o s h a r e the subhumanity o f r o c k s and s t o n e and t r e e s , to watch the g r a s s growing t i l l we grow w i t h i t , the w a y - s i d e s t o n e s w a i t i n g t i l l we w a i t w i t h them, t o w a l k w i t h the morning as w i t h a companion, w i t h the n i g h t as w i t h a f r i e n d , t o c a t c h the pathos of the human g e n e r a t i o n s from the r a i n on the r o o f , and the burden of the mystery t h a t rounds i t a l l from the wind t h a t voyages p a s t the t h r e s h o l d . 8  Maiden C a s t l e ends where i t b e g i n s , a t the g r a v e y a r d where Dud f i r s t met Nancy Quirm. the  The n o v e l i s c y c l i c a l w i t h r e s p e c t t o time as w e l l ;  a c t i o n t a k e s p l a c e o v e r e x a c t l y one y e a r . We s h a l l not cease from e x p l o r a t i o n And the end of a l l our e x p l o r i n g W i l l be t o a r r i v e where we s t a r t e d ^ And know the p l a c e f o r the f i r s t t i m e .  Dud does not adopt a new  s t a n c e toward e x p e r i e n c e d u r i n g Maiden  Castle.  In the f a c e of what happens t o him i n D o r c h e s t e r , he r e a f f i r m s h i s l i f e illusion.  John Cowper Powys. The Enjoyment S c h u s t e r , 1938), p. 315. T.S.  Eliot,  of L i t e r a t u r e .  "Four Q u a r t e t s " i n C o l l e c t e d Poems:  (N.Y.:  Simon and  1909-1962, p.  222.  90  CHAPTER V CONCLUSION  My A Glastonbury  purpose i n examining the Romance and  themes and  Maiden C a s t l e has  s t r u c t u r e s of Wolf  been to show t h a t Powys's p r i m a r y  concern i s a r t i s t i c not p r o p h e t i c .  H i s focus i s not on the  of a way  r a t h e r , he p r e s e n t s  of l i v i n g  i n the u n i v e r s e ;  of responses to the u n i v e r s e  and  Solent,  probes the v i a b i l i t y  formulation  a multiplicity  of those  responses.  H i s i n t e n t i o n i s to p l a c e h i s c h a r a c t e r s i n an environment, b o t h p h y s i c a l and human, which they A Glastonbury l o c a l e s he had  explore  and  react to.  Romance dO©she f o r e g o  described  Only i n the c l o s i n g pages of  the c h a r a c t e r s he  to a s s e r t the i n d o m i t a b l e  c r e a t e d and  the  q u a l i t y of t h a t f o r c e which  been i n c a r n a t e d momentarily i n Johnny Geard. The  does l e a d him  very nature  to c r e a t e a w o r l d  are condemned and his characters  of the u n i v e r s e  t h a t Powys e n v i s i o n e d ,  i n which r a t i o n a l and m e c h a n i s t i c  n o n - r a t i o n a l and m y s t i c a l v a l u e s  i n a l i v i n g , v i b r a n t u n i v e r s e which i s t o t a l l y  the m a t e r i a l i s t i c urban m i l i e u t h a t seems to be modern e x p e r i e n c e . lob-worms and porousness and  celebrated.  61.  Powys r o o t s unlike  I t i s "a p l a c e where  newts have s o u l s , and where the Inanimate has  'Autobiography, p.  values  f o r many the essence of  For Powys, the cosmos i s a l i v e .  transparency."''"  though,  In A u t o b i o g r a p h y , he  a disturbing  r e l a t e s ' t h a t inanimate  91 objects, such as the laurel-axe made him by h i s father and h i s  father's  thick boot-soles, always evoked i n him "a feeling that I could flow through every material object I look at i n a rapture of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . " Powys's universe i s not merely a n i m i s t i c , though.  I t i s redolent  of that intangible but i r r e f u t a b l e aspect of existence which Powys c a l l s the fourth dimension. novels are set,  This element , which infuses the regions i n which the  i s symbolized by the G r a i l i n A Glastonbury Romance and i s  described by Uryen Quirm as being ' l i k e the other side of the moon.' s i t i v e to the supernatural,  Sen-  Powys includes i n h i s world those mysterious  forces which operate outside of human society.  A l s o , he i s sympathetic to  those writers who recognize t h i s elusive dimension.  Dostoievsky i s lauded  because he i s attuned to the ' r e a l ' r e a l i t y which "implies a world of four dimensions, i n other words a world with a super-lunar crack i n the causeard effect  l o g i c that two and two make four.  Dickens  i s revered by Pox-jys  because he attacks "the same worldly and false r e a l i t y that Jesus attacked . . . t h e world of ' e f f i c i e n t work,' the world whose hard self-made gods are the gods of knowledge and power." 4 The environment i n which Powys situates h i s characters  i s charg-  ed with layers of h i s t o r y , and with psychic eidola and emanations.  Conse-  quently, he i s unable to write a three-dimensional n o v e l , that i s , a novel which contains "characters  2  Ibid. ,  p. 61  ^Dostoievsky, 4  that are convincingly r e a l , playing t h e i r part  p. 19.  John Cowper Powys, Enjoyment of L i t e r a t u r e 1938), p. 334.  (N.Y.:  Simon and Schuster,  92  against a background that i s convincingly r e a l , i n a series of events that are of absorbing interest."5  Assuredly one of Powys's aims i n A Glaston-  bury Romance i s to create "a convincing world...in which i t i s possible to fancy y o u r s e l f moving about freely and recognizing houses, s t r e e t s , gardens ..."6  So, too, does he write Wolf Solent to rekindle h i s memory of those  places  i n which he grew up.  ("Wolf Solent i s a book of Nostalgia, written  i n a foreign country with the pen of a t r a v e l l e r and the ink-blood of h i s home." ) 7  Nonetheless, although he i s extremely conscious of the formal re-  alism"^ which Ian Watt r e l a t e s i s at the heart of the novel, Powys i s more preoccupied with that realm of existence which transcends surface realism. Driven as we are by the urge of economic necessity, hemmed i n as we are by f a t a l i t y of our material environment, there i s a margin i n a l l our l i v e s when, whether we l i k e i t or not, our thoughts and emotions wander from the matter i n hand, and our imagination finds i t s e l f confronted by mysteries beyond the improvement of any human s o c i e t y . 9  Like D. H. Lawrence, Powys refuses to accept the dichotomy, h o s t i l i t y and i r r e c o n c i l a b i l i t y of nature and man which have been part of the whole t r a d i t i o n of western man.  ^Dostoievsky,  He i s dismayed by modern man's negation of the earth,  p. 19.  °"The Creation of Romance,"  p. 74.  7"Preface" to Wolf Solent,  p. 11.  *^In The Rise of the Novel, Watt gives the following d e f i n i t i o n of formal realism: the premise, or primary convention, that the novel i s a f u l l and authentic report of human experience, and i s therefore under an obl i g a t i o n to s a t i s f y i t s reader with such d e t a i l s of the story as the i n d i v i d u a l i t y of the actors concerned, the p a r t i c u l a r s of the times and places of t h e i r actions... p. 33. 9  f r o m The Art of Happiness. Quoted by Kenneth Hopkins i n The Powys Brothers (London: Phoenix House, 1967), p. 151.  93  by h i s assumption  that man  i s d i s t i n c t from his natural environment.  However,  despite h i s r e j e c t i o n of the mechanistic, r a t i o c i n a t i v e view of the cosmos, Powys does not espouse the simple, sensuous p r i m i t i v i s i m which the Brangwen males embrace i n The Rainbow: So much warmth and generating and pain and death did they know i n t h e i r blood, earth and sky and beast and green plants, so much exchange and i n t e r change they had with those, that they l i v e d f u l l and surcharged, t h e i r senses f u l l fed, t h e i r faces always turned to the heat of the blood, stating into the sun, dazed with looking towards the source of generation, unable to turn ' round.10 Powys does not advocate, as Lawrence does i n Apocalypse, a l i f e attuned to the rhythm of the seasons.  He opts for a more conscious apprehension of  the universe than that offered by blood-consciousness. of  Consequently, none  the characters Powys creates respond to the universe i n that mute, s o l e l y  physical manner which characterizes Tom Brangwen's life-way. Some of the characters i n the novels do, of course, ignore the l i v i n g quality of Powys's universe.  The communists, Dave Spear and Claudius  Cask, are too-caught up i n their mundane, s o c i a l selves to seek a meaningful relationship with the supernatural and the inanimate. their values of progress and s o c i a l usefulness. try  Powys loathed  To be an ameliorist, to  to change society i s to miss completely the purpose of l i f e .  Powys  defined work as 'dead time' around which i s r e a l i t y or i n other words, the fourth dimension.  He was  sympathetic to communism, to the l i q u i d a t i o n  of private property but, as he himself queried, a f t e r that what?  He  describes Dostoievsky as having had  D. H. Lawrence, The Rainbow (N.Y.: The Viking Press, 1961), p. 3.  94  'no truck' with p o l i t i c s , ancient or modern. Not only i s he not concerned with them or interested i n them but i n a very profound sense he i s host i l e to them--one and all.' What we draw from h i s whole a t t i t u d e to l i f e , i s a tone, a mood, a temper that refuses to take p o l i t i c s s e r i o u s l y . 1 1  The c a p i t a l i s t - f i g u r e s i n Powys's novels, such as P h i l i p Crow and Dog Cattistock, are also b l i n d to the breathing, s t i r r i n g universe.  In f a c t ,  they attempt to exploit t h e i r environments, "to turn upon the inanimate 12 Matter of the underground  and reduce i t to (their) w i l l . "  In Wolf Solent, A Glastonbury Romance and Maiden Castle, Powys delineates p r i n c i p a l l y two ways i n which one can l i v e most f u l l y in.the universe.  One mode of f u l f i l l m e n t i s that of the ichthyosaurus-ego, the  other that of the magician.  (Wolf Solent and Maiden Castle emphasize the  former mode, A Glastonbury Romance emphasizes the l a t t e r . ) commit himself f u l l y to either way. values which are sacred to him.  Powys does not  Nor need he do so to emphasize the  Both the ichthyosaurus-ego and the mag-  i c i a n are aware of that plane of existence to which most people are o b l i v ious.  Both deny the Apparition of Modern Invention, the i d e a l of progress  and other aspects of modern l i f e which o b l i t e r a t e the 'ecstasy of the unbounded.  F i n a l l y , both l i v e according to the maxim, Not on the vulgar mass Called "work," must sentence p a s s . 13  Thus, although no one facet of h i s l i f e - i l l u s i o n p r e v a i l s i n the three novels, Powys does exhibit a strong bias with respect to h i s material.  11  Dostoievsky,  p. 107.  12  D.  13  R o b e r t Browning,  H. Lawrence,  Women i n Love (Eng.: "Rabbi Ben Ezra".  Penguin, 1960), pp. 256-7.  95 He does not present h i s v i s i o n homogeneously i n h i s novels; however, h i s central characters, ichthyosaurus-egos and magicians, integrate i n their own ways animate and inanimate, seen and unseen, temporal and eternal. They are s e n s i t i v e to the fourth dimension which ultimately i s Powys's shibboleth.  Without being dogmatic Powys's novels inveigh against the  following: the disappearance of the simple and natural from most people's l i v e s a l together; the rapid mechanization, organization, l e v e l l i n g - o u t and l e v e l ling-down of existence, the elimination of distance, grandeur; the loss of contact with those mysterious processes which are outside and before and a f t e r human s o c i e t y . - ^ Despite h i s r e f u s a l to acknowledge Powys's concern for the a r t and method of h i s novels, H. P. C o l l i n s concludes John Cowper Powys:  Old  Earth Man with an eloquent plea for the enhancement of Powys's stature as a novelist.  C o l l i n s writes that because Powys incorporates the super-  natural and the inanimate and because he describes psychic and physical t e r r a i n s that are untouched by other modern n o v e l i s t s , Powys has increased the range of the novel. I t may be f a i r l y claimed that John Cowper has gone back and refounded the novel of to-day at a deeper l e v e l , b u i l d i n g on a more v i t a l sense of a l l l i f e , importing more of the poet's imagination, greater reverence, and more mysterious awareness of the ultra-natural.15  14jphn Cowper Powys: 15  Ibid.,  p. 211.  Old Earth Man,  p. 208.  SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY  PRIMARY WORKS  Powys, John Cowper. . (March, 1932),  Autobiography.  London:  The Bodley Head, 1934.  "The Creation of Romance."  Modern Thinker,  I  74-76. .  Dostoievsky. London:  J. Lane, 1946.  .  The Enjoyment of L i t e r a t u r e .  .  A Glastonbury Romance.  .  In Defence of Sensuality.  New York:  Simon and  Schuster, 1938. London:  The Bodley Head,  1933. New York:  Simon and  Schuster, 1930. Maiden Castle.  Hamilton, New York:  Colgate U.  Press, 1966. .  The Meaning of Culture.  .  Weymouth Sands.  .  Wolf Solent.  New York:  W. W. Norton,  1929. London:  Macdonald, 1963.  England:. Penguin, 1964.  SECONDARY WORKS  Anderson, Arthur J. "John Cowper Powys: A Bibliography." Bibliography, X X V (Sept., 1967), 73-78, 94. Aury, Dominique. "Reading Powys." (Jan. , 1963) , 33-37. Cavaliero, Glen. May 25, 1968.  "Wolf Solent."  B u l l e t i n of  Review of English L i t e r a t u r e , IV  Paper read before the Powys Society,  C o l l i n s , H. P. John Cowper Powys: R o c k l i f f , 1966.  Old Earth Man.  London:  Barrie and  97 Going, Margaret Elizabeth Moorer. John Cowper Powys, Novelist. Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, 1955. Hewitt, C h r i s t i a n Blancard. The Novels of John Cowper Powys. Michigan: University Microfilms, 1961. Hopkins, Kenneth. The Powys Brothers: London: Phoenix House, 1967.  Ann  Ann Arbor,  A Biographical Appreciation.  Knight, G. Wilson. "Lawrence, Joyce and Powys." XI (1961), 403-17. The Saturnian Quest.  Essays i n C r i t i c i s m ,  New York:  Barnes and Noble,  1964. . (1955),  "The Scholar Gipsy."  Review of English Studies, VI  53-62.  Langridge, Derek. John Cowper Powys; The Library Association, 1966.  A Record of Achievement.  P r i e s t l e y , J. B. "The Happy I n t r o v e r t , " IV (Jan. , 1963), 25-32. Rhys, Ernest.  Romance.  New York:  London:  Review of English L i t e r a t u r e ,  E. P. Dutton,  1913.  R o b i l l a r d , Douglas. "Landscape with Figures: The Early f i c t i o n of John Cowper Powys." Studies i n the L i t e r a r y Imagination, I (Oct., 1968), 51-58. Smith, M. "Introduction" to "The Magician Figure i n the Novels of John Cowper Powys." Diss., Carleton U., May 1967. Wilson, Angus. "'Mythology' i n John Cowper Powys." L i t e r a t u r e , IV (Jan., 1963), 9-20.  Review of English  

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
http://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.831.1-0102168/manifest

Comment

Related Items