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

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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 in the Department of English We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Apr i l , 1970 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumb i a , I a g ree tha t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s tudy . I f u r t h e r agree tha p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y pu rpo se s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f g M f ? T - r S » The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date March 24, 1970 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 liv i n g in that universe. The magician, the ichthyosaurus-ego, the saint and the sadist are anthropomor-phized facets of what Powys f e l t was his own composite nature. Each has his own way of coming to terms with his environment. Then, I attempted to show that, in his novels at any rate, Powys's concern is a r t i s t i c not philosophical or prophetic. He does not advocate one specific way of l i f e such as that offered in In Defence of Sensuality. Only in the last few pages of A Glastonbury Romance does he eschew his per-sonae for a personal statement about the ineradicable nature of a certain kind of response to the universe. However, in the greater part of A Glas- tonbury Romance, and in Wolf Solent and Maiden Castle, Powys is chiefly con-cerned with situating his characters, the autonomized fragments of his own character, in Glastonbury, Dorset and Dorchester. He explores the reactions of these characters to the milieu in which they are placed. My investiga-tion of the themes of the three novels and their relationship to the novels' structures reinforces my contention that Powys's emphasis is not on the narrow formulation of a life-way. A Glastonbury Romance probes the responses of the magician, ichthyosaurus-ego, saint and sadist to that aspect of existence which the Grail represents—the unseen, the s c i e n t i f i c a l l y unverifiable. Wolf Solent examines the convoluted state of an ichthyosaurus-ego who learns to simply accept the universe. Maiden Castle is a hybrid of Wolf Solent and A Glas- tonbury Romance. It combines the focus on the ichthyosaurus-ego with the multiple perspectives of that aspect of existence represented by the powers of Maiden Castle. i i Though both the magician and ichthyosaurus-ego display a p a r t i a l i n a b i l i t y to cope with quotidien events, they seem most aware of a l l the dimensions of Powys's universe. Consequently, the three novels dwell for the most part on the responses of the ichthyosaurus-ego and the magician. Powys does not resolve which of the two ways i s most v i a b l e ; however, he does espouse that facet of both of them which accepts a l i v i n g cosmos, a non-mechanistic world redolent of the fourth dimension, that aspect of existence which cannot be r a t i o n a l l y apprehended. TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I CHAPTER II CHAPTER III CHAPTER IV CHAPTER V BIBLIOGRAPHY Page Introduction 1 Wolf Solent 20 A Glastonbury Romance 41 I. The Novel as Romance 41 II. The Town and People as Characters 55 Maiden Castle 69 Conclusion 90 96 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Angus Wilson writes that "a view of l i f e , however unusual, does not make a worthwhile writer. It is only because Powys's view illuminates the world so extraordinarily in his 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 life-view they reflect but also be-cause of the s k i l l with which that view is immersed in the novels. That i s , Powys's idiosyncratic philosophy of l i f e should be accorded consider-ation no matter how good the novel in which i t is found. I f the ideology, which is forcefully stated in his quasi-philosophical tracts such as A Philosophy of Solitude, The Art of Happiness and In Defence of Sensuality", provides a viable 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. If, however, our concern is with John Cowper Powys, the novelist, we must shift our emphasis. Indeed, careful study of his novels does this for us. Wolf Solent, A Glastonbury Romance and Maiden Castle are not un-mitigated tracts for the golden age or the rediscovery of the Welsh 'es-plumeoir 1 envisioned by Johnny Geard or Uryen Quirm; nor do they lionize Angus Wilson, "John Cowper Powys," New Statesman, October 26, 1962. 2 that character in the novels whom we may c a l l the Powys-figure because phy-s i ca l ly and temperamentally he reminds one of Powys, himself, the self-c r i t i c a l Powys of Autobiography. My contention is that, though the senti-ment of the novels is directed against something speci f ic-rat iocinat ive , materia l i s t ic modern man^-and though the novels posit two different ways of f u l f i l l i n g oneself in reaction to a technological society, their main con-cern is not philosophical. The novels do not define specific ways of l i v -ing in the universe. They contain characters whose life-ways are tested by their physical environments and by the other characters who people the world Powys created. The focus in Wolf Solent and Maiden Castle is on the Powys-figure who l ives simply in the universe, achieving sol i tary f u l f i l l -ment; the focus in A Glastonbury Romance is on the magician figure who wishes to l ive a l i f e beyond the one he l ive s , who is aware of and seeks to real ize a different plane of existence. Nonetheless, the three novels contain a whole range of responses to what Powys feels is a variegated universe, one in which "the mystery of mysteries is Personality, a l i v i n g Person; and there is that in Personality which is indetermined, unaccount-able, changing every second."1 (A Glastonbury Romance, ch. 21, p. 693). Also , though each novel ends with a celebration of ant i -rat ional , ant i-mechanistic values, each one has a theme of larger scope. Wolf Solent, for example, deals with the loss of the protagonist's se l f righteousness. Con-comitant with this is his acceptance of the universe and his Wordsworthian animistic re lat ion to i t . A Glastonbury Romance explores the diverse re-sponses to that mystical element of l i f e which people believe in in varying degrees. Maiden Castle combines the focus of the aforementioned two books, describing the reactions of a number of characters to what Powys cal ls the fourth dimension,that aspect of existence which cannot be assessed tangi-bly. This novel is especially concerned with the stance of the Powys-figure and the extent to which he sympathizes with this facet of existence. In this thesis, then, I propose to show that Powys is a conscious and conscientious craftsman, a writer of f i c t i o n whose primary impulse is to probe the views of l i f e that the whole range of characters who people his novels have. The novels enhance Powys's stature not as a stoic or hedonist philosopher but as the creator of a world. In "The Creation of Romance" Powys poses the question "What is 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 in this case the l i f e of a particular spot upon the earth's s u r f a c e . T h e atmosphere, the milieu of Glastonbury i s , in fact, richly 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 is merely writing a f i c t i o n a l In Defence of Sensuality in which he formulates the precepts by which one is to live. Derek S. Savage is wildly wrong when, in an a-side on Powys in his book The Withered Branch, he accuses him of present-ing the cult of sensuality didactically. This presentation, presupposing a settled basis of formulated experience, distinguishes him from those who are themselves s p i r i t u a l l y involved in a process of turning towards nature as a release from the burdens and strains of the distinctively human l i f e which is frustrated by the con-ditions of the modern world. 3 In Autobiography, a spiritual autobiography not unlike The Prelude, Powys John Cowper Powys, "The Creation of Romance," in Modern Thinker, I (March, 1932), 74-76. Derek S. Savage, The Withered Branch: Six Studies in the Modern Novel (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1950), p. 107. traces his own reaction against and release from the modern world. More-over, one of his creations, Wolf Solent, has to find a Wordsworthian es-cape route into nature and another of his characters, Dud No-man, learns a great deal about a similar l i f e - i l l u s i o n that he holds onto throughout Maiden Castle. Powys's interest in A Glastonbury Romance as well as Wolf  Solent and Maiden Castle is not restricted to a single kind of response to l i f e . Powys achieves his range by presenting a variety 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 vision, of Lawrence. Powys's conclusions about the art of Dostoievsky's novel writing in Dostoievsky, his c r i t i c a l examination of the Russian's work, are valu-able because Powys, in his published works at any rate, is rarely concern-ed with aesthetics, with novels as works of art. For Powys, Dostoievsky is the world's greatest novelist. What is surprising is that Powys accords him this honour partly because Dostoievsky is a conscious mystifier, one who distorts his l i f e vision. ...since his f i r s t great purpose is to convince his readers that his i n -vented world is a world of 'real r e a l i t y ' , a world intimately, psychically and magnetically connected with the immediate actual world that these same readers know only too well in .their own experience, he must deliberately as- a good craftsman i n the most subtle craft that exists, obscure and side-track his ideal thoughts, saw, hack, lop and disfigure the beautifully bal-anced branches of his long cherished metaphysical entelechies, and, above a l l , never allow his own passionate, mystical, secret, personal vision of l i f e to s a i l prosperously with a l l i t s flags flying 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 novelist who avers that "Everything a writer writes is of.necessity propaganda; propaganda for his personal view of human values, his person-al 'Philosophy of l i f e " ' " ' seems to want to impart his own l i f e - v i s i o n too urgently, too immediately to diffuse or obscure his message. Yet in Wolf  Solent, A Glastonbury Romance and Maiden Castle, Powys does not permit his 'personal vision of l i f e to s a i l prosperously with a l l i t s flags flying 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 Christie Malakite rebuke Wolf Solent for his inadequacies as a man; Wizzie Ravelston and Thuella Wye mock Dud No-man for his masculine short-comings. The men's spiritual and cosmic impulses are always counterbalanced by the less ethereal concerns of the women: the erotic emotions, when they brim over from the masculine s p i r i t , extri-cate themselves, as women's feelings never do, from the bitter-sweet honey-comb of Nature, and shoot off, 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 in their attempts to realize their l i f e - v i s i o n s ; the former is committed to Dr. Brush's asylum, the latter is j i l t e d by a sensuous g i r l who reminds one of Wizzie and Gerda. In an unpublished paper read to the Powys •-Society 5John Cowper Powys, "Introduction," A Bibliography of the Fir s t Editions  of John Cowper Powys, ed. Lloyd Emerson Siberell (Cincinnati: The Ailanthus Press, 1934), p. 12. 6 Glen Cavaliero argues that Wolf Solent " i s a critique as well as a defence of the individualistic l i f e , and makes no glib or confident moral judge-ments. There is a beautifully held balance of values." Truly, Powys's concern, in the novels I w i l l examine, is 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 his characters hold,^ not to propound his l i f e i l l u s i o n or to allow "his 'main idea', however deep, however original, however illumin-ating, to be triumphantly crowned in the midst of a fi n a l grand cosmogonic Q transformation Scene like the principal g i r l in a Christian Pantomime."0 It is only at the end of A Glastonbury Romance that one gets Powys's vision d i s t i l l e d ; only in that l y r i c a l passage after the death of Johnny Geard does he not disguise 'the beautifully balanced branches of his long cherished metaphysical entelechies'. Yet the novel i t s e l f is not undermined. Though A Glastonbury Romance momentarily shifts i t s fo-cus from the town and i t s effect on the inhabitants to Powys's affirma-tion that the unknown dimension of l i f e w i l l not be undermined by the forces of science and technology, primarily and magnificently i t evokes Glastonbury's atmospheric presence. Despite his disrespect for Tolstoi because the Russian is an a r t i s t of the normal, because he is seemingly impervious to the unknown dimension, Powys emulates Tolstoi in some important respects. An un-hurried writer, he shifts his point of view flui d l y from character to 'Glen Cavaliero, "Wolf Solent". Paper read before the Powys Society, May 25, 1968. One's l i f e - i l l u s i o n i s his individual way of coming to terms with his environment. 'Dostoievsky, p. 100. 7 character, and is a l l of his fic t i o n a l creations. Sympathetically enter-ing them, he creates f u l l characters as different ,as Rodney Loder and Mad Bet and John Crow. He does not scorn Dog 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 is indul-gent towards anyone as long as that person's tao or life-way involves no cruelty. Of a pathetically self-conscious aristocrat in Maiden Castle, Powys writes: Providence in depriving the poor man of every human g i f t but that of being a gentleman had endowed this virtue 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 his reach....Between his self-conscious boot-soles and this particular carpet a feudal relation had already established i t -self which compelled a l l the other boots in the room to recognize the pre-sence of some subtle privilege. (Maiden Castle ch. 5, p. 219). Powys is as accommodating and considerate in describing this gentleman as is the waiter in shielding that man from the intrusion 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 his discriminating napkin." (Maiden  Castle ch. 5, p. 225). Sensitive to the multiplicity of responses pos-sible in a variegated universe, and to the contradictions inherent in them a l l , Powys, especially in A Glastonbury Romance, achieves the range that Tolstoi does in Anna Karenina. To get the range of characterization I have credited him with, Powys went for the most part to the different ways of l i v i n g that in varying degrees made up his own l i f e - i l l u s i o n . That i s , Powys objectifies each strand of his own nature, creating whole characters from these frag-ments. In Autobiography, written immediately before Maiden Castle and a few years after Wolf Solent and A Glastonbury Romance, Powys described the components of his modus vivendi, his way of liv i n g in the universe. 8 Unless 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 of a compound, less s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y than i t used to be, but not even yet e n t i r e l y harmonized, of f i v e rather discordant elements. I w i l l name them i n the order i n which, at the present moment, I f e e l them to be more or less dominant. They resolve themselves into a desire to enjoy the cosmos, a desire to appease my Conscience, a desire to play the part of a Magician, a desire to play the part of a Helper, and f i n a l l y a desire to s a t i s f y my Viciousness.9 To those f a m i l i a r with Powys's novels, each element he names of h i s l i f e -i l l u s i o n i s e a s i l y i d e n t i f i a b l e with s p e c i f i c characters. Wolf Solent, John Crow and Dud No-man l i v e s o l e l y to enjoy the cosmos on t h e i r own terms though each has qualms about the v a l i d i t y of h i s approach to l i f e ; Johnny Geard, Sylvanus Cobbold and Uryen Quirm are magicians; Sam Dekker, Claudius Cask and Darnley Otter are helpers; Owen Evans i s an u n w i l l i n g s a d i s t . Even the mundane communists, Red Robinson and Dave Spear, re-f l e c t that facet of Powys's nature which r e j e c t s p r i v a t e property. Of course, because of t h e i r wholehearted devotion to communism, t h e i r at-tempt to make i t the e s s e n t i a l part of t h e i r l i f e - i l l u s i o n s , they are somewhat p i t i a b l e figures. Powys's i n d i v i d u a l s are not just v i t a l cogs i n a machine; moreover, h i s universe i s not a machine. Paternally com-menting on Dave Spear's inadequacy to deal with people, p a r t i c u l a r l y h i s wife, Powys omnisciently writes that Spear "was free that night to read h i s A t l a n t i s book t i l l the candle i n Dickery Cantle's t h i r d back bedroom burnt to the socket. But he read only three pages. I t i s hard to be im-personal i n a cosmos that runs to p e r s o n a l i t y . " (A Glastonbury Romance ch. 26, p. 909). The most important feature of Powys's l i f e - i l l u s i o n at the time he wrote Wolf Solent, A Glastonbury Romance and Maiden Castle was h i s 9 John Cowper Powys, Autobiography (London: John Lane, 1934), pp. 6-7. 9 desire to enjoy the cosmos. It is despite an inherently manichean universe that Powys resolves to be happy. He entitles his philosophy one of "In-spite"; "for i t is in spite of the blows dealt him by chance and fate that the individual resolves to be happy whatever may befall."1° Believing firmly in parthenogenesis, the a b i l i t y of man to create his own world, Powys also recognized that man must u t i l i z e his power to forget and anni-hilate unpleasant memories. Powys's happy man is essentially a pragmatist. In a chaotic uni-verse, he must withdraw into his own consciousness shutting out what is alien to his nature and rejecting momentarily the 'merely human'. Though he has to fight to achieve the conditions necessary for happiness, his actual ecstatic sensation is passive rather than active. "By remaining absolutely s t i l l , and simply contemplating what is immediately around us, we f u l f i l l the ultimate purpose of our l i v i n g . A l w a y s the. contemplative moments.' These are sacred moments akin to Eliot's epiphanies in which is apprehended "the point of intersection of the timeless/with time,"-'-2 and Wordsworth's spots of time in which, Though inland far we be, Our souls have sight of that immortal sea Which brought us hither, Can in a moment travel thither, And see the Children sport upon the shore, And hear the mighty waters r o l l i n g evermore.^ John Cowper Powys, In Defence of Sensuality (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930), p. 186 XIbid., p. 72. 2T. S. E l i o t , "Four Quartets," in Collected Poems: 1909-1962 (London: Faber and Faber, 1963), p. 212. 3 William Wordsworth, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality," in The Prelude  and Selected Poems and Sonnets, ed. by Carlos Baker (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston), p. 157. 10 Powys, in In Defence of Sensuality, calls the man able to enjoy these mo-ments, the ichthyosaurus-ego. He is that person who seeks happiness for himself. He does this by reverting to primitive l i f e in his redemptive, contemplative moments. He "feels himself backward, down the long series of his avatars, into the earlier planetary l i f e of animals, birds, and reptiles, 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 birds. For Powys, the whole universe is alive. I t is "simply a vast congeries of li v i n g Bodies and Souls, each one of whom is in contact with dimensions of existence transcending both Time and S p a c e . T h e ichthyo-saurus-ego's reaction to this universe is not to r o l l in the responsive vegetation that Birkin gives himself up to in Women in Love; his reaction is more cerebral. He enjoys that malleable body, the universe, contempla-tively. In this way he merges with plants and a l l i e s himself with the so-called inanimate part of the earth. The self, employing i t s imaginative w i l l , encounters the not-self in which everything is implicit; " i t can unweave our whole human l i f e tapestry. It can work back, down through a l l the aeons and a l l the avatars, into the original primum mobile...' l^xn Defence of Sensuality, p. 99. 1 5 I b i d . , p. 208. 1 6 I b i d . , p. 249. 1 7 I b i d . , p. 292. 11 The ichthyosaurus-ego is selfi s h to the extent that the moments of fulfillment that he experiences are achieved only i n solitude. It is only by, this feeling of loneliness that we can escape the gregari-ous warmth of the crowd, that murderous enemy of a l l deep joy, and detach ourself from the fever of human ideals. It is only by this feeling of loneliness that we can annihilate 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 indestructible ec-stasy of l i f e . The way of the saint, though i t is antithetical to that of the ichthyosaurus-ego ideologically, i s like i t temperamentally. In both cases action is subordinate to contemplation. "For even while the saint acts, pursuing so obstinately the happiness of others, his mind is forever fixed upon that sadness of pity, that mental image of suffering Love which he has taken as his i d e a l . T h e apotheosis of the saint aligns himself with Christ not with God (or, the Fir s t Cause). He renounces happiness as the purpose in l i f e . Subordinating personal desires, he lives "with the sole and single object of relieving the suffering of other beings, and of on increasing the happiness of other beings." dualistic nature, the sadist has submerged a l l the good. Despite the voyeuristic 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 erotic feelings to their depths."^l Also, Powys believed in the projection of creative or destructive psychic eidola. Consequently, though his most sadistic acts were to cut up some Whereas the saint has eradicated a l l the e v i l inherent in his 18. Ibid.., pp. 312-3. 19 Ibid p. 231. • 9 2 0 I b i d p. 275. 21 Autobiography, p. 190. worms and to k i l l some young birds, he f e l t that just thinking of more heinous crimes could influence the perverse thoughts of others. Just as horrifying to Powys were the acts of cruelty that others did actually per-petrate. Vivisection and those who practise that sadistic pursuit (for example, Dr. Brush and the other staff members of what the people of Weymouth called 'Hell's Museum') are the recipients of some of Powys's most denunciatory prose. Powys, however, most successfully objectified that sadistic aspect of himself in Owen Evans of A Glastonbury Romance. Powys treats him sympathetically because Evans genuinely struggles against the cruelty inherent i n him. Only when he is confronted with a sadistic act is that yearning of his, to see someone h i t with an iron bar, s t i l l e d . Out of his desire to play the part of a Magician, Powys created some memorable magician-figures. Differentiating them from ichthyosaurus-egos, Powys wrote that "the desire to be a Magician, that is to say to exercise a certain super-natural control over my destiny and that of others did not completely coincide with the pure, unadulterated enjoyment of sen-suous feelings surrounded by an aura of obscure memories."22 The magic-ian's contact with nature is ultimately a vehicle to some deeper reality; the contact of Powys.'s happy man with the earth, on the contrary, is more immediate and organic. Sylvanus Cobbold shovels dung and Uryen Quirm press es his forehead to the earth in order to get closer to the paradisal under-world which, in Welsh terminology, is called ANNWN. Wolf Solent and Dud No-man dig their walking sticks into the earth to feel the mysterious rap-port between themselves and inanimate objects. They receive rich Ibid., p. 7. 13 history-laden emanations from this contact but they do not use them to try to break onto the different plane of existence that the magicians wish to embrace. The magician figures, Quirm, Cobbold and Johnny Geard are uni-ted in their attempt to break through to, or realize, a c i v i l i z a t i o n and an ideal greater than those found in their own.age. At the end of A Glas-tonbury Romance, Powys reveals that this golden age is not rooted tempor-' al l y or spatially; nor is i t static. Indeed, that force which b u i l t Mai-den Castle and Stonehenge w i l l build other noble civ i l i z a t i o n s . It i s the power of the golden age, "the creative principle, wronged by four thousand years of misguided progress." 2 3 The great goddess Cybele, whose forehead is crowned with the Turrets of the Impossible, moves through the generations from one twilight to another; and of her long journeying from cult to cult, from shrine to shrine, from revelation to revelation, there is no end. (A Glastonbury Romance, ch. 30, p. 1172). The prototype for these paradises, though, is that Celtic concept of the earthly Elysium, Annwn. "Annwn is a wonderful is a place where a bountiful nature provides food from the trees and music from the birds, and there is nothing but peace. "2^" Powys's magicians live or approach this Utopia inwardly as well as externally. Uryen Quirm, for example, had a 'Hiraeth', a Welsh word for Uryen's straining, "that longing, that yearning, that craving, that madness to break through." (Maiden Castle, ch. 9, p. 467). Uryen, 2 3G. Wilson Knight, The Saturnian Quest (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1964), p. 55. 2^Morine Smith, "The Magician Figure in the Novels of John Cowper Powys." M.A. Diss. , Carleton U., May 1967. 14 because he wrote about this desire for money and was, consequently, a l l i e d with "the sly children of gold and of burning, turning the dew of darkness into e v i l , " (Maiden Castle, ch. 9, p. 468) destroyed his chance of ever seeing ' i t ' (Annwn) " i n my soul...where the only reality do bide." (Maiden  Castle, ch. 9, p. 468). Thus, although cults such as those which formed around Stonehenge and Maiden Castle are spatio-temporal ideals, the magi-cian can liv e the golden age internally. The drive with which he 'breaks through' is a sublimated sex-urge. Sylvanus Cobbold l i e s beside but does not cohabit with Marret Jones. By holding her, he generates energy which he uses to approach his ideal state. Uryen Quirm says: Don't you see what force there is in ste r i l e love? Why, my dear boy, i t ' s the strongest force there i s ! Rampant desire unfulfilled--why, there is nothing i t can't do. Stir up sex t i l l i t would put out the sun and then keep i t st e r i l e ; that's the trick. That's the grand trick of a l l spiritual l i f e . (Maiden Castle, ch. 6, p. 252). Again, the magician and ichthyosaurus-ego put an idiosyncratic Powys ex-perience to different uses. In Autobiography, Powys alludes to the sensa-tions of impersonal lust which for him, were more gratifying sexually than actual sexual intercourse. Being disgusted with what to him were the grosser aspects of normal sexuality, he was stirred 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. It is important to realize that the mystics represent just one facet of Powys and one fragment, albeit an important one, of the novels. Maiden Castle and Weymouth' Sands do not culminate in the installation of the prophet-king. Indeed, Sylvanus i s judged insane by his townspeople as is Uryen, in some senses, by his son. In A Glastonbury Romance, Johnny Geard does become a prophet-king, spiritual and t i t u l a r leader of Glastonbury. Nonetheless, he loses interest in the town and haggling over technicalities of his disciples. Rejecting the mantle of prophet, (he never was interested in his mayoralty role) he seeks, in death, a fulfillment too burdensome in l i f e . A l l the magicians, in 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 be-came another of the novels' centers is his desire to appease his consci-ence . 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 refrain 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 li v e a l i f e made up sole-ly and entirely of sensual-mystical sensations. 2^ The intervention of his conscience greatly modifies the direction of his novels. Powys's awareness of the flaws in his selfish sensation-seekers provides him with the detachment with which he writes about even the Powys-figures. Wolf Solent, for example, is more than a mere f i c t i v e s e l f -portrait of Powys. Wolf stands in relation to Powys the way Stephen Dudalus stands in relation to Joyce in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Powys is in control of his art—he is detached sufficiently from Wolf, and from Dud No-man, to view them ironically. He recognizes how inadequate their lives are in certain respects. One f i n a l piece of background information which must be given in Powys's cosmic view of the universe. The kind of universe that Powys's characters respond to is less open to alternatives than the way in which they come to terms with i t . His overview is a donne', deduced empirically Autobiography, p. 7. 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 in the image of the Firs t Cause who smacks of Aquinas's unmoved mover. As he w i l l do over and over in the novels and essays, Powys asserts that the First Cause is dualistic, being composed of both good and e v i l . As he says in In Defence of Sensuality, because each man is a microcosm of the First Cause, i t is not to be worshipped-on the contrary, i t s good is to be loved, i t s e v i l hated. "In the depths of our consciousness we are forever fighting to overcome our own tendency to cruelty and to obliter-ate the tendency to cruelty in the First Cause." Only on an individual plane is the cosmos an image of the Firs t Cause. In i t s entirety i t is heterogeneous, a multiverse "made up of nothing else than the...struggling to-gether of endless conscious, semi-conscious, demi-semi-conscious entit-i e s . " 2 7 Powys's cosmic view is a curious one. It is ultimately static not kinetic. The universe or multiverse, is a fluctuating, dynamic organ-ism whose motion is arrested by our consciousnesses and wills. Powys dismisses the term stream-of-consciousness as inaccurate. Instead, he argues that our wills constantly change the objects that our consciousnesses hold momentarily in patterns. The fluctuating masses of sensation are devoured by 26in Defence of Sensuality, pp. 306-7. 2 7 I b i d . , p. 247. 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 a l i v i n g and very magnetic thought-goblin whose will-power is continually deciding which of these retina-colours and retina-shadows shall be compelled to transfer themselves to the mirror or be removed from the mirror. The objects devoured by the Eye have, in themselves, similar Eyes and similar wills which are, of course, dualistic. They are both good-evil and creative-destructive. This is important to Powys's philosophy. For him, "the course of every natural phenomenon is personal--the 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 Firs t Cause is a person-a l i t y who is capable of projecting waves of creative and destructive energy and whose vision and happiness depend on i t s free w i l l . Powys's belief that a l l beings and a l l things have the power to create their own worlds sets him apart from those, like Wallace Stevens, whose vision is anthropomorphic. This study of the theme and structure of Wolf Solent, A Glas-tonbury Romance and Maiden Castle w i l l reveal' how viable the autonomized fragments of Powys's own nature are. It w i l l reveal the fullness and rich-ness of these novels. I reiterate that these novels do not f i c t i v e l y echo the philosophy articulated in, for example, In Defence of Sensuality. The happy man Powys delineates there comes to terms in the novels with much more than his contemplative ecstasies. He is challenged by others attemp-ting to lead lives different than but as meaningful as his own. Angus Wilson feels that Powys's thought is modified by a fundamental scepticism 2 8 I b i d . , p. 196. 29 Autobiography, p. 55. 18 which is "quite peculiar in so far as i t s function i s not the negative desire to reject but the positive unwillingness to exclude the innumer-30 able facets of thought or feeling that attach to any person or event." Wilson realizes this quality helps determine the form and content of the novels. Powys's efforts, then, "to tone down his personal ideology and 31 muffle the oars of his private metaphysical lifeboat," and to assess the shocks his ideal man suffers in incompatible surroundings preclude that ideology being the shaping force of the novels. And i t is 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 internal ordering. Structure here includes "any pattern such as symmetry, recurrence, rhythm, similarity, 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 in Wolf Solent and the stones of Stonehenge in A Glastonbury Romance are examples of such a pattern. In her unpublished thesis entitled John Cowper Powys, Novelist, Margaret Going frequently states how Powys should have altered his novels to achieve unity. This violates the basic dictum that understanding a poem or novel means understanding the whole of i t . Northrop Frye writes that the reader must surrender his 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' in John Cowper Powys's Novels." A Review of  English Literature, IV (1963), 9-20. Dostoievsky, p. 140. i K. Newell, Structure in Four Novels by H.G. Wells (Netherlands: Mouton, 1968), p. 7. 19 novels reveal their own unity. Even A Glastonbury Romance is a single work of art; the characters of that novel, though, are important only i n -sofar as they relate to Glastonbury. 20 CHAPTER II WOLF SOLENT Structurally, the novel Wolf Solent presents no d i f f i c u l t i e s . I t opens with Wolf travelling by train to Ramsgard in Dorset and rumina-ting on the events which led him to return to Dorset as well as the things he expects to encounter there. He also dwells on his 'mythology', "a device that supplied him with the secret substratum of his whole l i f e , (I. 19). The question which he only hazily and inwardly articulates is 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 half-reality and drop great stones of real reality—drop them and lodge them—hard, brutal material stones—down there among those dark wat-ers and that mental foliage. (I. 21). This question is really the starting point for what happens to Wolf—and what happens to Wolf is what happens in the novel as a whole. The people whom he encounters and the events he is involved in do alter his mythology. Indeed, they destroy i t and nearly drive him to suicide. Although he does recover, his earlier feelings are not restored. With the recognition that his happiness w i l l be a different happiness than that his mythology provi-ded, the novel closes. Wolf Solent, then, is a bildungsroman; i t traces the inner l i f e of the hero through the vicissitudes of his Dorset encount-ers. The structure, homogeneous with the content, is linear. The action is not diffuse; the other characters are considered mostly in their immed-iate relation to Wolf. A l l quotations from Wolf Solent are from the Penguin edition (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 idio-syncracies. It is structurally 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 frag-ments.) "The more direct impact of Wolf Solent owes much to the fact that the author's views are mainly concentrated in Wolf and not splintered off among a number of interacting characters, as in Jobber Skald (Weymouth  Sands) for instance. Wolf Solent contains none of the occultism of the later Powys obsessed by Welsh mysticism. (Nonetheless, i t incipiently contains this fascination--Christie is attributed to be a descendant of Merlin.) The novel i s , however, a d i f f i c u l t one. One would have to con-cur with Angus Wilson, one of those few who champion Powys, when he says that a writer receiving scant attention is 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, is an enormously complex novel. Written out of Wolf's subjective center, i t is concerned with the fluctua-tions of the man's conscious mind. And these are rather esoteric states of mind that are charted. Wolf's mythology is identifiable with the state of Powys's ichthyosaurus-ego. Wolf himself is "a megalomaniac of l i f e -sensation. He is 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, is the idio-H. P. Collins, John Cowper Powys: Old Earth Man (London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1966), pp. 70-1. In Defence of Sensuality, p. 90. 22 syricratic view of the role he has to play in the cosmic struggle of good and e v i l . This is the magician's side of Wolf's nature. A protagonist in the battle against e v i l , he attempts to exercise supernatural control over his own and other's destiny. Defeated in this internal struggle, he loses his whole l i f e - i l l u s i o n . Wolf's recovery is only a partial one. "The supernatural i t s e l f had vanished from his mind." (631). Turning his back on the magician's way, he contents himself with an animistic relation-ship with nature, the state of the incipient ichthyosaurus-ego at home in the universe. Although his moments of contemplative ecstasy are destroy-ed, Wolf loses his self-righteousness. In addition, to comprehend the process that Wolf's mind undergoes from ichthyosaurus-ego with i t s off-shoot, internal participation in a struggle between good and e v i l , to a corporeal intimate of nature is 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 reality Powys eschewedfor his revelation. Assessing the broader implications of the novel's internal focus, Glen Cavaliero writes, "If i t is 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 is not proferred untarnished in his novels. In A Glastonbury Romance and Maiden Castle i t is fragmented. In Wolf Solent, i t gives way to a less occult, less cerebral life-way. Given his later mystical, visionary novels, one cannot see in Powys the Wolf at the end of the novel who discovers, like Wordsworth discovered, "that certain 'Intimations of Immortality' had to take a narrower, a simpler form, as the years advanced.'" (25.631). Like Dud No-man, Wolf rejects the supernatural: 'If I can't enjoy l i f e , ' he thought 'with absolute childish 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 his powers flag--he is not a mystic. One of the last things Powys wrote before he died was a preface to Wolf Solent. It is a jerky, somewhat confused account of the nostalgia out of which the novel was written and of the purpose of the book. What might be called the purpose and essence and inmost being of this book is the necessity of opposites. Life and Death, Good and E v i l , Matter and S p i r i t , Body and Soul, Reality 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 solid entities have to disolve, i f they are to outlast their momentary appearance, into atmosphere.^ However, although the major conflict is the "supernatural struggle going in the abysses (of Wolf's consciousness), with the Good and the E v i l so sharply opposed" (25.632), the resolution of the novel is not in terms of these opposites. Wolf learns that l i f e is more complex than the polariza-tion of Good and E v i l f i r s t led him to believe. He learns to re-establish himself in his body, to immerse himself in nature, which he had hitherto been avoiding. 5 John Cowper Powys "Preface" to Wolf Solent (England: Penguin, 1961), p. 9. 24 Though his protagonist recognizes his mind has been diseased, Powys has written a novel exploring what for him is 'the mystery of con-sciousness. ' Like Henry James before him, Powys was concerned not with outward action but with the internalization and assimilation of the ex-ternal. Not objects, but the feelings that one associate with the objects are important. James captured the texture of the mind thusly in "The Art of Fiction": Experience is never limited, and i t is never complete; i t is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider web of the finest silken threads sus-pended in the chambers of the consciousness, and catching every air-born particle i n i t s tissue. It is the very atmosphere of the mind.^ Similarly,"; Virginia Woolf writes in "Modern Fiction" that l i f e is not a series of gig-lamps symmetrically arranged, i t is a luminous halo. And the novelist must "record the atoms as they f a l l on the mind. Powys, aware that 'the secret of l i f e is the secret of consciousness', has, none-theless, a different conception of consciousness than either Henry James of Virginia Woolf. As I mentioned in Chapter One, Powys rejects 'stream of consciousness': "The modern novelist tends to crowd a great deal too much into his 'flowing waves' of consciousness." Our consciousnesses are creative-destructive Eyes regarding a world f u l l of other creative-destru-ctive Eyes. The pattern into which they arrange the myriad sensations which they receive depends on the philosophy which we have evolved to live by, (in other words, our l i f e - i l l u s i o n s ) : Henry James, "The Art of Fiction" in Literature of the United States, Vol. II, Walter Blair et. a l . , ed. (N. Y.: Scott Foresman and Co., 1966), p. 614. ^Virginia Woolf, "Modern Fiction" in The Common Reader (London: Hogarth Press, 1925), p. 190. Q In Defence of Sensuality, p. 195. 25 Our philosophy should have a certain overtone of awareness f a l l i n g upon a mass of obscure, disorganized sensations, and giving them a compact and li v i n g continuity....Our vision must be a 'complex vision'. It must be a liv i n g organism, in the sense of being a cumulative wedge of light, made up of every awareness we possess, resolutely turned upon the ocean of the unknown.9 The characters in Virginia Woolf's The Waves try vainly to stay the flux of existence, to give their evanescent sensations some framework. Deep below the surface events, Bernard recognizes, i s , even when we arrive punctually at the appointed time with our white waist-coats and polite formalities, a rushing stream of broken dreams...--that rise and sink even as we hand a lady down to dinner... there is nothing one can fish up i n a spoon; nothing one can c a l l an event--Yet i t is alive too  and deep, this stream... (emphasis mine).-^ Wolf does not try to do this, to stop the flux of existence--it cannot be done in a chaotic, ever-changing universe. Nonetheless, he does have a way of enjoying the universe which orders his sensations. That way is the way of the ichthyosaurus-ego which does give 'a li v i n g continuity' to the memories and stages of existence i t passes. When he is unable to conjure up this contemplative enjoyment, the continuity is destroyed and Wolf a l -most k i l l s himself--only the substitution of a simpler life-way saves him. That Wolf Solent is an extraordinarily dense novel imagistically 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 train taking him to Ramsgard, Wolf gives himself up to his mythology and to a con-sideration of his immediate past and future. He wonders whether that which awaited him would destroy his mythology, drop 'hard, brutal, material stones' into i t . Oblivious to Wolf while he muses is a bluebottle f l y which 9lbid., pp. 199-200. ^Virginia Woolf, The Waves (England: Penguin, 1964), p. 219. 26 buzzed up and down above his head, every now and then settling 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 is Powys's symbol for those who have not succeeded in be-coming detached. These people are over-human, part of the 'gregarious warmth of the crowd' which was anathema to Powys. They cannot find f u l -fillment in detachment, in solitude. To avoid becoming like them—caught up in the too-human—it is necessary to exercise the very magic of Detachment, that magic that makes i t possible for you to be in 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 in 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 infest your road they w i l l really 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 slaughter-houses, in brothels, in slavery, and in the great, noble, s c i e n t i f i c , gre-garious, loving, human undetached art of--Advertisement. Rousseau was right. It is only by detaching yourself from human c i v i l i z a t i o n that you can live a l i f e worthy of a l i v i n g soul. 1^ The appearance of the bluebottle f l y foreshadows Wolf's loss of detachment and near self-destruction. At the end of the novel, though, Wolf Solent (lone wolf) finds the solitude, the aloneness, which f o r t i f i e s his sanity and his identity. Part of the bluebottle fly's infection i s "a moving tower of instruments and appliances, the monstrous Apparition of Modern Invention" (I. 15). With a Laurentian flourish, 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 victimized, like a smooth-bellied vivisected frog. He saw i t scooped and gouged and scraped and harrowed. He saw i t hawked at out of the humming air. He saw i t netted in a quivering entaglement of vib-rations, heaving and shuddering under the weight of iron and stone. (1.16). John Cowper Powys, "The Magic of Detachment" quoted in part in John  Cowper Powys: A Record of Achievement by Derek Langridge (London: The Library Association, 1966), p. 128. 27 Just as he hid his mythology from the mechanistic universe, he recognizes the need to do so with his less cerebral, but viable new way of l i f e . The despair-ridden face of the man on the steps outside Water-lob Station is an iterative image which is always hovering around Wolf's consciousness. It was just the face of 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 social read-justments or ameliorative revolutions could ever atone for it--could ever make up for the simple irremediable fact that i t had been as i t had been.' (1 .15) . The face is the albatross around Wolf's neck. Solent associates this face with the face of the waiter at the Lovelace Hotel; and i t is through him, Stalbridge, that this persistent image is exorcised. He also finds "the fleshless head of William Solent buried in the earth" and "the despairing head of that son of perdition crouching at Waterloo Station", (4.85) anti-thetical. Whenever Wolf seeks to detach himself, to selfishly withdraw in order to achieve moments of 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 reality of human goings-on. Just as he and Christie are about to consummate their love the face appears to him. A l l the sorrows in the world seemed incarnated in that face, a l l the op-pressions 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 indecision that tore at his 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. It attempts to, impose obligations on him, to deny him the se l f i s h , contemplative moments in which he is truly happy. Wolf's consciousness of his debt to the face of despair is denied by Carfax who ministers to Stalbridge simply by giving him a job and money. 28 There was a scooped-out misery in 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. Per-haps he would get employment from him.' What a thing i t was to be posses-sed of the power that Carfax had.' Carfax was now succouring the Waterloo-Steps man.' (25.605). Wolf's excitement seems out of keeping with the simple deed Carfax is performing. It is a revelation to him, though. He learns how wrong Jason Otter was when he told Wolf that as long as there was one miserable soul in the universe, he had no right to be happy. Unless you have the saint-ego (cf. "Introduction", p.11) and forego your happiness to alleviate the suffering of others, you do what Carfax did; you give the sufferer a l l the material things you can to mitigate his poverty or desperate condition, then you go your own way. You selfishly claim the prerogative to be alone and be happy. Wolf realizes that "The Cause up there could certainly at any minute make him howl like a mad dog. It could make him dance and skip and eat dung." (25.633). Until that happens and his potential for hap-piness is destroyed—according to Powys, poverty, cold, t h i r s t , hunger, pain, ugliness, disgust, i l l - h e a l t h , can diminish i t — h e must seek hap-piness without pangs of guilt. He has just as much right to feel good as he has to do good. Wolf's father was never one to allow the Fi r s t Cause to intrude upon his 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 his final vision, when he discovers that the secret is 'to forget and to enjoy', he queries exultantly "Ha, old Truepenny, am I with you at last?" (25.631). The f i r s t chapter also contains Wolf's internal articulation of his mythology. This philosophy which he has evolved is very close to that of the ichthyosaurus-ego which is described i n l n Defence of Sensuality. 29 "This, abysmal happiness which we share with animals and birds and fishes and p l a n t s , " 1 2 and which gives a c o n t i n u i t y to the disparate f e e l i n g s and memories we a s s i m i l a t e i s not the negative feature of Wolf's i n t e r n a l make-up. The l i f e of sensation, the sinking into h i s soul, i s not a pejorative kind of f u l f i l l m e n t i n t h i s novel. That h i s mythology resembles "the expanding of great vegetable leaves over a s t i l l pool-leaves nourished by hushed noons, by l i q u i d , transparent nights, by a l l the movements of the elements" (1.20) i s neither good nor bad. I t i s merely a symbol for what the ichthyosaurus-ego chooses to contemplate as the sum-total of the uni-verse. Nonetheless, i t i s l o s t to Wolf because i t was always accompanied by an arrogant mental idea--the idea, namely, that he was taking part i n some occult cosmic struggle—some struggle between what he l i k e d to think of as 'good' and what he l i k e d to think of as ' e v i l ' i n those remote depths. (1.20) Inventing the elaborate opposites of good and e v i l , he takes the side of the good only to give i n to the e v i l and destroy h i s i d e n t i t y and h i s myth-ology with i t . Only when he learns that e v i l does not suffuse Nature or people does he begin 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 i n Dorset, h i s secret l i f e i s i n t a c t ; so i s h i s suspicion of Dorset's power to destroy i t . He hears " i n s i d i o u s v o i c e s — voices that threatened unguessed at disturbances to that underground l i f e of h i s which was l i k e a cherished v i c e " (2.33); however, he remains con-fident that " t h i s wonderful country must surely deepen, i n t e n s i f y , enrich h i s f u r t i v e inner l i f e , rather than threaten or destroy i t . " (2.39). U n t i l he submits to Gerda's demand for Urquhart's money, he often allows h i s mythology to possess him. Walking to Blacksod for the f i r s t time, for example, 1 2P . 32 30 He felt as i f he enjoyed at that hour some primitive l i f e - fee l ing that was identical 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 limited to tree-roots and fern-fronds and damp, dark mud." (4.67) Despite these moments, Wolf gradually becomes enmeshed with Mr. Urquhart, Weevil, Gerda, Ghrist ie , and Jason and his idol Mukalog unt i l his battle with ev i l is undermined and his identity shattered. Wolf came to Dorset to assist Mr. Urquhart in writing a prur-ient history of that region. Immediately, Wolf attributes malignancy to him: It presented i t s e l f to his mind as a clear issue, that he had now real ly come across a person who, in that mysterious mythopoeic world in which his own imagination insisted on moving, was a serious antagonist—an anta-gonist who embodied a depth of actual ev i l such as was a completely new experience in 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 hired Bob Weevil, who is already in love with Gerda, to se-duce Wolf's wife. Thinking that the destruction of his marriage would pro-vide Urquart with sadistic enjoyment, Wolf reacts suspiciously to Urquhart's amiability with and interest in Weevil and young Torp. The aura of mystery surrounding Urquhart and Weevil is thick; Wolf has to learn what is rea l i ty and what is i l l u s i o n . He chooses to believe that Weevil i s out to exploit Gerda at Urquhart's bidding when, in fact, he is merely 'pining after her' as Lobbie Torp relates. He does, we are led to believe, make love to her but only because she permits him to, Wolf having let her down. Wolf chooses to believe that Urquhart is a truly s inister figure, 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 necrophilia. Because he had always "opposed, in his dialogues with himself, his own secret 'mythology' to some equally secret ' e v i l ' in the world around him" (2.33), he regarded 31 Urquhart as an enemy. He had been so caught up battling the man, however, that he didn't bring his conscience to bear on the man's book u n t i l , read-ing the squire's notes, he recognizes the 'lewd preciosities' he is ghost writing. Then, cold, frozen, eternal, malignant--this abominable doubt f e l l upon him like an accursed rain...drip-drop, drip-drop, drip-drop...each drop sinking out of sight into the dim unreasoning levels of his being, where i t began poisoning the waters. (16.331) By finishing the book and accepting Urquhart's money to propitiate Gerda, he compromises himself and totally shatters his l i f e - i l l u s i o n . Lord Carfax pierces another of Wolf's beliefs, this time by re-vealing that Urquhart is far less in stature than the embodiment of e v i l . He assures Wolf that Redfern died of double pneumonia and that the voyeur-ism Wolf sold his soul to transfer into print was merely the idealization of " Urquhart's confounded peculiarities to quite such a tune you get dead sick of him.' I'm a l l in favour of honest bawdry myself; but why sing such a song about it"? (25.610) These comments of Carfax make Wolf howl inwardly--Ailinon.' Ailinon.' Was a l l the agitation, a l l the turmoil, a l l his con-sciousness of a supernatural struggle with some abysmal form of e v i l , re-duced now to the paltry level of a feeble old bachelor's fantastic self-deception? (25.610) His elaborate inner battle exposed to himself, Wolf, having lost his myth-ology, his a b i l i t y to sink into his soul because of that battle, begins to recover. He begins to establish a simpler way of li v i n g in the universe. Another threat to Wolf's mythology is Jason's Hindu rain-god, Mukalog. Wolf buys the idol 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 is impossible for any li v i n g human being to obliterate 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 writer, or even for the anonymous creative energy of the race i t s e l f , to create an image of evi l that should be entirely e v i l . (4.60) Later, he shoves Urquhart's cheque under the rain-god which was hidden in his dresser drawer. After his mythology is dead and he is hopelessly enmeshed in his domestic affairs with Gerda, he seizes on Mukalog as the repository of a l l that is thwarting him and flings i t "high over the pig-sty into the darkening f i e l d beyond" (22.533). Powys does not then forget about the idol Wolf has hurled behind the pigsty. He i s , as I have mention-ed, a careful writer. The imagery he weaves through the book is consistent. To say, as Margaret Going does in her thesis, that Powys has not placed de-ta i l s properly is to deny him his artfulness. 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 is 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 evi l which he was fighting have been eliminated. The other prominent threats to Wolf's mythology are the two women he alternately desires--Gerda and Christie. Desiring a woman to make love to as well as the prolongation of his dominant sensations, Wolf quickly discovers Gerda whose physical beauty immediately attracts him. She is a nature-girl: "Her voluptuous throat resembled an arum l i l y before i t has unsheathed i t s petals" (4.70). She can whistle like a blackbird in a man-ner reminiscent of another pure earth-goddess, Rima of Green Mansions: 33 It was, as he recalled i t s f u l l effect upon him, the expression of just those mysterious silences in Nature which a l l his l i f e he had, so to speak, waited upon and worshipped. That strange whistling was the voice of those green pastures and those blackthorn-hedges, not as they were when human be-ings were conscious of them, but as they were in that indescribable hour just before dawn, when they awoke in the darkness to hear the faint, faint stirrings--upon the air--of the departing of the non-human powers of the night. (5.113). Wolf, later, expatiates more fully on his association of Gerda with non-human powers. This feature of her convinces him that she, no less than Urquhart, has e v i l powers. On an outing with her on Poll's Camp, he links Gerda to that h i l l , thinking she was "in league with whatever more remote and more heathen powers had dominated this embattled h i l l " (15.327). These dark gods of primal matter, Wolf feels, are hostile to him. Christie, on the contrary, is associated with the plains below Poll'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 is his mind and not nature which is diseased i s Wolf's mistrust of Gerda dispelled. Before this, he doubts her claim to virg i n i t y and he thinks Weevil is cuck-olding him long before Gerda, hurt by Wolf, gives in to Weevil. Wolf made a mistake by succumbing to Gerda's loveliness, a phy-si c a l beauty which "absorbs with a kind of absoluteness the whole aesthe-t i c sense, paralyzing the erotic s e n s i b i l i t y " (5.103). Although she does not suit him, Wolf is helpless before a beauty "so over-powering, so abso-lute i n i t s flawlessness" (4.73); however, (and I wish to emphasize this point) just because she is the embodiment of woman, of 'the seductive qual-it y of a woman's body to a l l men', she does not f u l f i l l Wolf's, ideal. He wants to take her sexually--he has an insatiable craving to do so; nonethe-less, she does not activate his s p i r i t . She paralyzes his 'erotic sensi-b i l i t y ' . 34 After Wolf possesses Gerda she loses her magic for him. Not be-ing a passionate, sexual person Wolf becomes uninterested in her. Corres-pondingly, she becomes a much simpler creature. The lustre of a classical nymph rubs off her when she becomes a housewife and her pursuits become mundane. She enjoys dancing with Bob Weevil, spending money, and looking attractive (in the more pejorative sense of the word). His evanescent de-sire for gratification s t i l l e d in the boredom of marriage, and feeling trapped in a dead-end existence, Wolf senses the atrophy of his mythology. Egoistically, he also becomes obsessed with jealousy which causes him to lose the detachment necessary for him to withdraw into himself. Nor is 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. It is Carfax, again, who is the restorative agent. Christie is Wolf's rightful soul-mate. She is like those sylphs who evoked in 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.' It is as i f I had been born into this world from another planet—certainly not Venus; Saturn possibly—where there was a different sex altogether from the masculine and feminine that we know. It is of this sex, of this Saturnian sex, that I must think when in the secret chambers of my mind I utter the syllable " g i r l " . I suppose women are more like these e l f i n sylphs, these fleeting elementals, then most men are; but I am not perfectly sure even about this.'-'-3 Christie is 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 slight and sexless that i t resembled those meagre, androgynous forms..." (4.83). Wolf's soul, like Powys's, needs a sylph to motivate i t without causing i t to lose i t s apartness. His relationship with Christie does not need physical consummation to be consolidated. Indeed, Christie Autobiography, p. 206. 35 evokes in 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." Because i t is only a contemplative-essence, i t is open-ended. Christie, who is 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 his meagre passion for Gerda is s t i l l e d . Thus, he can maintain a 'strange intensity' in his relations with Christie though he only infrequently sees her—"His sensual nature tranquillized, satis-fied, appeased, permitted his s p i r i t to wander off freely towards that other g i r l i s h form, more elusive, less tangible...." (12.276) Christie not only shares in some ways Wolf's mythology, or at least his 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, internal struggle. Containing a good deal of what Hewitt calls "the unfastidious realism 15 which a l l Powys's women have," Christie rebukes Wolf for his private dualistic battle. "What you never seem to realize, for a l l your talk about 'good' and ' e v i l ' , is that events are something outside any one person's mind." (20.466). Her assessment of Wolf i s as accurate as Wizzie Ravelston's pronouncement that Dud No-man is truly not a man. Although Wolf escapes from Christie's bedroom with his l i f e - i l l u s i o n intact, he i s censured again by her. Having been unable to make love to her, he s t i l l loves her. She is s t i l l his - soul-mate. Christie, however, needed to be more than the catalyst of Wolf's s p i r i t . She wanted to be lovedphysically. A virgin, Ibid., p. 207. Christian B. Hewitt, "The Novels of John Cowper Powys" (Michigan: Univer-sity Microfilms, 1961), p. 77. 36 she f e e l s that " ' I should have I... s h a l l . . . never... know.' '" (20.467). Taking to Olwen, the product.of the incestuous c o u p l i n g of her f a t h e r and 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 i n a l l y , a f t e r her father d i e s , she and the c h i l d r e t i r e to Weymouth. Wolf's r e s o l v e , however, that she i s h i s t r u e love i s only strengthened. Despite the l o s s of h i s l i f e - i l l u s i o n , There hung about the idea of her s t i l l . . .yes.' s t i l l , s t i l l , s t i l l . 1 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 youth, as those dark, 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 1 c a r r i e d w i t h them so y i e l d i n g an essence that 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 unuter-able mystery.' (25.616) His f i n a l v i s i o n i s suffused w i t h thoughts of a C h r i s t i e who w i l l remain a l l u r i n g to him. I have t r a c e d the i n f l u e n c e of those who most a f f e c t e d Wolf's l i f e . I t would be worthwhile now to d e l i n e a t e h i s s t o r y i n the l i n e a r f a s h i o n i t i s t o l d . Although i n d i s c u s s i n g the e f f e c t others had on him I have patched together some of the f l u c t u a t i o n s of 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 of the a r t i c u l a t i o n of h i s mythology to the l o s s of i t to the f o r m u l a t i o n of a new l i f e way, c u l m i n a t i n g w i t h an e p i -phany which I have only b r i e f l y a l l u d e d to. The s t r u c t u r e of 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 to redemption. During h i s f i r s t few weeks i n Dorset, Wolf i s a happy man. Though he does not t r u s t Urquhart, he i s not s u s c e p t i b l e to the 'noeud 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 burdened by h i s work and not having any r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , he f r e q u e n t l y s i n k s i n t o h i s s o u l , g i v i n g h i m s e l f up to the ecstasy of h i s mythology. When h i s mythology i s dormant, Wolf gives vent to h i s f e t i s h - w o r s h i p , a simple communion w i t h nature. F e t i s h - w o r s h i p i s a term coined by Powys to represent that power by which a l l of nature comes a l i v e . He describes i t in''Wolf Solent 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 approach-ed: 'souls' of grass, trees, stones, animals, birds, fish; '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 identity to houses, towns, places, countrysides....and between his soul and the 'soul', as i t were, of what-ever i t was he happened to be regarding, there seemed to be established a tremulous and subtle reciprocity. (4.54-55). This animism is evocative of the early mind in Wordsworth's The Prelude which delighted in a reciprocal relationship with nature. I was only then Contented, when with bliss ineffable 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, lost beyond the reach of thought And human knowledge, to the human eye Invisible, yet liveth to the heart. (The Prelude, 2.399-405) Wolf never loses this a b i l i t y to enter into a symbiotic relationship with nature. Like Rupert Birkin who wanders into a f i e l d , r o l l s in the respon-sive vegetation and then becomes a part of nature, Wolf, when his inner l i f e is most troubled, is able to give "himself up to a physical sensation of being an integral portion of this wide, somnolent landscape.'" (22.522) Like Rupert, he wants something more (in Wolf's case, his mythology); how-ever, unlike Rupert, he has to settle for that early Wordsworthian absorp-tion in nature--the vision "of that immortal sea, which brought us hither" 1 having been denied him. As his stay inDorset is extended, his mythology becomes more and more endangered. His job makes demands on his struggle with e v i l ; his marriage necessitates his taking on responsibilities. In addition, his 1 6 " o d e : Intimations of Immortality.',' 38 mother "who stands for enterprise and responsibility"-'- 7 arrives in Rams-gard to claim some of his time and he is compelled to take up the case of his father's offspring, Mattie Smith, and Olwen Smith as well. The pressure builds until he gives Gerda Urquhart's blood money and destroys his mythology. Wolf becomes a shell, a death-in-life figure, bereft of "any definite personality, no longer £with]] any banked-up integral s e l f : (23.543). "A light capable of linking his days in flowing continuity" (24.572) is lost. His mythology had given him the f l u i d identity which Powys thinks is so important in a world of disparate experiences: Continuity is the whole secret.1 To have smoothed out, by constant use, those psychic grooves in one's nature along which the Will hurries, like a polished machine along a steel incline, bringing back these moments of fleeting delight, this is a great achievement. 8 Without this a b i l i t y Wolf i s , like Rhoda in The Waves, a person without some centre by which one relates experiences. Rhoda commits suicide. Wolf, attempting to drown himself i n Lenty Pond, is saved by his body which is instinctively repelled by the prospect of death by drowning. The very bones within him began screaming-a low, thin, wire-drawn scream-before what his mind was contemplating. It was not that life—merely to be alive-- had suddenly become so precious....What his flesh and his bones shrank from was not eternity. It was immersion in that localized, parti-cular, cubic expanse of s t a r l i t oxygen-hydrogen.' (23.560). This marks the beginning of Wolf's recovery. Although he is s t i l l a shell, s t i l l without an identity and although he does not yet exult in merely be-ing alive, 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 7Glen Cavaliero, "Wolf Solent", p. 5. 1 % n Defence of Sensuality , p. 38. instinctive goodness. Barge's innocence and eagerness to convey a mess-age to Mrs. Solent is not forgotten by Wolf. His final vision substitutes Gaffer's kind of goodness for Wolf's former combative good. The second clue comes from the dying Mr. Malakite who shrieks "Forget."' just before he dies. Wolf realizes that he must learn to forget the suffering and mis-deeds of the past by an act of his will--"'There is no limit 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 , his body comes "to i t s own conclusions.' It was as i f his flesh were drinking in and soaking up this beauty, while his soul, cut into pieces by his recent humiliation like a worm by a bird's beak, wriggled and squirmed some-where above his head..'" (25.620) He rejoices in merely being alive. Then his soul, s t i l l lacking a centre, heals i t s e l f in the scene behind the pigsty. Like Ursula Brangwen, his epiphanic moment comes when he finds the gap in a hedge and enters a new world. This world of Wolf's is suffused with Saturnian gold, representing an age i n which good did not have to wage war with e v i l . "The sense of a supernatural struggle going on in the abysses, with the Good and the E v i l so sharply opposed had vanished from his mind." (25.631). Given a new purpose in l i f e , to forget and to enjoy, Wolf gains a new centre, a new 'I am I' from which to act. Stoically accepting the possibility that Chance might destroy him, he emulates another stoic, Clarissa Dalloway, who learns to pursue her own goals, to Fear no more the heat o' the sun Nor the furious winter's rages. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (England: Penguin, 1964), p. 12. 40 Until the Fir s t Cause overwhelmed him, Wolf "was going to endure.follow his 'road' through the ink-stains, and endure.'" (25.633). 41 CHAPTER III A GLASTONBURY ROMANCE I The Novel as Romance A Glastonbury Romance can be easily c r i t i c i z e d . Its length, apparent disunity and cosmic overview (an omniscience incorporating not only a l l the characters but also the sun, moon and Fi 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 magni-ficent failure. Writing in the Saturday Review of Literature, Basil 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 after a l l seem to jus t i f y a l l the supernatural 'mach-inery' as Dr. Johnson would have called it....But we are also given too much, for i t i s hard to sustain our interest in the sordid threads, through the twelve hundred pages of his volume. A Glastonbury Romance certainly has i t s s t y l i s t i c faults. .Powys's prolix-it y often overwhelms one. His penchant for all-inclusive l i s t s causes his prose to be tiresome. Often Powys destroys the suspense he has built up by embellishing his material with classical comparisons or by attempt-ing to people the scene of the conflict at the expense of the protagonists. Also, the aristocratic element of his writing and a remoteness of idiom, alluded to by H. P. Collins in John Cowper Powys: Old Earth Man (p. 7), provide some embarrassing passages for the reader. March 26, 1932. 42 Powys, again somewhat misleading in the preface he wrote twenty-five years after the publication of the novel, intimates that A Glaston-bury Romance was written in a 'somewhat tumultuous and chaotic manner1. Even i f this was the case, i t is not to say, as H. P. Collins has said, 2 that "there is no form, no 'art', and there is abundance of v i t a l i t y . " A Glastonbury Romance is not an undisciplined and amorphous work. It has an organizing force; i t i s a tone-poem on the Grail 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 intersection of the timeless with time, the un-seen with the seen, the miraculous with the mundane. The viewpoints con-sidered range from Philip Crow's denial of these 'religious' values to Johnny Geard's embodiment of them. Moreover, the theme is enhanced by the way the physical setting is used to symbolize or realize this concern with the sp i r i t u a l dimension of our existence. The action i t s e l f is centered in Glastonbury and is 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 te r r e s t r i a l regions of Glas-tonbury resides the Grail which, tradition has i t , was brought to Glaston-bury by Joseph of Arimathea. Thus, though there may be several distinct 'human' plots, they are developed in and around Glastonbury whose religious 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 spiritual influences and in regard to i t s flora and fauna and geological strata; and in regard to the historic changes that have come to i t s human inhabitants in 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 variety of responses to the Absolute should ob-viate claims of inadequate structuring. Indictments of A Glastonbury  Romance's failure as a novel can also be refuted. H. P. Collins writes that "this is a great novel i f you seek out and accept what i t gives; i t is but a qualified masterpiece i f you look for the rest of what makes novels."^ This in i t s e l f is not a very clear criticism of Powys's novel. What Collins is trying to convey, though, is that A Glastonbury Romance does not satisfy a l l the conditions that novels traditionally f u l f i l l . In Anatomy of Criticism Northrop Frye provides a viable definition of the novel: The novelist deals with personality, the characters wearing their per-sonae or social masks. He needs the framework of a stable society... The novel tends to be extroverted; i t s chief interest is in human char-acter as i t manifests i t s e l f in society. Admittedly, Powys is very much concerned with the interaction of humans in society. The commune which Dave Spear, Paul Trent and Red Robinson argue about and i n s t a l l in Glastonbury, the gatherings at Miss Drew's 3"The Creation of Romance" in Modern Thinker (March, 1932), p. 75. 4John Cowper Powys: Old Earth Man, p. 79. ^Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (N.J.: Princeton Press, 1957), p;v305. 44 and Mother Legge's and the Pageant which Geard inaugurated are undeniably novelistic 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, land-owners, labourers, shop-keepers, an anarchist, dogs, cats, fish, and an airplane pilot...There are no less than six major love a f f a i r s , one mur-der, three births, two deaths... 6 However, Powys's scope is larger than that of the familiar, everyday world. He writes that "now as I hover found A Glastonbury Romance I can see that i t is not the work in any sense of 'an observer of real l i f e ' " . 7 Three dimensional real l i f e is only a small part of the novel; work, 'dead time', though pursued by Philip Crow and Dave Spear, is only scantily ex-plored in 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. Like Wolf Solent, John Crow is f i r s t seen at the end of a journey by train. Whereas in Wolf  Solent, we were in the protagonist's consciousness and consequently circum-scribed i n our point of view; in 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 relate the following: Something passed at that moment, a wave, a notion, a vibration, too tenuous to be called magnetic, too subliminal to be called s p i r i t u a l , between the soul of a particular human being who was emerging from a third-class carriage of the twelve-ninteen train from London and the divine-diabolic soul of the Fir s t Cause of a l l l i f e . (1.1). Thus, Collins' criticism of A Glastonbury Romance is unfair. Collins is not judging this work of art on i t s own grounds. He measures i t accord-6Modern Thinker (March, 1932), p. 76. 7 John Cowper Powys, "Preface" to A Glastonbury Romance (London, Macdonald, 1955), p. x i . 45 ing to arbitrary generic precepts; then he denigrates i t because of the lack of those precepts. He does not realize that A Glastonbury Romance is more than (or, at least different from) a novel. A worthwhile com-parison can be made with Wuthering Heights which, Virginia Woolf recog-nized, is not a novel in the s t r i c t sense in which Frye has empirically defined that term: The gigantic ambition is to be fel t throughout the novel--a struggle half thwarted but of superb convictions, to say something through the mouths of her characters which is not merely "I love" or "I hate" but "we, the whole human race" and "you, the eternal powers"...8 Similarily, Powys's concern transcends the interest generated by the s t r i c t l y human, by the various plots. Powys is interested in the effect of the Grail on those who are in the locale in which i t s force is strongest: the Grail 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 alien 1 there, from the international sphere of universal metaphysical magic, i t has not only stained, dyed, impregnated the atmosphere of this particular spot but has associated i t s e l f with every detail of i t s local history.'^ The Gr a i l , Powys says, is the heroine of A Glastonbury Romance. It is so insofar as i t is 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 is an important actor in the novel because i t has been permeated with the mystery of the Grail for so long that i t is es-pecially receptive to that holy object. Likewise, the townspeople are susceptible to an epiphany of the Grail. J.R. Theobald, writing in The ^Virginia Woolf, "Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights" in The Common Reader (London: Hogarth Press, 1925), p. 202. ^"Preface", pp. x i - x i i . 46 Bookman in 1932, is the most sympathetic and perceptive reviewer of A Glastonbury Romance. He is aware that Powys tried to effect "a constant sense of the whole l i f e of Glastonbury in progress, as distinct from an ar b i t r a r i l y imagined plot of which the scene happens to be Glastonbury." 1 1 Granting that the book has a strong spatio-temporal sense and v i v i d per-sonal and social elements, he recognizes that Powys has a unique struct-uring principle which transcends the love-affairs and murder plots he has woven into the book. Somewhat too enthusiastically, Theobald ascribes to A Glastonbury Romance a more tremendous design than to Ulysses. What is this principle which caused Theobald such transport and which is at the heart of this great book? Theobald asserts that "the airy web that holds to-gether a l l the realism and philosophy and psycho-logical subtlety of this book is the romance."11 Powys himself calls the book a romance both i n the preface and in the t i t l e and links i t to the Arthurian Legend by quoting from the Black Book of Carmarthen for his epigraph. 1 2 Although Theobald does not relate romance to A Glastonbury  Romance to the extent that a l l the facets of history and myth that Powys incorporates in the novel are seen to be an organic part of that novel, he does righ t f u l l y contend that miracles and the supernatural are j u s t i -fiably a part of the book. Theobald, incipiently leading us towards a definition of romance which w i l l reveal the unity and structural sound-ness of A Glastonbury Romance, writes that uOctober, 1932. ^ b i d . 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 foolish because he, or his values, w i l l in some form reappear. 47 supervening over a l l human influences is that of the primordial powers that haunt the immemorial terrain of Glastonbury.... Like a l l the great romances of the past, this one is pervaded by unfathomable mysteries and i s , in consequence, an exceedingly awe-inspiring book. From the moment when John Crow drinks the water from the Slaughtering Stone at Stonehenge until the closing invocation to the towers of Cybele, we are never allowed to forget that we are 'moving about in world half r e a l i z -ed'....It may be said that this peculiar seduction of the imagination is the inmost secret of romance.13 In linking A Glastonbury Romance to the great romances of the past which "have stood or fallen by their a b i l i t y to create faith in miracles."!^ Theobald acknowledges that atmospherically i t succeeds as a romance. It is l e f t to Ernest Rhys in a book entitled Romance to evolve a definition of romance which is similar to Powys's concept of the term as i t is manifested in A Glastonbury Romance. In Rhys's book is found a theory which, in i t s emphasis on the fourth dimension, the links with the past and the potential for modern romancers, is astonishingly close to Powys's practise. In addition, Rhys's disquisition on romance uses the Welsh romances as i t s frame of reference. They are Powys's frame of reference as well. Powys f e l t that the ancient Cymric tribes held the key to l i v i n g in the universe. In Maiden Castle, Powys ex 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 Romance Owen Evans is the repository of Welsh mysticism. 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 is the one who has the power of seeing beyond the lamp. Unlike Philip Crow, who does not see beyond the 1 3The Bookman, Oct., 1932. 1 4 I b i d . 48 electric flashlight and matches he uses to illuminate Woolcey Hole and who disregards the mystery of that subterranean complex, the romancer is sen-si t i v e to the 'other l i f e 1 , "the l i f e that is everything or nothing ac-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 is conscious of the interpenetration of present and past. Rhys cites the example of a blind man discoursing on the l i f e of a town. He drew upon his memory, and through his personal vein of reminiscence, he associated the town events....So the town that had f i r s t grown up round a castle, and that had at last substituted the nearest railway-station for that castle as the focus and connecting link between i t s e l f and the outer world, had in his chronicling become matter of the ever lasting tradition. He related them, whether willingly 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 is behind the apparently fast-sealed everyday ring of our l i v e s . 1 6 This is esentially what John Cowper Powys does in 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 fus-ing them so that they reveal what Rhys calls a farther and larger re-a l i t y . That Glastonbury's past is associated with Arthur, the Grail and Avalon only makes the potential for the interplay of past and pre-sent that much richer. Although Arthurian scholars regard as specious these associations, citing them as "a part of the fraud which the monks of Glastonbury were then [in the late twelfth or early thirteenth cen-turyj* engaged in foisting upon the world," 1 7 they are, for Powys, a part 1 5Ernest Rhys, Romance (N.Y.: E. P. Dutton, 1913), p. 8. 1 6 I b i d . , pp. 23-4. 17 J. D. Bruce, The Evolution of the Arthurian Romance (Mass.: P. Smith, 1958), p. 265. 49 of the psychic reality of the town. The belief that people have had in these mysteries, no less than the authenticity of them, have kept them alive, hovering about the concrete r e a l i t i e s , the cause-and-effect logic 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 is Johnny Geard. Opening the Saxon Arch he oversaw the building of, Bloody Johnny, like Rhys's blind seer, childishly relates the history of Glastonbury. He t e l l s of the Lake Village neolithic race, the Ancient Britons and the familiar aspects of the Grail story. He founds a new religion using a l l the talismanic properties that Glastonbury has assim-ilated in i t s rich history. So, too, when he cures T i t t i e Petherton of cancer he opens himself to the Grail Spring's psychic storehouse. The truth is that this chalybeate fountain on this particular 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 neolithic men of the Lake Village, 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 vibrations, Geard projects them onto the normal plane of reality. In other words, he assists at, or is a medium for, the penetration of the temporal by the eternal. What Mr. Geard kept his 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 in these parts for five thousand years as a cauldron, a horn, a krater, a mwys, a well, a kernos, a platter, a cup and even a nameless stone-had broken the laws of Nature.' (23.738) Geard's role i n A Glastonbury Romance, which w i l l be taken up later in more detail, is only one example of the interdependence of pur-pose and structure in the novel. Most sensitive to the supernatural, Geard's reaction to i t is not the only one Powys explores. Nor is i t the consuming focus of the novel. A l l the characters, in their relation to the Gr a i l , contribute to the syncretic wholeness of A Glastonbury Romance. 50 Powys is a modern romancer who is ultimately on the side of those sensitive to the fourth dimension. The novel begs the rhetorical question that Lady Rachel passionately asks Ned Athling: "What's Poetry i f i t isn't something 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? It fights for the... for the. .. for the Impossible.'" (17.549). Indeed, the fi n a l pages of the novel contain a paean to Cybele, 'whose forehead is crowned with the Turrets of the Impossible.' It is a hymn to those who created at Stonehenge and at Glastonbury shrines which became reposi-tories 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 rise to them is imperishable. Cybele, the ancient Tower-Bearer, cannot be totally eradicated by the powers of science and reason: evermore she rises again, moving from the mists of dawn to the mists of twi-light, passing through the noon-day like the shadow of an ec-lipse and through the mid-night like an unblown trumpet, u n t i l she finds the land that has called her and the people whose heart she a-lone can f i l l . . . . Those "topless towers" of hers are the birth-cries of occult generation, raised up i n defiance of Matter , in defiance of Fate, and in defiance of cruel knowledge and despairing wisdom. (30.1173-1174). Here, Powys asserts the endurability and universality of romance. He focuses on the Grail because i t is a fragment of the Absolute, part of the 'Timeless'. And anyone alive to-day who does not, like Philip Crow did, w i l f u l l y reject the 'beyond', is as susceptible to the intersec-tion of the Timeless and Time as was medieval man. Rhys writes that It may even be said that to-day we have widened the avenues of the imag-ination, instead of closing them as many people suppose; for we have le-arnt to find in the new areas, and in the more intimate regions of psy-chology, s p i r i t u a l : . adventures which are more real than anything told in the romances of chivalry. 1 0* 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 cit i e s and the multiplication of petty and unrelated exper-iences, we have spoilt the innocence of our eyes and m i n d s . T h a t there are more Philip Crows now than there ever were is undeniable. Wolf Solent and Dud No-man do not succumb to the Apparition of Modern Invention. Nor does John Cowper Powys ever lose sight of the occult. He responded to the inanimate and the intangible with a religious awe, sometimes tempered by his streak of scepticism. For him the universe is not something to be de-mythologized and turned into an abstraction; i t is not a great machine. Out of his refusal to reduce experience solely to what can be measured or rationally proved came A Glastonbury Romance. Powys's tendency, i f we ac-cept the definition of Novalis, is 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 related to Four Quartets in i t s exploration of the articulation 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 intellectual lyricism 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 instructive comparison with A Glastonbury Romance. It explores, through the persona of the speaker, var-ious stances with respect to the mystical experience in the rose-garden. 1 9 I b i d . , p. 51. 20 52 For the speaker "The hint half guessed, the hint half understood, is In-71 carnation," the orthodox Incarnation, in which Christ (timeless) is made man (time). Eliot's impulse in Four Quartets, though not didactic, is to unify our mystical and religious experiences: a translation of the epigraph to "Burnt Norton" reads, "Although the Word (Logos) is common, yet most men live as i f they had a private insight of their own." The ultimate focal point of Powys's mysticism-in A Glastonbury Romance is much more imprecise. Powys rhapsodically pleads only for the awareness of the fourth dimension. Bloody Johnny's new religion is not by any means a definitive religion; i t is only a modern embodiment of the awareness of the cults around Stonehenge and early Glastonbury. What he advocates that the individual do i s contained in his speech at the opening of his Saxon Arch: It matters not at a l l from what cups, or from what goblets we drink so long as without being cruel, we drink up Lif e . The sole meaning, pur-pose, intention, and secret of Christ, my dears, is 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 Life's undying essence. L i t t l e Gidding is very much like Glastonbury. No less than Glastonbury, i t is a holy place and can divulge meaning on a plane which transcends the sensual: If you came this way, ...It would always be the same: you would have Sense and notion. You are not here to verify, to put off Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity Or carry report. You are here to kneel Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more Than an order of words, the conscious occupation Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying. 2 1T. S. E l i o t , Collected Poems 1906-1962, p. 213. 53 And what the dead had no speech for, when liv i n g , They can t e l l you, being dead: the communication Of the dead is tongued with f i r e beyond the language of Here, the intersection of the timeless moment /the livin g . Is England and nowhere. Never and always (p. 215). Published ten or so years before " L i t t l e Gidding", A Glastonbury Romance closes with the following lines: "Thus she abides; her Towers forever r i s i n g , forever vanishing. 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 is only momen-ta r i l y incarnate in individuals and societies. "Only through time, time is conquered". 2 2 To those who deny i t s existence, however, i t remains forever unexpressed. That the true reality transcends tangible objects and outward action and that truths other than empirical truths are being offered in A Glastonbury Romance, Powys reveals in yet another way. Powys would echo the claim of Browning's subtle Don Juan in Fifine at the Fair that "The histrionic truth is in the natural l i e . " 2 3 Indeed, one of the closing passages closely parallels this line--"For She whom the ancients named Cybele is in reality that beautiful and terrible Force by which the Lies of great creative Nature give birth to Truth that is to be." (1174). There is no objective truth; consequently, the a r t i s t i s not Aristotelian. He does not hold up a mirror to l i f e or reflect the ideal which incip-iently resides in nature. He is creator, a Cybele-figure, who provides the ideal pattern which the 'real' world can only imperfectly emulate. z zCollected Poems: 1909-1962, p. 192. 2 3Stanza 85. 54 Johnny Geard and Powys, himself, are magicians who possess Cybele's a b i l -i t y to reveal truths which nature does not contain, which escape a l l those who do not penetrate to the super-sensual plane. When Powys wrote that A Glastonbury Romance is not the work in any sense 'of an observer of real l i f e , ' he meant that one does not find truth i n quotidian events. Before Geard performs his Christ-like miracle of resuscitating a dead child, 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 belief to the cracking point, creates new l i f e , while the slavery of what is called truth drags us down to death and to the dead.' Lies, magic, i l l u s i o n — t h e s e are names we give to the ripples on water of our experience when the Spi r i t of Lif e blows upon i t . I have myself...I have myself cured a woman of cancer in that spring....Mirac-les are l i e s ; and yet they are happening. Immortality is a l i e ; and yet we are attaining i t . Christ is a l i e ; and yet I am li v i n g in him. I t . . . t e l l you that i f any man brought a dead body before 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 li 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 is structured on a grand scale as a romance. The characters are related only insofar as they are part of Glastonbury and as they respond to the town's ethereal potential. Powys himself writes that "this tale is so p r o l i f i c in plots and denoue-ments that the outcome, like that of l i f e i t s e l f , w i l l appear in differ-ent forms to different readers." That i s , the various plots that are built around the Dekkers and the Crows and the Geards are resolved (or not resolved) in an unintegrated fashion. They are interesting stories that occur in the same town at the same time. Yet, because Powys's focus is Glastonbury and the spiritual force the town embodies, these separate stories, part of Glastonbury and a prey to the spiritual force, are es-sential to the novel's vast theme. In the foregoing section, I also tried to elaborate on the ro-mantic vision which is immersed in the novel. In A Glastonbury Romance Powys has written a romance that extols the romancer's way in two voices. One is that of the author himself, the other that of Johnny Geard. One i s , as i t were, outside commentary; the other is an amalgam of inner voice and events, the events being those visions and miracles which profoundly shake the lives of those characters who experience or believe in them. I should now like to examine those characters whom Powys places in and around Glastonbury. The town in i t s e l f , of course, is the chief actor of the novel. Powys's scope and angle of vision are far greater 56 here than in Wolf Solent where the action was centered in and d i s t i l l e d through Wolf's consciousness. In.A Glastonbury Romance Powys effects a total view which embraces l i t e r a l l y everything that affects and compro-6 mises Glastonbury. Cosmic, human and inanimate forces are a l l perceived and related by the author as being part of that town. Powys makes a con-stant effort to keep the whole vista before the reader who is never l e f t alone with the characters in the novel, and is made to share Powys's over-view. The following description, for example, incorporates in 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 particular turnip heap in Edmund H i l l Land, halfway between Old Wells Road and the Bri 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 ident-i c a l psychic aberrations, that of the infinitesimal, microscopic par-asite, that of Mr. Owen Evans, and that of the ultimate Fir s t Cause. (25.849). To become so engrossed in the separate plots, the love a f f a i r s , intrigues and spectacles, that you lose the overview and reject the novel as diffuse is to thwart the intention of Powys and misplace the emphasis of A Glastonbury Romance. The incident in which the ash tree eavesdrops on John and Mary's tryst is somewhat ludicrous in i t s e l f - - " A l l this the ash tree noted; but i t s vegetative comment thereon would only have sound-ed in human ears like the gibberish: wuther-quotle-glug" (2.74); how-ever, i t is 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-tive in the novel, dwarfed by the constant presence of the ether, the sun and even the First Cause. For example, the f i r s t sentence of the novel directs the reader's attention not only to John Crow but also to the Firs t 57 Cause. Consequently, one must step back from John Crow and see him as one of the many persons who activate the soul of the Fi r s t Cause. Powys often effects this diminution by considering only the non-human aspects of a situation. In the chapter, "Nature Seems Dead", "one of the great turning points in the l i f e of Glastonbury" is reached somewhere outside of the plane of existence on which John Crow, Philip Crow and a l l the others whom Powys alludes to in this chapter are to be found. The Grail-hate or Grail-love which these characters sp i r i t u a l l y project keeps alive "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 Grail attempt to k i l l i t . Though the contest is an interminable one, the Grail, a fragment of the Ab-solute, "that fragment of Beyond-Time fallen through a crack i n the world-ceiling upon the Time-Floor" (24.789), is imperishable. This crucial • night, however, the Grail force wins an etherealvictory: The sturdy northeastern invaders—the ancestors of Philip and John--beat back more than Mr. Evans' people when they swept the Celts into South Wales. ... along with Mr. Evans' people, and their dark chthonian gods, these healthy-minded invaders had driven back the very dreams of these Cymric and Brythonic tribes. ....on this night of a l l nights, this night of the tenth of December, a date that always, every year...was a significant date for Glastonbury, what really 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 originally been bui l t . (24.788-789). Powys's angle of vision, then, by de-emphasizing a s t r i c t l y human view of the world is in harmony with the theme of A Glastonbury Romance. As dif-f i c u l t to accept as the supernatural machinery may be, i t i s , nonetheless, an integral part of what, for Powys, is Glastonbury. 58 One who has an overview in the novel i t s e l f i s John Crow. Though not endowed with Powys's cosmic omniscience, he is one of those "who are able to s l i p out of their skins and share this super-mundane observation of themselves" (20.647). John Crow is a curiously f u l l character who plays a unique role in A Glastonbury Romance. In some sen-ses a sceptical observer and manipulator of what goes on i n Glastonbury, he can never f u l l y convince himself that Geard is wholly a charlatan. Able to detach himself and disclaiming any effect that Glastonbury might have had on him, he does, nonetheless, have a vision of Arthur's sword being hurled into the water from Pomparles Bridge. Through John Crow, A Glastonbury Romance begins with the jour-ney motif. John' arrives in Glastonbury, as Wolf Solent does in Dorset, unaware of the impact this new locale w i l l have on him. Whereas in Wolf  Solent the focus is only on Wolf, in A Glastonbury Romance i t is 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 aquar-ium; he has an overview. Wolf, detrimentally to his inner l i f e , does not have this detachment during the course of Wolf Solent. Thus, whereas Wolf's identity is shattered, John's remains intact: "'I am a hard, round, glass b a l l , that is the mirror of everything, but that has a secret landscape of i t s own in the centre of i t ' " . (13.381). He is much less impervious to the 'cause of the unseen' than he cynically lets 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 lives simply or, rather, simply 59 lives in the universe. He cannot understand "'what people mean when they talk of l i f e having a purpose. Life to me is 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 lives somewhat selfishly for his sensations like the ichthyosaurus-egos of Wolf Solent and Maiden Castle do. John Crow, though he does not give himself up to prolonged ecsta-t i c contemplation, is very much the ichthyosaurus-ego in his worship of the stones of Stonehenge. 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 this ichthyosaurus-ego praise and curse, in mysterious, rhythmic consentaneousness, the double-natured Fi r s t Cause of i t s being.' Here, and here alone, could i t gather i t s whole nature together, a spiral waterspout of ecstatic contrareity, and w i l l to forget the e v i l in i t s Creator, while i t weeps in 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 allying himself with the s p i r i t s of Stonehenge: he curses the Fi r s t Cause for the misery of the world and f u l f i l l s himself with his wife Mary. What conflict there is in him is in the ambivalence of his feel-ing toward the Grail and the residual Glastonbury magic. Uncommitted to Glastonbury, finding his gods and his woman outside of i t s territory, Crow, nonetheless, is too sensitive to 'the beyond' to leave the town without some hint of i t s magic. His vision of King Arthur's sword, though he re-gards i t as a sign from the supernatural, does not precipitate i n him whole-hearted espousal of Geard's new religion. Crow never acquires the single-mindedness and devotion of Nancy Stickles. Nonetheless, he perseveres, not In Defence of Sensuality, p. 265. 60 wholly hypocritically, in carrying out Geard's mystical and f e t i s h i s t i c spectaculars. John's doubt-faith conundrum is 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 is employed by Geard: once, in a sleep-projection of destructive eidola, and later, in a frenzied f i t of denial at the opening of the Saxon Arch. Yet, when Geard t e l l s John of his approaching suicide, John had to struggle by the use of the most cynical considerations from his heathen Stone-worshipping nature, to cover up the primordial ice-crack, the glacier-crevasse among his sunlit earth-rocks, which the problem of Mr. Geard perhaps quite erroneously-had uncovered before his pessimistic imagina-tion. (29.1091). John and Mary (she embodies, as H. P. Collins points out, John's feminine self) almost see the Grail a number of times. Having rejected the magical properties of Glastonbury before she met John, she becomes more sensitive to them; however, like John she claims that her true home is i n Norfolk. When they return there, they take with them the corpse not only of Tom Barter but also "of their s t i l l b o r n never-returning oppor-tunity of touching the Eternal in 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 live to-gether, their unsatisfied desire, which is the strongest psychic force in the world,"was so caught up and so heightened by the frustrated desires of two thousand years, which in that valley had pulsed and jetted and spouted, that i t did actually draw near to that Secret Thing." (4.113). There are those, however, who shut themselves off completely from the power that is Glastonbury's. The communists, Dave Spear and Red Robin-61 son, and the anarchist, Paul Trent, ignore that power so busy are they with effecting p o l i t i c a l , social and economic reform. They are slightly wooden figures because in their refusal to recogn'ize the legitimacy of the Grail and what i t symbolizes they are meant, by Powys, to be caricatures. By ut-tering solely doctrinal statements, they demean and ossify themselves. The revolutionaries see Glastonbury, not as a sacred repository of intimations of immortality, but as Anytown which could be communized. Ironically, they i n s t a l l a soci a l i s t factory which manufactures religious icons. Powys in-dicates by the dissatisfaction of the working class with the triumvirate that the substitution of communism for capitalism merely shifts the balance of economic power; i t in no way satisfies the desire for real l i f e which is on a plane transcending the material. Although Trent, Spear and Robinson regard him as a figure-head mayor, Geard, the placid visionary, sees Glas-tonbury restored to i t s condition as the Isle of Glastonbury--Avallon. Philip Crow, too, rejects the sacred claims of the town. His vision of the universe being what i t i s , he is a much more dangerous adver-sary to the s p i r i t of Glastonbury than the revolutionaries. Although Powys admires Philip's drive, just as he does that of Dog Cattistock, the capit-a l i s t of Weymouth Sands, he dislikes Philip's wilful blindness to the sup-ernatural. Everything Philip does is antithetical to animism and mystery. After a flight in his airplane, he muses: It had a l l passed only too quickly.' It seemed only just a minute ago that he had scrambled into his seat on the back of this shining torpedo with dragon-fly wings. But what thoughts, what sensations.' His brain whirled with the vision of an earth-life dominated absolutely by Science, of a hu-man race that had shaken off i t s fearful childhood and looked at things with a clear, unfilmed, unperverted eye. He said to himself, as he walked out of the f i e l d with Barter...that this conquest of air had reduced those Glastonbury Ruins to nothing. (8.226). 62 Philip does not carry a stick, he is not close to nature, and is in fact, is interested only in exploiting i t . He is very much like Gerald Crich of Women in Love, desiring only to conquer the land and harness i t s po-:" wer. Thinking of Glastonbury as "this effeminate flower-garden of pretty-pretty superstitions and mediaeval abracadabra."1 (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 , airlines above i t . ' " (8. 225). Though he exhibits a great deal of willpower in wanting to begin over again after his bridge is washed away, and his factory is flooded, he has a malignant w i l l . Foregoing i t s use solely as an agent to "forget and enjoy" as Wolf and John Crow do, Philip uses his w i l l to impose his vision on his wife and lover, employees and townsfolk: 'in the bowels of the Mendips, ' his wild feelings ran, 'my_ girl...my_ pleas-ure... I, I, I,. . .taking my pleasure...conquering this land underneath the 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 Philip Crow, is 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 Nell Zoyland until he gives in to the saint-ego in him and rejects her. His sight of the Gr a i l , however, causes him to reassess himself; this results in his re-, jection of the saint-ego for the happiness which he realizes he should not have denied himself. Long before his vision of the Grail, Sam believes in the inter-section of the eternal with the temporal; however, mysticism for him is not personal but rather universal, without any direct relation to Glaston-bury or, indeed, himself: \ 63 'it's the Incarnation that transforms Nature. It has been done once. No-thing can reverse i t . Something has come into i t from outside; from that Outside you talk about. But It's in i t now.' You can't get r i d of i t . . . . Something has taken up Matter into Itself. 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 is no longer separate from Sp i r i t . It has become the l i v i n g flesh of Spirit. Verbum caro factum est.' 1 (9.265). Nonetheless, Sam is not so burdened with principles or doctrines that he is unable to give himself to Nell and to feel the pantheistic responsive-ness of nature. Though the incipient seeds of sainthood cause him to think of himself as a lover and a saint, Sam and Nell consummate their love fully. As the weeks go by, the impulse to sainthood becomes stronger and stronger in Sam. The ethereal presence of Christ, or rather, "the tormented body of his Redeemer. Himself," (14.398) obsesses him more and more unt i l i t suffuses his vision and masters him. He hardens himself to Nell, rebuffs her i n order to f u l f i l l himself in the image of Christ. His soul seemed to be saying to his natural senses and his natural w i l l : "You must go through this because Christ went through i t . I care not how you suffer; 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 suffering which he, the saint, wants to alleviate, he paradoxically becomes insensitive to those closest to him. As Holy Sam, he performs good deeds, befriending the friendless and admin-istering to the sick. When he is deepest into his saint phase though, he is furthest away from the spontaneous acceptance and apprehension of l i f e . It's a l l poison. It's a l l one g l i t t e r i n g , shining, seething tide of pois-onous 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 is e v i l . That's the great secret of Christ. And what he's aiming at now--the tortured Anti-God that he i s - - i s the freezing up of the life-stream.' (25.856). Sam cannot dam the life-force in him forever; because he has repressed i t , i t labours towards i t s own release. In the Grail scene, Sam is f i r s t s t i r -red by the external world, just as he was at Whitelake Cottage; 64 something in the atomic nature of the inorganic substance of these things must have answered to an inarticulate craving of Sam's, unti l Matter i t s e l f , the old obstinate Protean mystery, moved and stirred to meet him. He could actually feel 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 his surplus of pity was wrong, that "there must be a limit to pity or the life-stream would stop....The f i r s t motive of every living creature must be to realize i t s own identity." (28.980). Recognizing the symbolism in the strangulation of the fi s h in the Dekker's aquarium, and the consequent danger to his 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 his body, and free of his body, i t no longer f e l t contemptuous of his body. It had ceased to utter i t s mandates in the tone of a slavedriver." (28.998). Sam's epiphany, his vision of the Grail, however, cannot totally transform him. Though the appearance of the Grail, i t s e l f , reveals to Sam the presence of the eternal in the temporal, he has already been sure that this was the case. In his attempt to formulate a credo around the Grail, Sam is only frustrated. For Powys, the Grail's' message is that no one Receptacle of Life and no one Fountain of Life poured into that Receptacle can contain or explain what the world offers us....the symbolism of the Grail represents a lapping up of one perfect drop of noonday happiness as Nietzsche in his poignant words would say, or as Nature herself, according to the hint given us by Goethe, whispers to us in more voices than at present we are able to hear, or to understand when we do hear.2-* Thus, Sam's attempt to intellectualize the Grail vision i s rebuffed by every-one he tries to convince, even the simplest of the townsfolk. His mystical experience does abolish his scruples about making love to Nell; however, 25 Preface, p. x m . 65 he is only incipiently liberated from the malaise which Johnny Geard does not succumb to: Sam in his passion for the crucified, opposed himself to the Fir s t Cause, as Something so e v i l in It's cruelty that a man ought to resist I t , curse It, defy I t , and have no dealings with It. Thus in his loathing of the e v i l inGod, Sam, the Saint, refused to make any use of the beneficence in God; and this refusal was constantly handicapping him in his 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 insignificant part on the early chapters of A Glastonbury Romance. Content to let John Crow organize the Pageant and op-ening of the Saxon Arch, Geard lives that peculiarly unpurposeful existence which causes those sceptical of his powers to regard him as a charlatan. He is placidly confident of his a b i l i t y to u t i l i z e charged atmosphere, stating that "There are only about half 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-light in his wife and other women divulge his 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 his heretical Easter mass--on his knees in 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." (15.422). Unso-phisticated and impractical, he only lives to realize and actualize the magic of the Gr a i l , "a l i t t l e nucleus of Eternity, dropped somehow from the outer spaces upon one particular spot." (15.473). Whereas Sam Dekker imitates Christ, Geard imitates Merlin. He 66 refuses to allow Merlin to be acted in his pageant, 'creates' the new, re-ligious town of Glastonbury and, l a s t l y , dies into 'esplumeoir', the myst-erious death greater than l i f e . Geard's deeds are metaphorically a cele-bration of the powers of the human soul. Geard is not one to institutiona-l i z e his l i f e vision. Tired of the definitions he has to formulate as head of a new cult, he seeks personal fulfillment in, or rather, through death. Granted the ultimate vision of the Grail in i t s final shape, Geard dies. Owen Evans, though sp i r i t u a l l y receptive to and intellectually aware of the Grail, refuses to see i t . He knows that Glastonbury is sacred; he i s passionately cognizant of the ideals of i t s early dwellers: they sought for the knot of the opposites...for the copulation-cry of the Yes and No, for the amalgam of the Is and Is Not.' What they sought. ..what the Fisher Kings of my people sought, and no other priests of no other race have ever sought it...was not only the cauldron and the Spear...but that which exists in the moment of timeless time when these two are one.' (23. 772). Yet Owen wilf u l l y denies this vision for himself, so consumed i s he with his unpardonable sin. The desire in him to experience, vicariously or not, the k i l l i n g of a man with an iron bar is so strong that he is unredeemable. Though he tries to exorcise this demon by playing the part of the crucified Christ i n the Pageant, the sadistic worm is s t i l l e d only when he sees the bloodied skull of Tom Barter and the iron bar beside i t . The obsession which precludes Owen's immersion in Grail love is beyond his control. He is an unwilling, voyeuristic sadist. "Such abominable wickedness came st-raight out of the ev i l in the heart of the First Cause, travelled through the interlunar spaces, and entered the particular nerve in the erotic or-ganism of Mr. Evans which was predestined to respond to i t . " (9.254-255). Evans does not voluntarily give himself up to the contemplation of cruelty; 67 however, he is one of those whom the Fir s t Cause has capriciously made to howl and to eat dung. Exhibiting Hardian determinism, Powys, in In Defence  of Sensuality, can sympathize with the sufferers at the hand of chance. Nonetheless, he dictates that we feel gratitude that i t was someone else who was made to suffer. Mr. Evans, then, is 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 his l i f e - i l l u s i o n which Powys felt were dominant when he wrote Autobiography (c.f. "Introduction", p. 8.) are present as characters in A Glastonbury Romance. John Crow the ichthy-osaurus-ego, Johnny Geard the magician, Sam Dekker the saint and Owen Evans the sadist live in a place charged with the spiritual force of the Gail. Each, according to his own nature, responds to this force which is the point of reference for everyone in this large novel. Glastonbury Tor, Wirral H i l l and Chalice H i l l stabilize the structure of this novel. They are the repos-itories of myth and history which Bloody Johnny does not relegate to a crustacean past. Whereas Stonehenge is 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. It is on Glastonbury Tor that Geard's eyes are transfixed while the drowning man sees the Grail. It is Glastonbury Tor that we f i r s t see when John Crow and Evans ride towards Glastonbury. Rich in history, 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. It also was the place on which Abbot Whiting and Tom Barter were murdered. Similarily, Chalice H i l l is f u l l of a past which foreshadows what occurs on i t in the present. The enchanted castle of Carbonek, where the Grail was kept and where, i f one sat in a particular 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 is very strong. The characters' relation to the h i l l s no less than their actions define their attitude to the Grail. Powys ex 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." (28.981). One is always aware of the h i l l s — as setting for the action, as h i l l s climbed by the characters. They exist as material phenomena and as images and symbols. 26 "A Glastonbury Romance is less a book than a Bible." Unlike the tin 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. I do hope, though, that the notion that A Glastonbury Romance is formless and, consequently, only b r i l l i a n t because of the author's energy and, at times, rhapsodic prose has been dispelled^. G. Wilson Knight, The Saturnian Quest (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1964), p. 41. 69 CHAPTER IV MAIDEN CASTLE Maiden Castle is a hybrid of A Glastonbury Romance and Wolf  Solent. It 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 . More detached than Wolf Solent and more concen-trated than A Glastonbury Romance, i t effectively synthesizes the inten-tions of the earlier novels. Yet Maiden Castle, the earthwork for which the novel is named, despite i t s imposing history, does not evoke the at-mospheric 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 birth-cries of occult generation, raised up in defiance of Matter, in defiance of Fate, and in 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 in Maiden Castle's religious 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 is at the centre of this book, is largely un-affected by Maiden Castle; however, understanding his father's vision of i t helps him to articulate his own response to the universe. Though he retains the cherished sensations which he lives for and rejects the chal-lenges his father and Wizzie present to his idiosyncratic 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 isolationism, he comes to understand himself and his surroundings better because of his experiences in Dorchester and at Maiden Castle. Maiden Castle, then, has a l l the ingredients of the f i r s t two novels discussed. It has a selfish Powys-figure, a Communist, a saint-ego, a magician and, in Maiden Castle, a primitive building erected in the s p i r i t of Stonehenge. G. Wilson Knight in The Saturnian Quest writes that "Maiden Castle is a transition work. On i t pivots Powys's shift of interest from Wessex to Wales".2 However, i t seems to me that the novel is more an exploration of Dud No-Man's response, partly to Maiden Castle, but more important to Dorchester and the people he is intimately concern-ed with than i t is an exploration of Maiden Castle's Welsh sources. It is true that pagan cult around Maiden Castle is related more specifically to Welsh mythology than the cult Johnny Geard tries to re-establish in Glastonbury; and that Uryen Quirm's roots are specifically of Welsh ex-tract whereas Johnny Geard's though occult, are not traced to any parti-cular race-consciousness. Nonetheless, Maiden Castle plays a relatively small part in the novel which bears i t s name as the t i t l e . The reader is not made aware of the earthwork's constant presence, though i t is on the outskirts 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 relationship of the characters therein. In fact, in his fi n a l remarks to Nancy, Dud/ rejects the mysticism that The Saturnian Quest, p..49. 71 Uryen evolves from his definition of the Welsh powers which created Maiden Castle. Because Maiden Castle is more externalized than Wolf Solent, the indictments of Dud's nature are more severe than those of Wolf's. Yet Dud does not modify his idiosyncratic habits despite Wizzie's abandonment of him and his father's occultism. Although i t does not have the rich atmospheric presence of Glas-tonbury, Maiden Castle does serve as a point of reference for the spiritual natures of the novel's characters. Uryen, for example, lives the ancient values of the earthwork so fu 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 his whole-hearted embrace of the s p i r i t of Maiden Castle, he is like John Geard, a magician. It is at Maiden Castle that Uryen is in closest contact with his vision because he believes that when the cult around Maiden Castle flourished, this vision was a reality. Once at Maiden Castle, he performs rituals which bring him into a communion with i t s gods. When the archeol-ogical discoveries are unearthed from Maiden Castle, Uryen tries to com-municate 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 im-patient movements to arrange matters according to some overpowering sec-ret intention of his own. (8.370). To the others, the Castle and i t s subterranean treasures represent less awesome things than they do to Uryen. Though Dud and his friends on the outing are inarticulately aware of the mystery of the idols, they are not responsive to the psychic energy unleashed by the idols 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 his fire .may have 72 been momentarily stirred by the idols; however, their presence and that of Maiden Castle are not nearly as pervasive as that of Glastonbury and the Grail. Furthermore, Uryen is not at a l l preoccupied with the char-acter of Maiden Castle. He merely regards i t as a symbol of the power he wants to possess. Dud's concern for Maiden Castle and i t s strange gods is minimal. Although he recognizes that l i f e is not bound by cause and effect logic, he i s too sceptical to commit himself fully to the re-ligious quality of Uryen's response to Maiden Castle. Though not as tor-tured as John Crow who fluctuates violently between belief and disbelief in Geard's miracles, he does identify himself with Uryen's plane of exis-tence--"We both live at a somewhat different level from most people. Mind you, I don't say at a higher level, but a different one" (9.495)--while rejecting Uryen's elaborate method of sustaining himself there. Dud is more mindful of the richness of Dorchester. Finally, there is Claudius Cask whose response to Maiden Castle is broadly similar to the responses of Philip Crow, Dave Spear and Red Robinson to Glastonbury; he is totally devoid of any sense of the supernatural quality of i t . Powys's intention i n Maiden Castle, then, is not primarily to explore a region and the reactions to i t . H. P. Collins writes: Maiden Castle is wholly occupied with the essence of l i f e ; but especi-a 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 poss-ession with the idea of race survival and of our ancestors' being s t i l l alive in ourselves, part of ourselves, is evident everywhere. The im-pressiveness of Maiden Castle has in fact l i t t l e to do with happening or expectation. There is no authentic present or futurity: whatever happens, one feels, i s already deeply in the past. Disagreeing with H. P. Collins, I think that, in concentrating on Dud No-man in the novel, Powys's ambition is not nearly as vast as the preceding John Cowper Powys; Old Earth Man, p. 136. 73 quote would have i t . Certainly, race-consciousness is central to Dud and is one of the values he holds sacred throughout the novel. Uryen's an-cestral t i e s , however, are not enshrined in Dud's final articulation of his relationship with Uryen. The impact of the novel arises out of Dud No-man's interaction with and partial immunity to Wizzie and Uryen and Maiden Castle. And our judgement i s not channelled towards assessing the validi t y of Maiden Castle as a repository of the Welsh Golden Age; rather, i t is channelled towards an evaluation Dud No-man and his decision to for-f e i t Wizzie and most of his father's values for his selfish life-way. As Kenneth Hopkins points out in The Powys Brothers the concluding passages of Wolf Solent and Maiden Castle are remarkably similar. Both extol the individual, more detached and sceptical than the magician, who derives his pleasure from those contemplative moments in which are received 'in-timations of immortality. 1 Once again, H. P. Collins denies the craftsmanship of John Cowper Powys when he writes that Maiden Castle is "curiously lacking in shape or planned development".4 This is not the case. Just as he does in Wolf Solent, Powys, in Maiden Castle, links a l l the motifs he intro-duces in the early parts of the novel. As with Wolf Solent and John Crow, Dud No-man is a newcomer to the locale in which the story takes place. As the hero (or, as in 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 is to live in and adapt to the universe. Wolf Solent's search begins when he asks himself "whether the events that a-4 I b i d . , p. 136. 74 waited him...would be able to do what no outward events had yet done-break up this mirror of half-reality and drop great stones of real reality-down there among those dark waters" (1.21). He is almost destroyed when the new experiences crucially alter his inner make-up. The whole of Wolf So-lent delineates these events. Dud No-man's l i f e - i l l u s i o n , the way of act-ing in the understanding the universe which gives each individual his separate identity, is not severely altered during the course of Maiden  Castle; however, his somewhat s e l f i s h , passive acceptance of the universe undergoes many tests which cause him to reaffirm the life-way he has cho-sen for himself. Concomitant with this is the ease with which he accepts, i f not resolves, those images and questions which troubled him when he is ' f i r s t described. For instance, in Chapter One, Dud, musing on the rea-son he chose to come to Dorchester, idealizes his motive into "a longing to solve...the ultimate meaning of death i t s e l f " (1.20). His agitation to, in a sense, break through, to discover how 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 result in a l i f e after death. If our survival of death, he had come to feel, depended on the intensity with which we lived our individual l i f e , the intensity 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 lik e l y to dodge annihilation; whereas i f our chance depended on the power we develop for sinking our individuality in others' lives, why then i t was the dead Mona (Dud's wife) who had the better start. (1.21). After being exposed to Uryen's longing to break through, Dud loses his desire to solve eschatological questions. At the end of the novel he is content merely to live in the universe. Instead of answering the question he had formulated about which way one should live to immortalize oneself, like his mother grasping l i f e or like his 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 his own way." (9.496). The heraldic heads, one of which is always fixed-to Dud's bead-post and the other which Uryen gives him to substantiate Uryen's claim of paternity, recur as frequently in Maiden Castle as the image of the face on the steps of Waterloo Station recurs in Wolf Solent. Dud comes to terms with them, too, at the end of the book. What the heraldic head represented to Dud, "what most of a l l he seemed to detect in i t was simply desire, that Faustian 'desire' to penetrate and enjoy--even in forbidden directions--the huge mystery of the Cosmos" (1.18). Yet as symbols of the Faustian desire to break through, which is given the name of Hiraeth by Uryen, the heraldic bed-posts are eschewed by Dud. He rejects the Welsh mythological significance Uryen ascribes to them. To him they are redolent of the spir-i t that l i f e is not lived on a s t r i c t l y material, rational level. Identi-fying himself in this respect with his father, Dud says that "It a l l comes from l i v i n g , as he and I do, more in the great cosmic forces...than i n or-dinary human interests" (9.495). His father's mistake, Dud feels, 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 in the novel, Dud relates the heads to Malory's Questing  Beast which in turn is related to "Dor-Marth" which means the 'Door of Death'. The quest for this monster, Dud remembers, thumbing through his volume of Malory was "apparently confined to one particular family, of whom Malory only knew two, Pellenore and Palomides, who might have been father and son" (3.114). Although his father goes on the quest which in-volved the Hiraeth (which I shall return to later) Dud does not do so. 76 "He (Uryen) thought this 'groaning and travailing' of the longing in us could break through the barrier. But there is_ no barrier" (9.493). Dud comes to view the heraldic heads merely as repositories of history. As part of the whole alive, animistic universe, the heads represent " a l l the Inanimates on earth in which man's love-longing loses i t s e l f , and in which i t finds i t s e l f . There's not a stick or stone in this place into which some lonely s p i r i t hasn't poured the tragedy of his unsatisfied desire" (9.493). Because the heraldic heads overlook the bed on which Dud made cerebral love to Mona's wraith and on which he ached for Wizzie after she le f t him, they are suffused with his longings. Dud, however, does not try to use this storehouse of frustrated desire to find a higher level of reality. This i s i n keeping with his passive, non-defining acceptance of the universe. To l i e back and receive sensations, to be the ichthyosaurus-ego i s , for Dud, to live a f u l l l i f e . Uryen, on the contrary, seizes the beast heads as the repositories of s t i f l e d desire which w i l l aid him to transcend this level of existence and live a sort of inner nirvana, an inner golden age. He becomes more and more attached to these symbols of a liberation from this l i f e as his own inner vision atrophies. This mac-eration occurs because he writes about that vision for money and because Wizzie and Thuella prove to be unsatisfactory mediums for his epiphany. When Wizzie returns the heraldic head to him, He kissed the grotesque thing, he hugged i t , he mumbled incoherent gib-berish over i t , he examined i t , he turned i t f i r s t one way and then ano-ther, 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 his eyes, to his mouth, to his fore-head, and even to his ears. (9.448). As Uryen becomes, so he feels, more and more ineffectual in his attempt to 'break through', he relates more and more strongly to that object which 77 embodies that Hiraeth, that Faustian desire which in him is thwarted. Uryen Quirm is a fascinating character whom Powys explores be-yond his relation to the bedposts. Like Johnny Geard his awareness of l i f e on a supernatural plane sets him apart from other men. However, the method he invokes in his attempt to live his other reality is different from and less successful than Johnny's. Geard is a placid, sensual per-son, not the least b i t averse to f u l f i l l i n g himself sexually with his wife. Hedonistic, he is able in his lifetime to effect the intersection •of the Timeless with the temporal. A Glastonbury Romance closes with a heightened l y r i c a l cry. espousing Geard's anti-rational, mystical but un-defined 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 is as ill-kempt as Johnny Geard and has a head of majestic proportions similar to Johnny's, does not have the zeal for l i f e that Johnny, in addition to his mystical powers, has. Dud's f i r s t impression of Uryen is of "a half - v i t a l i z e d corpse" (1.55). Mr. Quirm's eyes were d u l l , l i f e l e s s , colourless, opaque. They were em-pty of every gleam of human response. They neither softened nor warmed; they neither lightened nor darkened--they were simply there, as i f some-one 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 te r r e s t r i a l l i f e is of l i t t l e interest to him. Uryen wishes to live l i f e entirely in his abnormally large head; he wishes to liv e on a di f f e r -ent level than most people do. Whereas Wizzie berates Dud for not being a man, Nance calls Uryen more than a man. He, himself, believes he is an incarnation of the Uryen of Welsh myth of whom the following is believed: 78 "The mental pain that breaks against the barrier, the mental pain that loses i t s e l f in death-in-life is 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 really i s . It is the old magic of the mind, when, driven to bay by the dogs of rea l i t y , i t turns upon the mathematical l i f e and tears i t to bits.' It's the old magic of the mind, the secret of which has been so often lost; t i l l the Welsh, along among the races, hid i t instead of squandering i t . " (6. 252-253). And he, the present-day Uryen, believes that the 'secret' has been re-born in him. Although i t is not enlarged on in the novel, he, like Johnny Geard, assumes the mantle of prophet and tries to i n s t i l l the es-sence of his vision in a l l those he comes into contact with. Nance says that, to the people of Dorchester, Uryen is their greatest wonder after Maiden Castle and Poundberry and Maumbury Rings. "Haven't they assured you that in the future people w i l l come to Glymes as i f to a shrine?" (1.59). Nonetheless, Uryen does not succees in gathering around him a cult as trusting as that around Bloody Johnny. Nor, does he succeed in breaking through to that plane of existence which Johnny Geard is in con-tact with when he performs his miracles. What Uryen has is a longing, a Hiraeth, by means of which he plans to realize a Utopian society, a golden age. Maiden Castle is one of Cybele's monuments, one of those structures which is a fragment of a purer, more noble era. "'You must remember, lad,' (Uryen) said, we're talking of the c i v i l i z a t i o n that built Stonehenge and Avebury.'" (6.239). This c i v i l i z a t i o n that is Uryen's ideal flourished in an age in which "there were no wars, no vivisection, no money, no ten-thousand-times ac-cursed nations.' " (9.467-8). Uryen feels that he has the power to res-tore this way of li v i n g . His hiraeth is the power, much like that cel-eb rated at the end of A Glastonbury Romance, 'that beautiful and terrible Force by which the Lies of great creative Nature give birth to Truth that 79 is to be.' Uryen defines i t in the following manner: It moves from the impossible to the impossible. It abolishes cause and effect. It strides from world to world creating new things out of no-thing.' It takes Nature between i t s fingers and Evolution in the palm of i t s hand. It's more than desire. It's a l l the defeated longing, a l l the baffled longing, a l l the forbidden longing, a l l the beating against the walls, that makes the wind howl and the rain cry.' And i t w i l l br-eak 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 redeem-ed, and what was intended to happen w i l l be allowed to happen, and the superstition of science w i l l be exploded forever.'"' (9.468). The power to create, to actualize these ideals i s solely a mental one. For Uryen, the imagination is this supreme creative force--"'All 1s vision, lad,....the truth of l i f e ' s in the imagination, not in ashes and urns.' I t e l l you we, I and others like me, are the gods of Mai-Dun'" (6.250). Uryen's vision, however, is foiled. One reason Uryen f a i l s is that in writing about his l i f e - i l l u s i o n for the Cumbers in order to res-tore financial s t a b i l i t y , he articulates what is essentially a non-verbal vision, a mystical vision which rested a good deal on faith. Attempting to ratiocinate about an anti-or non-national concept, he, in Dud's words, "has shaken his own faith and got a l l confused, troubled, uncertain, ex-posed in some way, not knowing what he does believe or doesn't believe" (9.433). The other important reason for Uryen's failure is the method he employs for breaking through. Uryen's reasoning, an offshot of Powys's avowed enjoyment of cerebral, voyeuristic lovemaking, is that unrequited love evokes the most powerful psychic vibrations that one can emit. He seizes on Thuella's lesbian longing for Wizzie to carry him to his inner vision--"'It's nothing to you that I've taken your'--and he fixed his flaming eyes on Thuella—'feeling for you'--and he turned them on Wizzie --' to break through into the mystery that maddens me.'" (9.466). And 80 truly, the g i r l s do not care whether Uryen realizes his desire. They love him; indeed, Wizzie is quite prepared to give herself to him sex-ually. However, Wizzie is remote from and unmoved by his occultism: "It wasn't his demented Hiraeth that brought that lump (to her throat). It was her own practical, definite, professional Hiraeth, her longing to be whirling round the ring." 1 (9.467). Summing up Uryen's idiosyn-cratic tendencies, Dud t e l l s Nance, "Enoch's idea was, I think, that frustrated love--unreturned love I mean --was the strongest magnetic force in the world. Mephistopheles gives Faust a key by which he 'breaks through.... To Enoch this 'key' was frus-trated love; and for some reasons he got into his head that 'Thel's' love for Wizz was like that.' Neither of them, of course, had the least idea of what he was up to. (9.495). Consequently, Uryen never achieves his inner golden age. He dies dis-claiming the name Uryen and his ties 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 his father's behaviour as sham, a great deal of the scorn that Dud directs at his father is un-leashed because that man is his father and not because Dud's own l i f e -i l l u s i o n is so opposed to Uryen's. Both men, in fact, are alike in their loathing of the pragmatic, progressivistic ideology Claudius Cask pro-pounds. Though he is not caught up i n the search for a golden age, and though he is much more at home in the universe than Uryen, Dud believes in that dimension of l i f e which is not easily apprehensible from the plane on which we live. 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 is another side to the moon." (6.233). By the same token, Uryen is sympathetic to Dud's goals, to his aware-81 ness of a region's impact. When his son t e l l s him that he is writing 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 role in the novel, despite Maiden  Castle's lengthy consideration of the lives of Dud and his father. Clau-dius 's materialism and altruism provide a necessary contrast with Uryen's occultism and Dud's sensation-seeking. Dud speaks of Claudius as being objective, he and his father subjective. Because of Claudius's faith in man's rational progress toward a communist state and an ideal future, he is regarded, by Dud, as being 'a mere objective bridge to the world's future'. 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 social animal, Claudius is the counter-balance against which Dud measures his own l i f e - i l l u s i o n at the end of the novel. Hearing one of Claudius's airplanes, Dud resolves a l l the more firmly to reject the future for which Claudius holds so much hope. Claudius is totally lacking in the awareness of that other d i -mension of l i f e which Dud and Uryen are, to varying degrees, cognizant of. His attitude toward Maiden Castle echoes Dave Spear's toward Glas-tonbury. To retain a sense of i t s mystery is to retard progress. Its one of those cases when virtues are as bad for Progress as v i c e s -Evolution means Scientif i c Excavation at one end and Scienti f i c Experi-ment 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, glorifying 'Scientific Experiment", Claudius sanctions that Frankenstein--like quality of progress that Powys despised. In the name of just such experimentation, vivisection, the dispassionate torturing 82 of animals, is condoned, (Weymouth Sands and Morwyn contain more explicit diatribes against this kind of detached exploration of the universe.) Claudius is a reformer. He is physically and s p i r i t u a l l y akin to the prag-matic Romans, even adopting the sobriquet Claudius in place of his real name, Roger. Oblivious to prehistoric races and forces, he traces the lineage of Dorchester as well as Uryen's dark gods to Rome. In his zeal for science and progress, Claudius is no more subtly delineated than the Communists of A Glastonbury Romance. About the wire-less, Claudius exults'"How they tower above our personal sensations.' How they point to the great Future.''" (3.138). Yet Claudius is not as plas-t i c a figure as, say, Dave Spear. 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, in his words, the saint-ego. Though Claudius s t i l l spouts his dogma about eradicating subjective, personal feelings and about the triumph of man over nature, his love for Jenny preys more heavily on his 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 is miti-gated. He advocates merely l i v i n g in the universe and being sensitive to the richness of his environment. Though he rejects his father's desire to 'break through', he recognizes his response to the universe is as un-s c i e n t i f i c , as unmechanistic as Uryen's. Like Wolf who finds his s p i r i t 83 akin to that of 'old Truepenny's', Dud, hostile to Uryen on their outing to Maiden Castle, reconciles himself to their caramon antipathy to modern, industrial c i v i l i z a t i o n . The surname No-man was chosen by Dud "in his sulky reaction against his parents, as an inspiration of pure misanthropy," (1.18), when he learned that his mother's husband was not his father. Bearing out this chosen apellation, he is told by Wizzie that, because he is 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.1 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 realize, D. , we've never once made i t up? Why haven't we? Because you're not a manj (9.440). Dud, like Wolf Solent, is simply not a passionate, physically responsive man. Wolf's misfortune is to marry an earthy, active woman whom he cannot f u l f i l l . His spiritual union with Christie is more f u l f i l l i n g because i t is wholly cerebral. At least, i t is more satisfying to him than to her, Christie wanting a man in the sensuous and passionate way Wizzie wanted Dud to respond. Dud is just as selfish as Wolf. He wants Wizzie on his own terms. He wants to make love to her only in a cerebral manner. His dead wife died a virgin and there is nothing i n the novel to indicate that Dud brings his protracted love-making, his fondling of Wizzie, to actual coitus. Indeed, carnal contact seems to hold as l i t t l e interest 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 is a Powys-figure, is drawn as objectively and with as much detached amusement by Powys as are John Crow and Magnus Muir. He is totally unaware of Wizzie's needs and, in his bumbling i n a b i l i t y to understand her, he is a pathetic figure. Though Wizzie's sympathetic neighing for her horse is not as aesthetically pleasing as Gerda's black-bird whistle, i t , nonetheless, provides an insight into that part of her character which Dud cannot fathom. She, "a natural daughter...of the earth-goddess Caridwen" (8.364), desires the physical and emotional contact with a man that Dud No-man cannot supply. The type of love Dud prefers to indulge in is suited much more for his Mona-wraith than for Wizzie. Wizzie, in fact, though she loathes 'Old Funky' for having raped her and made her pregnant, muses about how she could possibly have fought Urgan off, but did not do so. Wanting a man less repulsive than Urgan, she, nonetheless, wants a man to take her as he did. Wizzie also admires Old Funky for having coached her and cared for her body unt i l she performed flawlessly on her horse. Dud, indeed, denies her whole personality, seeing himself as "the Bronze-Age way-farer with his Stone Age paramour" (2.92). He refuses to allow her to break into his well-regulated existence except when he wants his lust to be stirred or when he wishes to relate incidents about his writing or his habitual walks. Dud is that type of person, a selfi s h sensation-seeker, who needs a woman and is aware of a woman only when she contributes to his mental l i f e . In his prefatory note to Maiden Castle, Malcolm Elwin argues that the novel is a study of the destructive powers of feminine emotions. 85 The problems of man and woman li v i n g together being 'when the f i r s t love is gone...when the state of being in love is.over.' Woman has to contend with her impulse to self assertion and that possessive instinct which may result in 'her devouring and swallowing up, like an insanely possessive python, both her offspring and her mate.1 Man has to rationalize 'his impersonal masculine lust' and find refuge i n a mental l i f e . ' 6 Elwin's theory is not valid for this novel. Wizzie is not a Lamia-figure. Nor is Dud involved i n his mental construct to save his relationship with Wizzie. His apartness precedes his love-making which, in i t s e l f , is de-tached and u n f u l f i l l i n g for his mate. Wizzie exposes many of the foibles that are offshoots of Dud's idiosyncratic nature. She is cold to the fondling which makes him so ec-static; she mocks him for his adherence to his sensations: He's got nothing on his mind, as 'Thel says, but his walks and his sensa-tions. 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 char-acter. She is not ignorant of Dud's race-consciousness or the degree to which he relies on his walking stick. About the stick, Wizzie thinks, "'With i t he looks like a selfish old man; without i t like a selfish child.' But that's a l l his mind does when i t gets out of i t s e l f . I t goes into his stick.'"' (8.386). At the end of Maiden Castle, after Dud utters what is to be his credo--"'Hold to the you move on. The fut-ure's not everything.'" (9.496)--he digs his stick into the earth and fixes his eyes on the ground. His communion with the earth finished, he goes to meet Nance and the novel ends. At the close of Wolf Solent, Wolf swings his stick in the f i e l d in which he receives his final 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 liv i n g in the universe, receiving 'intimations of immortality'. Both reject that urge of man to progress which is represented in Wolf Solent by the 'Apparition of Modern Invention' and in Maiden Castle by one of Claudius's airplanes from which Dud averts his eyes to assert his own way of l i f e . Dud's race-consciousness together with his cerebral sensuality, which I shall explore more ful l y when I examine his lovemaking with Mona and Thuella, are the two most important facets of his inner l i f e . Of his race-consciousness, i t is 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 in this, with i t s magical overtones, that he sought to immerse him-self. This was the impersonal element in his subjective l i f e , this was the reverse side of his cerebral sensuality. It was to this winnowed reality, a reality caught under a purged light f a l l i n g on the less transient gestures of our race, that his soul responded with a feeling that broke up the limitations of his grosser nature. (5.196). Enlarging on a specific example in which he senses the richness of the strata of human c i v i l i z a t i o n s , Dud says: 'It isn't just sensation that I live for....It's something that has behind i t more than you think—the 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 in 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 light with my own hands? It isn't only a sensual pleasure; i t ' s a religion, i t ' s an ecstasy of l i f e . ' (8.338) . Voicing a Lawrentian concern for modern man's detachment from the sources of his l i f e , Dud celebrates that facet of the ichthyosaurus-ego, that contemplative ecstasy, which unravels the whole human life-tapestry. He responds to Dorchester, the town in which the action of Maiden Castle takes place, as "a region charged with so many layers of suggestive antiquity" (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 earth-full of the magic of 87 the generations" (9.492). In Durnovaria Dud can best contemplate the layers of man's l i f e , feeling 'himself backward, down the long series of his avatars' and beyond. As an ichthyosaurus-ego, he is 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, is much like the sense of Glastonbury Powys evokes. Keenly aware of Dorchester's history, Dud writes a novel about the cruel burning of Mary Channing in 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 is not as climactic as Uryen's. He does not try to live wholly in another c i v i l i z a t i o n ; he is only con-scious of the other civ i l i z a t i o n s . His race consciousness is immediately gratifying; i t provides him with the sense of the continuity of existence which was so essential to Wolf Solent. Dud's love-making is similarly pleasurable. It is cerebral not because he wishes to use i t to break through into a l i f e behind this one but because i t , in i t s e l f , f i l l s him with ecstasy. What makes him rapturous is the contemplation of what Powys in his Autobiography calls his sylphid ideal. Powys, finding maternal love too cloying, was attracted to girls 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 fleeting, floating, fluttering fantasy of femininity, a kind of Platonic essence of sylph-hood, not exactly virginal sylphidness, but the state of being-a-Sylph carried to such a limit 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 his Mona-wraith. In his mind, he creates a g i r l not in the image of Mona; rather Mona becomes a sylph-like creature who absorbs every amorous in-stinct he possessed. He regards his ethereal necrophilia as 'an af f a i r with an Elemental'. In addition, one is prepared for his attraction to Thuella, a name that means storm-cloud. She is described as being thin and having a f r a i l , androgynous being. Very much like Christie of Wolf  Solent, she seems to be one of those whose sex is Saturnian, who is nei-ther male nor female but who has that g i r l i s h attribute over which Powys gloats. Her dalliance with Dud beside the scummy pond involves "their magnetic advances and retreats, while the absence of actual contact be-tween them evoked, in place of any twinge of tantalization, an intensity of imaginative lust that was transporting". (5.212). This kind of res-ponse, which Dud calls impersonal lust, 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 his dead wife, Dud is nonetheless puzzled that Wizzie does not accept his kind of loving. "It meant nothing to her that there was in this a proof of the intensity of his feeling, a proof of i t s etherealized sensuality, of i t s a l l pervasiveness and absorbing diffusion" (9.486). Dud remains faithful in his life-way. Like the ich-thyosaurus-ego Powys describes in In Defence of Sensuality, Dud refuses to become too involved with other people. He knows that his precious sen-sations occur when he is alone and free from cloying human relationships. Alone, he can receive his 'intimations of immortality'. 89 We need no unusual 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 of t a s t e , no e s p e c i a l l u c k i n our chance-given abode, no favour from the gods i n our fate-chosen companions, no e x c e p t i o n a l power of mind or s p i r i t , to s a t u r a t e ourselves i n Wordsworth's way of l i f e . Surrounded by dulness 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 that 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 aloofness from the w o r l d , a c e r t a i n sacred s t u p i d i t y , a c e r t a i n consecrated 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 hour, and a tendency, I might almost say, to share the subhumanity of rocks and stone and t r e e s , to watch the grass growing t i l l we grow w i t h i t , the way-side stones w a i t i n g t i l l we wait w i t h them, to walk 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 , to catch the pathos of the human generations from the r a i n on the r o o f , and the burden of the mystery that rounds i t a l l from the wind that voyages past the t h r e s h o l d . 8 Maiden C a s t l e ends where i t begins, at the graveyard where Dud f i r s t met Nancy Quirm. The novel i s c y c l i c a l w i t h respect to time as w e l l ; the a c t i o n takes place over e x a c t l y one year. 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 to a r r i v e where we s t a r t e d ^ And know the place f o r the f i r s t time. Dud does not adopt a new stance toward experience during Maiden C a s t l e . In the face of what happens to him i n Dorchester, he r e a f f i r m s h i s l i f e -i l l u s i o n . John Cowper Powys. The Enjoyment of L i t e r a t u r e . (N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 1938), p. 315. T.S. E l i o t , "Four Quartets" i n C o l l e c t e d Poems: 1909-1962, p. 222. 90 CHAPTER V CONCLUSION My purpose i n examining the themes and structures of Wolf Solent, A Glastonbury Romance and Maiden Castle has been to show that Powys's primary concern i s a r t i s t i c not prophetic. His focus i s not on the formulation of a way of l i v i n g i n the universe; rather, he presents a m u l t i p l i c i t y of responses to the universe and probes the v i a b i l i t y of those responses. His i n t e n t i o n i s to place h i s characters i n an environment, both p h y s i c a l and human, which they explore and react to. Only i n the c l o s i n g pages of A Glastonbury Romance dO©she forego the characters he created and the l o c a l e s he described to assert the indomitable q u a l i t y of that force which had been incarnated momentarily i n Johnny Geard. The very nature of the universe that Powys envisioned, though, does lead him to create a world i n which r a t i o n a l and mechanistic values are condemned and non-rational and mystical values celebrated. Powys roots his characters i n a l i v i n g , vibrant universe which i s t o t a l l y unlike the m a t e r i a l i s t i c urban m i l i e u that seems to be for many the essence of modern experience. For Powys, the cosmos i s a l i v e . I t i s "a place where lob-worms and newts have souls, and where the Inanimate has a d i s t u r b i n g porousness and transparency."''" In Autobiography, he r e l a t e s ' t h a t inanimate 'Autobiography, p. 61. 91 objects, such as the laurel-axe made him by his father and his father's thick boot-soles, always evoked in him "a feeling that I could flow through every material object I look at in a rapture of ident i f i c a t ion . " Powys's universe is not merely animistic, though. It is redolent of that intangible but irrefutable aspect of existence which Powys cal l s the fourth dimension. This element , which infuses the regions i n which the novels are set, is symbolized by the Grai l i n A Glastonbury Romance and is described by Uryen Quirm as being ' l i ke the other side of the moon.' Sen-s i t ive to the supernatural, Powys includes i n his world those mysterious forces which operate outside of human society. Al so , he i s sympathetic to those writers who recognize this elusive dimension. Dostoievsky is lauded because he is attuned to the ' r e a l ' rea l i ty which "implies a world of four dimensions, in other words a world with a super-lunar crack in the cause-ard effect logic that two and two make four. Dickens is revered by Pox-jys because he attacks "the same worldly and false rea l i ty that Jesus attacked . . . t h e world of 'e f f ic ient work,' the world whose hard self-made gods are the gods of knowledge and power." 4 The environment in which Powys situates his characters i s charg-ed with layers of his tory, and with psychic eidola and emanations. Conse-quently, he is unable to write a three-dimensional novel, that i s , a novel which contains "characters that are convincingly rea l , playing their part 2 Ib id . , p. 61 ^Dostoievsky, p. 19. 4John Cowper Powys, Enjoyment of Literature (N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 1938), p. 334. 92 against a background that is convincingly real, in a series of events that are of absorbing interest."5 Assuredly one of Powys's aims in A Glaston-bury Romance is to create "a convincing which i t is possible to fancy yourself moving about freely and recognizing houses, streets, gardens ..."6 So, too, does he write Wolf Solent to rekindle his memory of those places in which he grew up. ("Wolf Solent is a book of Nostalgia, written in a foreign country with the pen of a traveller and the ink-blood of his home."7) Nonetheless, although he is extremely conscious of the formal re-alism"^ which Ian Watt relates is at the heart of the novel, Powys is more preoccupied with that realm of existence which transcends surface realism. Driven as we are by the urge of economic necessity, hemmed in as we are by fa t a l i t y of our material environment, there is a margin in a l l our lives when, whether we like i t or not, our thoughts and emotions wander from the matter in hand, and our imagination finds i t s e l f confronted by mysteries beyond the improvement of any human society. 9 Like D. H. Lawrence, Powys refuses to accept the dichotomy, h o s t i l -ity 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 tradition of western man. He is dismayed by modern man's negation of the earth, ^Dostoievsky, 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 definition of formal realism: the premise, or primary convention, that the novel is a f u l l and authentic report of human experience, and is therefore under an ob-ligation to satisfy i t s reader with such details of the story as the i n -dividuality of the actors concerned, the particulars of the times and places of their actions... p. 33. 9from The Art of Happiness. Quoted by Kenneth Hopkins in The Powys Brothers (London: Phoenix House, 1967), p. 151. 93 by his assumption that man is distinct from his natural environment. However, despite his rejection of the mechanistic, ratiocinative view of the cosmos, Powys does not espouse the simple, sensuous primitivisim which the Brangwen males embrace in The Rainbow: So much warmth and generating and pain and death did they know in their blood, earth and sky and beast and green plants, so much exchange and inter-change they had with those, that they lived f u l l and surcharged, their senses f u l l fed, their 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 in 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. Consequently, none of the characters Powys creates respond to the universe in that mute, solely physical manner which characterizes Tom Brangwen's life-way. Some of the characters in the novels do, of course, ignore the li v i n g quality of Powys's universe. The communists, Dave Spear and Claudius Cask, are too-caught up in their mundane, social selves to seek a meaningful relationship with the supernatural and the inanimate. Powys loathed their values of progress and social usefulness. To be an ameliorist, to try to change society i s to miss completely the purpose of l i f e . Powys defined work as 'dead time' around which is reality or in other words, the fourth dimension. He was sympathetic to communism, to the liquidation of private property but, as he himself queried, after 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 is he not concern-ed with them or interested in them but in a very profound sense he is hos-t i l e to them--one and all.' What we draw from his whole attitude to l i f e , is a tone, a mood, a temper that refuses to take p o l i t i c s s eriously. 1 1 The capitalist-figures in Powys's novels, such as Philip Crow and Dog Cattistock, are also blind to the breathing, s t i r r i n g universe. In fact, they attempt to exploit their 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 principally two ways in which one can li v e most fully in.the universe. One mode of fulfillment is 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 latter.) Powys does not commit himself fully to either way. Nor need he do so to emphasize the values which are sacred to him. Both the ichthyosaurus-ego and the mag-ician are aware of that plane of existence to which most people are obliv-ious. Both deny the Apparition of Modern Invention, the ideal of progress and other aspects of modern l i f e which obliterate the 'ecstasy of the un-bounded. Finally, both l i v e according to the maxim, Not on the vulgar mass Called "work," must sentence pass. 1 3 Thus, although no one facet of his l i f e - i l l u s i o n prevails i n the three novels, Powys does exhibit a strong bias with respect to his material. 1 1Dostoievsky, p. 107. 1 2D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love (Eng.: Penguin, 1960), pp. 256-7. 1 3Robert Browning, "Rabbi Ben Ezra". 95 He does not present his vision homogeneously in his novels; however, his central characters, ichthyosaurus-egos and magicians, integrate in their own ways animate and inanimate, seen and unseen, temporal and eternal. They are sensitive 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 lives a l -together; the rapid mechanization, organization, levelling-out and level-ling-down of existence, the elimination of distance, grandeur; the loss of contact with those mysterious processes which are outside and before and after human society.-^ Despite his refusal to acknowledge Powys's concern for the art and method of his novels, H. P. Collins concludes John Cowper Powys: Old  Earth Man with an eloquent plea for the enhancement of Powys's stature as a novelist. Collins writes that because Powys incorporates the super-natural and the inanimate and because he describes psychic and physical terrains that are untouched by other modern novelists, Powys has increased the range of the novel. It 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 level, building 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: Old Earth Man, p. 208. 15 Ibid., p. 211. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY PRIMARY WORKS Powys, John Cowper. Autobiography. London: The Bodley Head, 1934. . "The Creation of Romance." Modern Thinker, I (March, 1932), 74-76. . Dostoievsky. London: J. Lane, 1946. . The Enjoyment of Literature. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1938. . A Glastonbury Romance. London: The Bodley Head, 1933. . In Defence of Sensuality. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930. Maiden Castle. Hamilton, New York: Colgate U. Press, 1966. . The Meaning of Culture. New York: W. W. Norton, 1929. . Weymouth Sands. London: Macdonald, 1963. . Wolf Solent. England:. Penguin, 1964. SECONDARY WORKS Anderson, Arthur J. "John Cowper Powys: A Bibliography." Bulletin of  Bibliography, X X V (Sept., 1967), 73-78, 94. Aury, Dominique. "Reading Powys." Review of English Literature, IV (Jan. , 1963) , 33-37. Cavaliero, Glen. "Wolf Solent." Paper read before the Powys Society, May 25, 1968. Collins, H. P. John Cowper Powys: Old Earth Man. London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1966. 97 Going, Margaret Elizabeth Moorer. John Cowper Powys, Novelist. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, 1955. Hewitt, Christian Blancard. The Novels of John Cowper Powys. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, 1961. Hopkins, Kenneth. The Powys Brothers: A Biographical Appreciation. London: Phoenix House, 1967. Knight, G. Wilson. "Lawrence, Joyce and Powys." Essays in Criticism, XI (1961), 403-17. The Saturnian Quest. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1964. . "The Scholar Gipsy." Review of English Studies, VI (1955), 53-62. Langridge, Derek. John Cowper Powys; A Record of Achievement. London: The Library Association, 1966. Priestley, J. B. "The Happy Introvert," Review of English Literature, IV (Jan. , 1963), 25-32. Rhys, Ernest. Romance. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1913. Robillard, Douglas. "Landscape with Figures: The Early fi c t i o n of John Cowper Powys." Studies in the Literary Imagination, I (Oct., 1968), 51-58. Smith, M. "Introduction" to "The Magician Figure in the Novels of John Cowper Powys." Diss., Carleton U., May 1967. Wilson, Angus. "'Mythology' in John Cowper Powys." Review of English  Literature, IV (Jan., 1963), 9-20. 


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