A Glastonbury Romance by John Cowper Powys

By John Cowper Powys

"A Glastonbury Romance, first released in 1932, is Powys masterwork, an epic novel of impressive cumulative strength and lyrical depth. In it he probes the magical and religious ethos of the small English village of Glastonbury, and the impression upon its population of a legendary culture from the remotest previous of human heritage - the legend of the Grail. Powys's wealthy iconography interweaves the traditional with the trendy, the old with the mythical, and the innovative inside guy with the flora and fauna outdoors him to create a e-book of incredible scope and beauty."

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The third chapter deals with The Apes of God, which is no one's favorite book. 39 Gestured toward rather than carefully appraised, The Apes of God remains a massive and inscrutable volume buried in the plains of modernism as part of a kind of literary Stonehenge, a monolith admired from afar in the company of books such as Gertrude Stein's The Making of Americans, works whose weight and apparent unintelligibility are seemingly more interesting in the fact of their group existence than as individual artifacts.

The fragmentation of society's vision of the individual was also a fragmentation of the creative self. In conflating Romance with temporality and modernity itself, Lewis reserved his most vituperative attacks for the 44 Fictions of James Joyce and Wyndham Lewis philosophy of Bergson. The French philosopher's conception of reality as a product of temporal flux was the ultimate acceptance of fragmentation as man's authentic condition. Lewis's fundamental objections were typically painterly. Bergson's subordination of space to time as the determinant of the real subverted the integrity of the image.

If Lewis calls for a Coleridgean apprehension of creativity as an organic process he also rejects organicism as art's enemy. On one hand, "the one purpose... of a work of Art... Si, 140) but it must be a different "life" than that of nature, for a few pages earlier he states that art is "no EQUIVALENT for Life, but ANOTHER life, as NECESSARY to existence as the former" (Bi, 130). As with the term " nature," however, the word " life " appears largely throughout Blast only pejoratively as part of the argument against phenomena that stand against, rather than inform, art.

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