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A Glastonbury Romance Paperback – 15 Feb 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1120 pages
  • Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (15 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715636480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715636480
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 5.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 790,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"To encounter [Powys]... is to arrive at the very fount of creation. He makes us witnessof the consuming fire which rages throughout the universe entire and which gives not warmth nor enlightenment, but enduring vision, enduring strength, and enduring courage." -Henry Miller "This is a... great novel. It stands as a gigantic rebuke to a time of minimum-risk writers and readers, and I hope that many among them will be encouraged to attempt it." -The Chicago Tribune"

About the Author

John Cowper Powys is the author of ten novels, including Weymouth Sands and Wolf Solent, as well as many works of criticism and philosophy. Born in Derbyshire, England, he was the son of a vicar, and the descendant of the poets Donne and Cowper.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Marshall on 19 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
In some ways this is the most amazing novel I have ever encountered. Its imaginative range, its gorgeous language, and its mesmeric power lift it far above almost anything else. Some of the characters and images - Geard, the mayor and founder of a new religion; Evans, the tortured antiquary; the haunting vision of the Grail-Aquarium; and the invisible naturalists studying the town's population all come to mind - are unforgettably original. The book is by turns sinister, astonishing, mystical and comic. Think of a kind of Dickens meets Hardy meets Lawrence meets Blake, and you'll have some idea of what to expect.
The last two names point also, unfortunately, to the book's flaws. Like Lawrence, Powys can be embarrassingly gushing, and like Blake he can bore or bewilder when he isn't firing on all cylinders. His mystical flights occasionally spill over into bathos! and his style moves from the sublime to the downright infuriating! In particular, I really wish he had taken some sort of vow never to use another exclamation mark before beginning this book! More broadly, the text is very long indeed and needs some determination in places.
But these are trivial complaints. Powys is a truly unique writer in the whole history of English literature, and his intricate, minutely-detailed yet cosmic vision is one you'll never forget. Not light reading, but the rewards along the way dwarf virtually any other twentieth-century work.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Marshall on 19 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
In some ways this is the most amazing novel I have ever encountered. Its imaginative range, its gorgeous language, and its mesmeric power lift it far above almost anything else. Some of the characters and images - Geard, the mayor and founder of a new religion; Evans, the tortured antiquary; the haunting vision of the Grail-Aquarium; and the invisible naturalists studying the town's population all come to mind - are unforgettably original. The book is by turns sinister, astonishing, mystical and comic. Think of a kind of Dickens meets Hardy meets Lawrence meets Blake, and you'll have some idea of what to expect.
The last two names point also, unfortunately, to the book's flaws. Like Lawrence, Powys can be embarrassingly gushing, and like Blake he can bore or bewilder when he isn't firing on all cylinders. His mystical flights occasionally spill over into bathos! and his style moves from the sublime to the downright infuriating! In particular, I really wish he had vowed never to use another exclamation mark before beginning this book! More broadly, the text is very long indeed and needs some determination in places.
But these are trivial complaints. Powys is a truly unique writer in the whole history of English literature, and his intricate, minutely-detailed yet cosmic vision is one you'll never forget. Not light reading, but the rewards along the way dwarf those of most other twentieth-century works.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By R. Sindelar on 2 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
25 years ago I bought this book, more on account of the beautiful cover than on the content, and on the somewhat cryptic summary that this would be the Lord of the Rings for a new generation. As noticed by others it was difficult to get through the first pages and I laid aside my brand new edition for a while - 25 years. After some maturation I've picked it up again this year and I'm surprised how complex and intriguing this Fellowship of Glastonbury inhabitants actually is. A mixture of pagan, druidic, christian and arthurian believes with a large portion of greek mythology and the most complex of mental states, namely being in love, makes this book a stunning adventure and more up to date in a world that contemplates these issues more intensly than ever. It's also fascinating that all these thoughts were concentrated in the mind of one writer and that this mind could focus them within the environment of some old ruins coming to life through these eternal questions that his characters are possesed by. Through the increasing strength of TV-satellites and IT websites many of these different and dispersed believes of our world come together today, but they will not get a much better setting than the one of John Cowper Powys' Glastonbury. Highly recommended!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Murray on 1 May 2003
Format: Paperback
Powys must be one of the strangest authors ever to have written in the English language. Like Dickens, he revels in character, but unlike Dickens, his baroque, time-slowed flights of literary fancy occasionaly take us into the thoughts of a passing insect or nearby tree — even into the ‘superhuman vibrations’ of ‘the soul of the great blazing sun’. But what is strangest of all is that this is not in any way affected. I’m convinced Powys did experienece the world in this way — everything connected, conscious and alive. As to what actually happens in the book, I can’t remember! But it’s far less important anyway than the strange intensity with which his characters live their everyday lives.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Depressaholic on 6 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
'A Glastonbury Romance' is set in inter-war Britain. It follows the lives of the inhabitants of Glastonbury over the course of a few eventful years in that town's history, and focuses largely on the love lives and political machinations of the Crow family. It begins with the reading of the elder Crow's will, in which a large sum of money is given wholly to the slightly odd Mr. John Geard. This sets up the rest of the book, in which the various characters and their creeds (spiritualism, paganism, capitalism, communism, cynicism, anarchism, aesthetism) all battle for the soul of the town, lead by Geard's attempts to install Glastonbury as the spiritual home of a new religion.
What sets this book apart is that the characters involved are not the ones in charge of this battle (though they think they are). Cowper Powys' world is affected by a great many unseen forces, primal elements that shape destiny. Prayers, meant or otherwise, may be answered by God, Christ, the Sun, the Moon, the Grail, and any number of such elements that control the actors below like puppets. The whole thread of the book is shot through with paganism, making the actions of the characters seem somewhat absurd. We as readers know that it doesn't matter whether Glastonbury becomes a commune or a hive of capitalism, because the destiny of the people living there is in the hands of these forces that can't be controlled. Cowper Powys makes all human struggles seem strangely irrelevant, because no-one is struggling with the things that actually make a difference, only with politics, religion and each other. It was certainly odd to read a book written from this perspective, and makes it worth reading in itself.
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