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A Glastonbury Romance
by John Cowper Powys
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From Publishers Weekly
A major English novelist of the 1920s and '30s, Powys's remarkable novels are reprinted from time to time (Harper recently did Weymouth Sands). The present edition marks a long-overdue return to availability of what is certainly his masterwork. Glastonbury is a small town in Somerset that by legend was home to King Arthur, and some of its ruins are infused with the spirit of long-gone ideals like the Holy Grail. Building on that base, Powys has constructed a towering edifice of faith, greed and cynicism, as a wealthy industrialist tries to exploit the town's mines, a skeptic cynically plans to bring in money by exploiting the legends and many people of varying degrees of faith and idealism are caught in between. Powys's gifts are enormous: he has an eye for nature, and its mystical power, akin to Wordsworth's; his sense of rustic scene and character is the equal of Hardy; his sharp-eyed view of business and politics reminds one of Shaw; and his sense of the endless subtleties of the relationships between men and women is, if anything, more encompassing than D. H. Lawrence's. His leisurely tale is told in prose that ranges from poetic miniatures to extended passages of the most dazzling rhetoric. It's a long book that requires the closest attention; but those who fall under its spell will be rewarded by one of this century's masterpieces of the novel.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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