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A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox vulpes libris : small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of s can be heard. In their lives, the Powys brothers are dark, looming, epic presences of literary obscurity and greatness in the village where Warner and Ackland first came together as a couple. Warner was a great friend of T F Powys, sponsoring his writing to the London literati.
The village is very important.
It is typical of the passionately selfish Llewelyn Powys that he decreed that he would be buried in the nearby chalk cliffs overlooking the sea, and his grave topped by an immense stone monolith hand-carved in situ by the Chaldon sculptor Elizabeth Muntz with his self-chosen epitaph. Because Judith Stinton is writing for true believers, the effect of her book on the newcomer is not persuasive. The readers are expected to be devoted acolytes at literary shrines, and some will simply not be bothered.
None of the writers who made the village famous among Bloomsbury hangers-on in the s came from Dorset: they merely arrived, liked the isolation and its beauty, and moved in. T F Powys had moved from Sussex to Love in chaldon herring Dorset coast near Poole, and then, disliking the crowds, he took up his stick according to brother Llewelyn and walked west. East Chaldon, or Chaldon Herring, was hard to find, so he thought he would be safe from intrusion, and so he lived there from until when he moved elsewhere in Dorset due to the war, dying in He was one of eleven children, originally from Somerset.
What did he live on? Stinton occasionally mentions money inherited from the Rev. Powys, the family patriarch, but the Powyses were not a rich family, and all the siblings worked. Working through literature was desperately unremunerative for T F until the later s thank you, Miss Warnerso farming, perhaps, may have been how T F supported his wife and children. Mrs T F Powys was a village girl, and Stinton dwells on how despite T F marrying below his class, the marriage was successful because Violet Powys was properly subservient to the Great Man.
Her devotional attitude makes me even less sympathetic to the inconsistencies in her writing style which are scattered through hergiving it an amateur tone. Put her personal views to one side: the story is fascinating. Katie real name Philippa Powys was a fey and inspirational novelist, poet and farmer, perpetually disappointed in love.
Gertrude Powys was a formidable artist, a strong figure among the emotional dramas that would swirl about the village over the decades. Katie Powys fell in disastrously in love with local fishermen. The sculptor Stephen Tomlin arrived to live in Chaldon Herring in after visiting it on a walking tour. Naomi Mitchison came to visit several times, considered having the love affair urged upon her by Llewelyn, and put the Powys social atmosphere into The Corn King and the Spring Queena novel of Classical-era primal rituals.
T E Lawrence showed up to check out the scene, arriving by motorbike from his military camp at Bovington. Lady Ottoline Morrell arrived for a grand visit since T F would not visit her. Alyse Gregory suffered their affair for years, but then Gamel married the novelist Gerald Brenan. He was on the rebound from an affair with Bloomsbury artist Carrington, who was still in love with Lytton Strachey despite her marriage to Ralph Partridge.
John Cowper Powys arrived with his American partner inbut they rapidly left again for Wales, and I can quite see why. This tiny village had a ificant population of arty types and their visitors, which must have altered the socio-economic balance considerably. The Sailors Return let its three guest-rooms Love in chaldon herring for many years. They took this social injustice all the way to the courts, and paid their fines for interference, since the accused women were found to have committed no crime, and left the area soon after.
We are made strongly aware how vulnerable people could be mistreated without anyone noticing, how close-knit and defensive a small village could be, and how the local establishment stands up to the modern ideas of people who have barely lived in the area for a decade. Chaldon Herring is deeply interesting as the locus for a social phenomenon, and is probably unique as a location saturated in literary, poetic, artistic and philosophical effort.
Judith Stinton, Chaldon Herring. Love this — thank you! Out of print, I think, but available second hand. Happy reading! This book does sound interesting, despite its flaws and the knowledge they expect you to have — thanks for bringing it to attention, Kate! And now — well, in Jan — I will have something in common with the Powys brothers: my father will also be vicar of Montacute. Pingback: Fun Facts Friday: T. Powys - Man of la Book. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google.
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Chaldon Herring: The Powys Circle in a Dorset Village