By John Cowper Powys
"A Glastonbury Romance, first released in 1932, is Powys masterwork, an epic novel of exceptional 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 earlier 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 resourceful inside of guy with the wildlife outdoor him to create a ebook of remarkable scope and beauty."
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His later encounter with reality, though, will involve a reworking of these images of the Catholic mass. As Stephen walks home, considering “that which he had so often thought to be his destiny,” he sees Dublin, “visible to him across the timeless air,” and he becomes aware of his actual destiny. He ﬁnds in his family name, Dedalus, “a prophecy of the end he had been born to serve and had been following through the mists of childhood and boyhood, a symbol of the artist forging anew in his workshop out of the sluggish matter of the earth a new soaring impalpable imperishable being” (p.
More than any other single realist novelist, he provided a model of the relationship between private and public that the modernists, ﬁfty years later, would seek to overcome. Balzac’s narrative technique establishes a framework within which people can be understood as at once rational, autonomous individuals and members of social groups conditioned by belief systems proper to those groups. Balzac’s novels amount to a series of attempts to describe the ways in which people are both free and determined, sharing a common human nature but shaped so diﬀerently by circumstances that diﬀerent social groups can be compared to diﬀerent species.
My voice holds them at bay. My soul frets in the shadow of his language. (p. ) Modernism, nationalism, and the novel “Language” is one of the nets in which the Irish soul is captured upon birth. Stephen hopes to return to something even more primary, although he recognizes that he can do so only through language. Thus, he accepts the Gaelic League’s conception of the Irish as alienated from themselves by their use of English, but rejects the solution of a return to Irish. It is through working out the implications of this alienation, rather than through a nostalgic return to a lost origin, that Stephen will bring his soul out of the shadows.
A Glastonbury Romance by John Cowper Powys