After My Fashion

John Cowper Powys
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ISBN 9780571242115 Format Paperback
Published 29/05/2008 Length 288 pages

About Book

After My Fashion has an unusual publishing history. Although it was John Cowper Powys third novel written in 1920, it wasn't published until 1980. It seems that when his US publisher turned it down Powys made no effort to place it elsewhere. Indeed, when Powys had finished a book he tended to be oddly indifferent to its fate.

The novel has two other unusual features: its locations (Sussex and Greenwich Village) and Isadora Duncan being the inspiration for Elise, the dancer and mistress of the protagonist, Richard Storm (based quite largely on Powys himself).

As one would expect from Powys the writing is vivid, not least in the descriptions of the Sussex landscape and the bohemian milieu of Greenwich Village.

  • About John Cowper Powys

    John Cowper Powys (1872-1963) was born in Derbyshire, brought up in the West Country (the Somerset/Dorset border area was to have a lasting influence on him), went to Cambridge University and then became a teacher and lecturer mainly in the USA where he lived for about thirty years. On returning to the UK, after a short spell in Dorset, he settled in Wales in 1935 where he lived for the rest of his long life.

    Those are the bare bones of his life. In some senses they seem unimportant when set alongside his extraordinary writing career. Not only was output prodigious, it was like nothing else in English Literature.

    Indeed, George Steiner has made the bold claim that his works are 'the only novels produced by an English writer that can fairly be compared to the fictions of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky'. And even that doesn't touch on their multifarious strangeness.

    John Cowper Powys wrote compulsively: letters, diaries, short stories, fantasies, poetry, literary criticism, philosophy and, above all, novels poured out of him. He also wrote a remarkable autobiography.

    In addition to his Autobiography his masterpieces are considered to be Wolf Solent, Glastonbury Romance, Weymouth Sands and Porius. But his lesser, or less well-known, works shouldn't be overlooked, they spring from the same weird, mystical, brilliant and obsessive imagination.

    John Cowper Powys is a challenging author with an impressive list of admirers. In addition to George Steiner, these have included Robertson Davies, Margaret Drabble, Theodore Dreiser, Henry Miller, J. B. Priestley and Angus Wilson.

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