06 August 2014

John Cowper Powys - James Joyce's Ulysses - an Appreciation

First published in 1975 by Village Press, London

John Cowper Powys was one of the first to recognise the extraordinary genius of James Joyce, and this essay, first published in 1923 and never reprinted until this edition, is a major landmark in the huge body of criticism which had grown up around the author of Ulysses and his writings. Powys's association with Joyce goes back much further, for when The little Review was procecuted in New York in 1917 for the publication of Ulysses he was one of the expert witnesses called for the defence (as he had been defence of Dreiser's The ''Genius'' some years earlier - a measure of Powys's reputation in America at that time). Alone among the Powys brothers, John Cowper kept fully abreast of developments in contempory letters all through his life, as readers of his letters to Louis Wilkinson will know; he was keenly interested in new books and authors, and generous in his appreciation, but he was not uncritically so and his comments, time and again, go to the heart of the matter.

This essay was published in Life and Letters, an occasional miscellany issued by the Haldeman-Julius Company, publishers of the ''Little Blue Books'', and the obscurity of its presentation in what was mainly an advertising sheet has served to leave it largely unknown, even to Joyce scholars. Its reappearance was to Joyce's reputation as well as Powys's.

For more about Cowper Powys see: 

A visit to John Cowper Powys - by Clifford Tolchard