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John Cowper Powys (1872 - 1963)

Porius: A Romance of the Dark Ages
Macdonald, 1951


"So here it is at last, all of it. Twenty-four years ago when Porius was first published, almost 600 pages...were cut from the book...The Porius of 1951 is clearly an unreadable work. But the Porius restoratus is no less an impossible book. Putting back some 600 pages of a prose that methodically pursues, from within, chaos and discontinuous order does not make for greater readability. In certain respects, the full work is plainly far more unreadable than the 1951 version. To say that is not criticize this great work but to begin to define its character...Porius is unquestionably Powys's attempt to rewrite Finnegans Wake. As much as the latter, Porius is dominated by Powys's 'philological interests'. Powys must have thought that his book's preservation of more traditional narrative conventions would undo the 'mischief' he saw in Joyce's 'obscurity', which put a barrier between the work and the English common reader. In fact, Powys's late 'romance' style would prove an even greater barrier and source of obscurity...We need the entirety of Porius if we are to understand clearly how almost 600 years of fiction can be brought to a crisis in a single work." -Borders

- Borders , 12/19/2005

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