RepositorySpecial Collections Archives (GB 0029)
Ref NoEUL MS 433/TFP
LevelSection
TitlePapers and books relating to Theodore Francis Powys
DescriptionMaterial relating to Theodore Francis Powys, collected by E.E. Bissell and Francis Feather, and donated to the Powys Society. The majority of the collection is comprised of books by, or about, Powys, in addition to his ex libris. The collection also contains manuscripts, typescripts and proofs relating to a number of his work, as well as correspondence with friends, family and business contacts.
Contains material relating to his major works ‘The Left Leg’ (1923), ‘Black Bryony’ (1923), ‘Mark Only’ (1924), ‘Mr Tasker’s Gods’ (1925), ‘Mockery Gap’ (1925), ‘Mr Weston’s Good Wine’ (1927) and ‘Fables’ (1929)

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A large collection of letters from John Cowper Powys to Theodore [EUL MS 433/JCP/6/1/27]
Admin HistoryThe novelist Theodore Francis Powys was born in Derbyshire on 20th December 1875 to the Reverend C.F. Powys and his wife Mary Cowper Johnson, the third of their eleven children and younger brother of John Cowper Powys. Theodore Powys received his education at Hardye’s school in Dorchester, at Sherbourne preparatory school, and at Eaton House School in Suffolk where he met his lifelong friend Louis Wilkinson. Powys was then trained and started work farming in Suffolk in the 1890s, but finding he was no good at it, he retired to Dorset in 1901 to write, where he stayed until he moved to Mappowder near Dorset in 1940. He was married on 19th April 1905 to Violet Rosalie Dodds, and they had two sons and also adopted a daughter later.

Powys’s first work to be published was ‘An Interpretation of Genesis’ (1907) and despite working on fiction early in the century, the first of his novels was not published until 1918 when publisher Arnold Shaw printed ‘the Soliloquy of a Hermit’. Then, Powys had five books published over two years from 1923 - ‘The Left Leg’ (1923), ‘Black Bryony’ (1923), ‘Mark Only’ (1924), ‘Mr Tasker’s Gods’ (1925), and ‘Mockery Gap’ (1925). Between 1923 and 1932, there was only one year in which Powys did not publish a new novel. His most well known novel is ‘Mr Weston’s Good Wine’ (1927), and the collection of his short stories which received the most praise was ‘Fables’ (1929).

Most of Powys’s work is set in a fantastical Dorset and his characters are considered to be caricatured, with his writing characterised by its morbid and melancholy tone, the religious themes and the preoccupation with death found in much of his work. Theodore Powys’s work is less well known and not as widely read as his brother’s work; however he has similarly been described as an ‘English Tolstoy’, and was well received by many literary critics and is thought by some to be the best writer of the three brothers. Theodore Francis Powys had a stroke in 1937, and from 1953 his health worsened until he died in The Lodge, Mappowder, on 27th November 1953, and was buried in Mappowder churchyard.

Other works which are considered to be among Powys’s major works include: ‘Innocent Birds’ (1926), ‘The House with the Echo’ (1928), ‘Kindness in a Corner’ (1930), ‘The White Paternoster’ (1930), ‘The Only Penitent’ (1931), ‘Unclay’ (1931), ‘The Two Thieves’ (1932), ‘Captain Patch’ (1935), ‘Bottle’s Path’ (1946), ‘God’s Eye A-Twinkle’ anthology (1947).
FormatVarious formats
Access StatusOpen
Creator_NamePowys; Theodore Francis (1875-1953); novelist and writer
London; The Powys Society (1967-)
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