T. F. Powys

T. F. Powys

Theodore Francis Powys (20 December 1875 – 27 November 1953) was a British novelist and short-story writer.

He was born in Shirley, Derbyshire, the son of the Reverend Charles Francis Powys (1843–1923), vicar of Montacute, Somerset, for 32 years, and Mary Cowper Johnson, a descendent of the poet William Cowper. He came from a family of eleven talented children. This includes the novelist John Cowper Powys (1872–1963) and novelist and essayist Llewelyn Powys (1884–1939). Their sister Philippa Powys also published a novel and some poetry, while Marian Powys was an authority on lace and lace-making and published a book on this subject. Gertrude Powys was a painter. Theodore Powys's brother A. R. Powys was Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and published a number of books on architectural subjects.

A sensitive child, Powys was not happy in school and left when he was 15 to become an apprentice on a farm in Suffolk. Later he had his own farm in Suffolk, but he was not successful and returned to Dorset in 1901 with plans to be a writer. Then in 1905 he married Violet Dodd. They had two sons and later adopted a daughter. From 1904 until 1940 Theodore Powys lived in East Chaldon, but then moved to Mappowder because of the war.

The novels Mr Weston’s Good Wine (1927), Unclay, and the short-story collection Fables are most praised, while his early non-fiction work The Soliloquy of a Hermit 1916 also has its admirers. Powys was deeply, if unconventionally, religious; the Bible was a major influence and he had a special affinity with writers of the 17th and 18th centuries, including John Bunyan, Cervantes, Jeremy Taylor, Jonathan Swift, and Henry Fielding. Among more recent writers, he admired Thomas Hardy, Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche.

He died on 27 November 1953, in Mappowder, Dorset, where he was buried.

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Famous quotes containing the word powys:

    Of the three forms of pride, that is to say pride proper, vanity, and conceit, vanity is by far the most harmless, and conceit by far the most dangerous. The meaning of vanity is to think too much of our bodily advantages, whether real or unreal, over others; while the meaning of conceit is to believe we are cleverer, wiser, grander, and more important than we really are.
    —John Cowper Powys (1872–1963)