Sunday, May 05, 2013


From my real-time review of THE INMATES by John Cowper Powys: inmates10inmates9 inmates8inmates11

11. Hither and Thither "Seth's own long thin greyish face wore the intense expression, undisturbed by any need for action, which some spell-bound onlooker might have worn in a religious picture by El Greco." Following John's 'busy' night, he wakes to the "prae-dawn light" (sic) with thoughts of a "cosmogonic blunder" and "two half-forgotten dreams" (was one of them a dream of Professor Zoom of the College of Doom?), he proceeds to meet other characters in the place like four cows, their milkers Nancy Yew and Seth, Twin Thither and more, including someone called PANTAMOUNT whom I sense will become an important character like Mynheer Peeperkorn did, late in the plot of the sanatorium in Mann's 'The Magic Mountain'... and towards the end of this chapter, John is involved in a Socratic-type Dialogue with Mr. Lordy regarding love and hate, much like those dialogues Castorp has with Settembrini and Naphta in that Mann book...

Some telling quotes from the whole chapter...

"As he woke to consciousness this pallid light struck John Hush as if it had been a fifth element, as different from air and water as these are different from earth and fire."

"...and a strong desire to get Tenna and himself, together with as many of the other inmates and dogs as were still redeemable, out of the hands of Doctor Echetus."

"But one thing's clear! I mustn't think of girls' curls, even if such thoughts are, as I daresay they may be, a legitimate enticement of Nature. Tenna's my sweetheart, and I won't mix her up with my manias!"

"...John's first taste of the copious helping of scrambled eggs which was now on his plate, in spite of all the pepper with which he had freely sprinkled it, carried with it a perceptible smack of disinfectant."

"Putting down his knife and using his fork like a spoon, in the American manner, and pushing to the side of his plate with the extreme tip of his longest finger, as if it were a piece of carpet upon which a corpse had been lying, the square of toast upon which the scrambled egg had been placed, Mr. Lordy drained his teacup to the bottom..."

"I feel that the souls of original writers -- for the more original a writer is, the more powerful is the pressure of his projected soul -- are real presences that have their dwelling inside the printed pages of the author's books;..."

No comments: