book price comparison
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

The Inmates by John Cowper Powys


The Inmates by John Cowper Powys

'What I've tried to do in this tale is to invent a group of really mad people who have the fantastic and grotesquely humorous extravagance that, afer all, is an element in life'. So wrote John Cowper Powys himself in his prefatory note to this novel first published in 1952. In this 'wild book' Powys creates a 'Philosophy of the Demented' expressing fundamental truths about madness and sanity. Most of the novel, though, like so much of his later fiction, it is more a fantasy, takes place in Glint Hall, a lunatic asylum. The two main characters are John Hush and Tenna Sheer. They fall in love. The rapidly developing, psychologically complex narrative centres on 'Hush's organizationof a conspiracy of revolt amongst the most fantastically crazy of the inmates'. It makes for a strange, disturbing, and yet, at times, funny read.

About the Author

John Cowper Powys (1872-1963) was born in Derbyshire, brought up in the West Country (the Somerset/Dorset border area was to have a lasting influence on him), went to Cambridge University and then became a teacher and lecturer mainly in the USA where he lived for about thirty years. On returning to the UK, after a short spell in Dorset, he settled in Wales in 1935 where he lived for the rest of his long life. Those are the bare bones of his life. In some senses they seem unimportant when set alongside his extraordinary writing career. Not only was output prodigious, it was like nothing else in English Literature. Indeed, George Steiner has made the bold claim that his works are 'the only novels produced by an English writer that can fairly be compared to the fictions of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky'. And even that doesn't touch on their multifarious strangeness. John Cowper Powys wrote compulsively: letters, diaries, short stories, fantasies, poetry, literary criticism, philosophy and, above all, novels poured out of him. He also wrote a remarkable autobiography. In addition to his Autobiography his masterpieces are considered to be Wolf Solent, Glastonbury Romance, Weymouth Sands and Porius. But his lesser, or less well-known, works shouldn't be overlooked, they spring from the same weird, mystical, brilliant and obsessive imagination. John Cowper Powys is a challenging author with an impressive list of admirers. In addition to George Steiner, these have included Robertson Davies, Margaret Drabble, Theodore Dreiser, Henry Miller, J. B. Priestley and Angus Wilson.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

18th September 2008


John Cowper Powys

More books by John Cowper Powys
Author 'Like for Like'


Faber & Faber


318 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



It has opened my eyes to different authors and genres. Just log on and try, you will be surprised and not want for reading material again.

Jocelyn Garvey

I love 'try before you buy' extracts. I love the wide range of authors & genres. I love the author info. I love books!

Judi Davies

If you love reading, then you'll love Lovereading! Full of tips & info for every discerning reader.

Lynne Rapson

I love Lovereading for the wonderful like for like author recommendations and for highlighting new books, it's a great resource for readers!


Love books. Love reading. Love reading books. And, here's the trick. Here's a website which caters for people like me.

Ian Harvey-brown

Lovereading helps me decide what real people read.

Kerry Bridges

My favourite thing about is the 'like for like' page this has really introduced me to some good reads! That and lots of honest reviews.

Sam Lewis

Love Reading - it not only does what it says on the tin, it does it with Jam on!!

Maz Tucker