Llewelyn Powys Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Llewelyn Powys (POH-uhs), born in Dorchester, England, August 13, 1884, was the eighth of eleven children of Charles Francis Powys, an Anglican clergyman. Two of Llewelyn’s older brothers, John Cowper Powys and T. F. Powys, became well-known writers.

In spite of his close relationship with his oldest brother, John Cowper, Llewelyn went through Sherborne School and Cambridge University and then began to teach school with little thought of becoming a writer. In 1909 he contracted tuberculosis and spent several years in Switzerland. In the meanwhile, he was beginning to publish short stories in England; his story “The Stunner” occasioned particular interest and was the first significant prose publication by any of the Powys brothers. After he had recovered to some extent, he went to Africa to become a stock farmer in Kenya. During his five-year stay in Africa (1914-1919) he began to write essays. He published two series of essays and sketches about his life in Africa as Ebony and Ivory and Black Laughter. The African writing of Llewelyn Powys is a significant part of the body of literature about Africa produced by European whites during the colonial period. It is observant in both naturalistic and cultural terms.

In 1920 he went to New York, writing stories, articles, and personal essays for various periodicals. While in the United States, he married Alyse Gregory, managing editor of The Dial. His relationship...

(The entire section is 589 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Foss, Peter John. A Study of Llewelyn Powys: His Literary Achievement and Personal Philosophy. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1991. A book-length study.

Gibbings, Robert. “Llewelyn and Theodore.” Matrix 6 (1986): 1-5. Describes the relationship between Llewelyn and his brother T. F. Powys.

Graves, Richard Percival. The Brothers Powys. New York: Scribner, 1983. A group biography of John Cowper, T. F., and Llewelyn Powys.

Powys, Llewelyn, and Kenneth Hopkins. Advice to a Young Poet: The Correspondence Between Llewelyn Powys and Kenneth Hopkins. Edited by R. L. Blackmore. Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1969. A collection of letters.