Critical Evaluation

(Masterpieces of British Fiction)

T. F. Powys has said of himself that he thinks too much of God, and this novel, like most of his literary endeavors, reflects his preoccupation with religion. Like his other novels, this one presents a small English village as a microcosm of the earth’s macrocosm. An invalid for a large part of his life, Powys has had to limit his literature to his experience in a small portion of the world. It would seem, however, that his works bear out Thomas Hardy’s doctrine that the humanity of a small district can reflect the universality of mankind. Certainly, the portrayal of the Deity and His attitudes toward the earth and man, as found in MR. WESTON’S GOOD WINE, reflect an unorthodox set of religious doctrines, a position which Powys presents but does not try to justify.

Powys is concerned with not only religious but also social themes. In MR. WESTON’S GOOD WINE, he sought to dramatize the interrelationship of the mystical and the real. Beginning on an ordinary evening, outside a familiar English village with two businessmen conferring about their sales prospects, the novel proceeds into a time gap where the usual gives way to the fantastic and miraculous. It soon becomes apparent that Mr. Weston possesses supernatural powers. Indeed, he is seen as the divine puppeteer, the arranger of men’s fortunes, directing reward and retribution in the microcosm of Folly Down; or as Mr. Weston describes himself: he is the sanctifier and nurturer...

(The entire section is 448 words.)