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General Literary Societies and Reading Groups

Mervyn Peake
Samuel Pepys
J. B. Priestley
The Poldark Society
Anthony Powell
The Powys Brothers
Barbara Pym
Mervyn Peake
Mervyn Peake
Peake Studies "Peake Studies comes out twice a year, in spring and autumn. A quality, typeset publication, it averages 48 pages per issue. The first issue appeared in November 1988, the twentieth anniversary of Mervyn Peake’s death. Five years later, there was a special anniversary issue (Volume 3, No. 3, for November 1993) assessing some of the impact of Mervyn Peake’s oeuvre on his readers." This is a quote taken from the Peake Studies page. The periodical is very interesting and includes drawings by Peake. It is printed in Switzerland. There is also a Mervyn Peake mailing list. e-mail G. Peter Winnington for further details.
Alas, the society itself became defunct in May 2003. It is hoped that it will be reinstigated in the not too distant future.
Sebastian Peake's blogsport
newThe Samuel Pepys Club
On May 26 1903, the bicentenary of the death of Samuel Pepys, four distinguished Pepysians dined at the Garrick Club and resolved that 'a Pepys dining club should be formed during the present year'. They were Sir Frederick Bridge, Organist of Westminster Abbey, and author of 'Samuel Pepys, Lover of Musick'; Sir D'Arcy Power, surgeon and medical writer; George Whale, writer and bibliophile; and Henry B. Wheatley, editor of the third edition of the Diary. Well-known admirers of Pepys were invited to join the Club and membership was restricted to 70, Pepys's age when he died, (now doubled to 140). Although membership has always included those who have made significant academic contributions to Pepysian studies (notably the Pepys Librarian of Magdalene College, Cambridge, where Pepys's Diary is kept), anyone who has a genuine personal interest in Pepys and his times qualifies for membership, following proposal by an existing member.
The membership is eclectic and reflects the spirit of a club rather than a learned society.
The Diary complete with notes! Enjoy!
The Pepys House Appeal. The following letter was written to the Times
May 10, 2005
Pepys House appeal
From Mr J. E. Martin

Sir, In 1926 Sir D’Arcy Power, president of the Samuel Pepys Club, wrote to The Times appealing for funds to preserve Pepys House at Brampton, near Huntingdon, in memory of the diarist. The appeal led to the formation of the Pepys House Trust, a registered charity. A lease for 99 years was granted by the 9th Earl of Sandwich and the trust, which owns the furniture and Pepys memorabilia and lets the premises, makes it available for viewing.

The current owner is offering the freehold reversion for sale. The trust launched an appeal in 2003 (the third centenary of Pepys’s death) to acquire the freehold. If it fails, Pepys House will become a private residence in 2026 when the lease expires, depriving future generations of the ability to view the 16th-century, Grade I listed building which Sam loved. History has given us a second chance to acquire the freehold; we need £200,000 and must not fail this time.

The Pepys House Trust,
Farm Hall Offices, West Street,
Cambridgeshire PE29 2HG.
May 8, 2005
Society Contact: Dr Robin Gain, Minstead, Red Lion Lane,Sarratt, Hertfordshire. e-mail robingain@yahoo.co.uk
The Priestley Society

The Priestley Society's Webpage
A small page
 logoThe Anthony Powell Society
East Coasters, U.S.A.
2009 10-13 September to be held at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. Organiser: Leatrice Fountain, e-mail leatricefountain@aol.com
Great Lakes Group
Area: Chicago area, USA.
Organiser: Stephen Pyskoty-Ollie, e-mail widmerpool@hotmail.com
Swedish Group
Area: Sweden
Organiser: Regina Rehbinder, email: reginarehbinder@hotmail.com
Membership form
Anthony Powell mailing list
Anthony Powell Society's webpage
A new publication The Master and The Congressman by John S. Monagan, costing £5 which looks very interesting. Published 7th April, 2003. "An affectionate study."
Article from Daily Telegraph 2000


Powys logo The Powys Society
John Cowper Powys

John Cowper Powys
Theodore Powys

Theodore Powys
Llewellyn Powys

Llewellyn Powys

The founding of the Society in 1967 reflected a feeling among Powys admirers and friends that the special quality of the Powys writings, particularly those of John Cowper, Theodore, and Llewelyn, was not sufficiently recognized. It declared that its aim must be 'the establishment of the true literary status of the Powys family through promotion of the reading and discussion of their works'.

The society publishes a journal and three newsletters a year and has embarked on a publication programme. In addition it organises an annual conference, occasional meetings, exhibitions and walks in areas associated with the Powys family. The Society is always looking for new ways of accomplishing its purpose.

Among the many distinguished speakers who have addressed the Society are G. Wilson Knight, Angus Wilson and Glen Cavaliero. In addition we have heard from George Steiner, John Bayley, Iris Murdoch and Colin Wilson. The Society attracts enthusiastic non-academics and academics from Great Britain, North America, the Commonwealth and Europe. It welcomes everyone interested in learning more about this extraordinary family.

"Real Reality" ..real reality exists at its most intense and most exultant just before it loses itself in the wood, or the stone, or the music, or the metal, or the paint, or the masonry, or the plough-land, or the embroidery, or the whitewashed doorstep, or finally in fictional persons, male or female, who gather up into themselves the whole divine comedy of the human race. John Cowper Powys, Dostoievsky, p.40)
John Cowper Powys's great novels return to the fore at our conference in Llangollen in August. Powys wanted his writing to be imprinted with "the teeth-marks of reality" (Autobiography, 1967, p. 83). "Reality" in his work is sometimes obstinately material, sometimes mysterious and elusive. Harald Fawkner talks this year about "realness" in A Glastonbury Romance, and Florence-Catherine Marie-Laverrou promises to examine, in relation to Weymouth Sands, what Powys called "the subtle interpenetrations psychic, chemic, vital that pass backwards and forwards between human beings and their environment." Our speakers all promise new ways of interpreting Powys's novels seventy years after they were written. Our view of reality, and particularly of the natural world, is more troubled now than at that time - yet John Cowper Powys seems in some ways to have anticipated our modern concerns. How he would have been enthralled by James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis.
The society is also keen to show how the Powyses speak to contemporary writers, and two poets, Roy Fisher and Penelope Shuttle, will be reading to the conference. Both are keen readers of the Powyses, and it will be interesting to discover the possibly indirect ways in which Powyses have influenced their work.
This year also sees the publication of Peter Foss's long-awaited bibliography of Llewelyn Powys, and Peter's talk will be born out of his tireless commitment to Llewelyn's work.
We hope to be able to visit Corwen, where among many other books John Cowper wrote Owen Glendower and Porius, and to discuss his poem "The Ridge", which is both a statement of his philosophy in old age and a description of a late autumn walk up the hill behind his house at Cae Coed.
More details via the website
The Powys Society web site.
Barbara Pym
The Barbara Pym Society

This international literary society with over 500 members is devoted to the English novelist Barbara Pym (1913-1980) . The Barbara Pym Society was founded in 1994, following a literary weekend exploring the work of Barbara Pym,which was held at St. Hilda's College, Oxford University, in 1993. Pym entered St. Hilda's College as an undergraduate in 1931 and took her B.A. degree in English Language and Literature in 1934. The Society is administered through the College, and holds its Annual General Meeting (AGM) there every September. In addition, the Society holds a spring meeting in London, a North American Conference every March in Cambridge, Mass., and a fall tea in the Boston area. Green Leaves, the Society's newsletter, is published twice yearly.

The aims of the Society are to foster the appreciation and wider knowledge of the life and works of Barbara Pym; to secure the preservation of the manuscripts, letters and memorabilia of Barbara Pym in conjunction with the Bodleian Library; to encourage and support publications and theses on Barbara Pym, her life and work; and to provide a programme of literary events and regular communications concerning the work of Barbara Pym.

Membership forms and details of upcoming Society activities as well as information on Barbara Pym's life and writings is available at the official Barbara Pym Society web site, www.barbara-pym.org.

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