Morine Krissdottir has written on a variety of subjects, including housing, psychology, myth, but her main subject has been the writer John Cowper Powys, the eldest of the talented Powys family of Derbyshire, Dorset and Somerset, England.

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SHIELDING (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1977) with Joan Simon

Housing is not merely a roof over one’s head but something that protects and defends. Shielding explores the ways in which we have sought to defend ourselves against physical dangers and to protect ourselves against the imagined evils of the natural world by means of the shelters we have built for ourselves.


This is a detailed examination of Powys’s ‘mythology’. The term was used by him to cover not only his pattern of daily life, his philosophy and his art, but all that had influenced him in the literature, legend and occult lore of the past. This fascinating and scholarly book shows how his studies in the Grail Quest, Welsh legend and the writing of the alchemists were used to shape his philosophy and how this in turn helped to dictate the form and content of the novels that he wrote mainly to express it. In particular, it deals with his major novel, Porius, and shows, by reference to the original manuscript how much of his intention was lost by the enforced shortening of that novel for publication.

PETRUSHKA AND THE DANCER: THE DIARIES OF JOHN COWPER POWYS 1929-1939 ed. Morine Krissdottir (Carcanet, 1995)

The extraordinary mind of John Cowper Powys has never been so revealingly displayed as in this decade of diary entries, for the most part previously unpublished. They begin in USA, as Powys withdraws from twenty-five years of freelance lecturing, and end in Wales, with the completion of Owen Glendower.

THE DORSET YEAR: THE DIARY OF JOHN COWPER POWYS JUNE 1934-JULY 1935 ed. Morine Krissdottir and Roger Peers (The Powys Press, 1998)

This is Powys’s diary of thirteen pivotal months during which he left the USA and returned to the beloved landscape of Dorset. It records his daily life, lively descriptions of the people he meets, visits from artists and writers, his friendship with Mrs Thomas Hardy and his complicated family relationships. Powys sets the people and events against the background of Dorset landscape and history which is reflected in the rare photographs and abundant notes on the locality, making this volume of exceptional interest to lovers of Powys’s work and lovers of Dorset and its history.

PORIUS - A NOVEL ed. Morine Krissdottir and Judith Bond (Overlook Duckworth, 2007)

Although Porius is widely regarded as Powys’s finest achievement in fiction, it has never been published in its intended form - until now. The culmination of Powys’s lifelong passion for Wales and its mythology, Porius is at once an historical novel and a commentary on the nature of modern warfare. Here, finally, is Porius as Powys would have wanted the book that he considered “the chief work of my lifetime.”


In this, Powys’s first comprehensive biography, Morine Krissdóttir delves into the life of the writer, from his childhood in Derbyshire, Dorset and Somerset through his celebrated lecture tours through England and the US and his retreat to Wales; from his life’s loves to his relationship with his own writing. Krissdóttir demonstrates that Powys – known as much for his essays, letters, poetry, and philosophy as he was his fiction – was a man whose writing had a scope matched only by the breadth of his life. Using primary sources, never-before-seen archival materials (including photos), and Powys’s own writings, Krissdóttir pieces together this life in a way that will be impossible to forget.



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