Friday, April 13, 2012

Philip K Dick and Henry Vaughan

Philip K Dick dug Welsh metaphysical poet Henry Vaughan. You’d have thought he’d be more into Vaughan’s brother, Thomas, who was an alchemist and mystic. But no, it was Henry whom Dick regarded as a key influence. In an interview for the Daily Telegraph in 1974, he confirmed: ”I’ve always been much influenced by the 17th-century metaphysical poets like Donne, and especially Henry Vaughan.” In Dick’s last published novel, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982), he even includes a stanza from Henry Vaughan’s poem, Friends Departed, in the text:

Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill
My perspective still as they pass:
Or else remove me hence unto that hill,
Where I shall need no glass

Henry Vaughan is buried in the churchyard of St Bridget's Church, Llansantffraed, Powys. Philip K Dick is buried at the Riverside Cemetery, Fort Morgan, Colorado, alongside his twin sister Jane. Both writers were, of course, twins - another possible reason why Dick was a fan.