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Anthony Powell (1) (1905–2000)

Teoksen A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement, Spring tekijä

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Tietoja tekijästä

Anthony Powell was born on December 21, 1905 in Westminster, England and was educated at Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford. In 1926 he became an editor at Duckworth & Co. and later moved on to be a scriptwriter for Warner Brothers. By 1937 he was a regular contributor to The Spectator and näytä lisää the Daily Telegraph. From 1953-1959 Powell was the Literary Editor of Punch. His first book, The Barnard Letter, was published in 1928 and his first novel, Afternoon Men, was published in 1931. In 1951 Powell published A Question of Upbringing, which was the first of the 12-novel sequence A Dance to the Music of Time. In 1975 he published Hearing Secret Harmonies, which was the last novel of the sequence. Powell wrote Infants of the Spring, which is part of To Keep the Ball Rolling, his memoirs. He also published The Fisher King in 1986. Anthony Powell died peacefully at his home, The Chantry, aged 94 on March 28, 2000. (Bowker Author Biography) näytä vähemmän
Image credit: anthonypowell.org.uk


Tekijän teokset

A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement, Spring (1962) 1,858 kappaletta, 32 arvostelua
Kasvatuksen nimissä (1951) 1,031 kappaletta, 26 arvostelua
A Dance to the Music of Time: Second Movement, Summer (1964) 933 kappaletta, 20 arvostelua
A Dance to the Music of Time: Third Movement, Autumn (1964) 898 kappaletta, 15 arvostelua
A Dance to the Music of Time: Fourth Movement, Winter (1976) 878 kappaletta, 15 arvostelua
Ostajan markkinat (1952) 587 kappaletta, 20 arvostelua
Hyväksyjien maailma (1955) 540 kappaletta, 24 arvostelua
Lady Mollyn vieraat (1957) 523 kappaletta, 14 arvostelua
Casanova's Chinese Restaurant (1960) 472 kappaletta, 19 arvostelua
The Kindly Ones (1962) 456 kappaletta, 14 arvostelua
Books Do Furnish a Room (1971) 436 kappaletta, 13 arvostelua
The Valley of Bones (1964) 404 kappaletta, 19 arvostelua
The Military Philosophers (1968) 388 kappaletta, 15 arvostelua
Temporary Kings (1973) 372 kappaletta, 13 arvostelua
Hearing Secret Harmonies (1975) 369 kappaletta, 13 arvostelua
The Soldier's Art (1966) 365 kappaletta, 16 arvostelua
Afternoon Men (1931) 227 kappaletta, 7 arvostelua
The Fisher King (1986) 171 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
O, How the Wheel Becomes It! (1983) 162 kappaletta, 6 arvostelua
What's Become of Waring (1939) 159 kappaletta, 7 arvostelua
A Dance to the Music of Time (1955) 150 kappaletta, 6 arvostelua
From a View to a Death (1933) 133 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Venusberg (1932) 128 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
To Keep the Ball Rolling: The Memoirs of Anthony Powell (1983) 103 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Agents and Patients (1955) 92 kappaletta
Infants of the Spring: The Memoirs of Anthony Powell (1976) 76 kappaletta, 6 arvostelua
Faces in My Time: The Memoirs of Anthony Powell (1980) 67 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
Messengers of Day: The Memoirs of Anthony Powell (1977) 66 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
John Aubrey and his friends (1948) 49 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Brief lives, and other selected writings (1949) — Toimittaja — 36 kappaletta
Miscellaneous Verdicts (1992) 32 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
Journals 1987-1989 (1996) 29 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Journals, 1982-86 (1995) 27 kappaletta
Anthony Powell: Journals 1990 - 1992 (1997) 24 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
Venusberg | Agents and Patients (1952) 19 kappaletta
A Writer's Notebook (2000) 9 kappaletta
Novels of High Society from the Victorian Age (1947) — Toimittaja — 9 kappaletta
Caledonia: A Fragment (2011) 3 kappaletta
The empire revisited (1985) 1 kappale
Powell Anthony 1 kappale

Associated Works

Invitation to the Dance (1977) — Johdanto, eräät painokset152 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Complete Ronald Firbank (1961) — Johdanto, eräät painokset; Johdanto, eräät painokset90 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
The Image of a Drawn Sword (1950) — Johdanto — 71 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
A Dance to the Music of Time [1997 TV mini series] (2007) — Original book — 32 kappaletta
The Old School: Essays by Divers Hands (1934) — Avustaja — 30 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla


Kanoninen nimi
Powell, Anthony
Virallinen nimi
Powell, Anthony Dymoke
London, England, UK
Frome, Somerset, England, UK
Aldershot, Hampshire, England, UK
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Balliol College, University of Oxford (BA|1926)
Eton College
Pakenham, Frank (brother-in-law)
Waugh, Evelyn (friend)
Powell, Lady Violet (wife)
Pakenham, Edward (brother-in-law)
Clive, Mary (sister-in-law)
Lamb, Lady Pansy (sister-in-law)
Hypocrites Club, Oxford
Welch Regiment (WWII)
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Order of the Companions of Honour (1988)
Order of the British Empire (Commander, 1956)
offered knighthood in 1973; declined
American Academy of Arts and Letters (Foreign Honorary - Literature, 1977)
Lyhyt elämäkerta
Anthony Dymoke Powell CH, CBE was an English novelist best known for his twelve-volume work A Dance to the Music of Time, published between 1951 and 1975.
Powell's major work has remained in print continuously and has been the subject of TV and radio dramatisations. In 2008, The Times newspaper named Powell among their list of 'The 50 Greatest British Writers since 1945'.



Group Read: A Dance to the Music of Time - January: A Question of Upbringing, 1001 Books to read before you die (tammikuu 2014)
12 month group read? A Dance to the Music of Time, 1001 Books to read before you die (tammikuu 2014)
A Dance to the Music of Time GR 2013 - November: Temporary Kings, 75 Books Challenge for 2013 (joulukuu 2013)
A Dance to the Music of Time GR 2013 - August: The Soldier's Art, 75 Books Challenge for 2013 (syyskuu 2013)
A Dance to the Music of Time GR 2013 - July: The Valley Of Bones, 75 Books Challenge for 2013 (heinäkuu 2013)
A Dance to the Music of Time GR 2013 - April: At Lady Molly's, 75 Books Challenge for 2013 (toukokuu 2013)
A Dance to the Music of Time GR 2013 - March: The Acceptance World, 75 Books Challenge for 2013 (maaliskuu 2013)
A Dance to the Music of Time GR 2013 - February: A Buyer's Market, 75 Books Challenge for 2013 (maaliskuu 2013)


"Come, let's away; the strangers all are gone."
-- Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet'

Time's hand is often a cruel one. For those of us with fond memories of the past, our youth, our joys and ecstasies, it can sometimes be a comfort. Yet every encounter with the past - a nostalgic dinner conversation, an unexpected reunion with a lost acquaintance, the Proustian involuntary memory of the madeleine dipped in tea - runs the risk of tearing down our illusions: revealing the ulterior motives of one we thought had found us attractive, surprising us with a catty remark made behind our backs, or startling with a sympathetic character portrait of someone we had dismissed. (I well recall, in my youth, my first successful audition for a main role on the stage. It was a meaty role alongside brilliant actors, and I was obnoxiously proud to join the company. Years later, I happened to run into an actor acquaintance from that time. He told me - assuming that I knew - that, after the auditions but before contracting me, the director had reached out to him and another actor to see if they were available. He was sharing an amusing coincidence, an alternate-history in which he played the role rather than I. Yet, all I was hearing was the reveal that even though I must have been the best of the auditionees, I was a poor enough performer that the director sought out two outside hires before settling on me due to their lack of availability!)

Temporary Kings takes up this theme on a broad scale - although not at first. More than half of the novel is set in Venice, about a decade after we last saw Jenkins, Widmerpool, Pamela, and their cohort. The ravages of Time have killed off so many of the series' characters, that these are really the only three we still care about (perhaps in the case of the latter two, I should say "have a morbid interest in"). The spinning plates of the Dance are beginning to settle; our focus is narrowing. Here, these three spend an enlightening time in Venice as part of a literary conference, along with a slew of new characters, who provide us with a great deal more discussion of literature and art. In some ways, it is a strange transition for the series to make, especially as we are racing toward its end. Yet art has always been an underlying subject matter of the series and indeed Powell's well-known aesthetic tendencies suggest he sees art appreciation and moral character as inevitable soulmates. (One of the new characters, Tokenhouse, dismisses Widmerpool off hand, recognising that the man has no interest in art "good or bad".) Much is made of the psychological destruction of the late X. Trapnel and the offstage deaths of several other figures from the murky past. But it is the grotesque, vicious, sexually malevolent marriage of Pamela and Widmerpool - sorry, Lord Widmerpool - that makes up the meat of this particular volume.

I know we're supposed to dislike Pamela, and yes she is certainly a negative force in the world of the Dance. But - like Nick at novel's end - I have rather a strong respect for her. Perhaps she has just been doing what she feels is necessary to get by. Perhaps it is merely in the shadow of her husband's self-serving, face-saving villainy, she seems a figure of force rather than evil. Or perhaps I am quite mad. Either way, if Pam's exploits are the subtext of much of the Venice sequence, Widmerpool's dominate the novel's latter sections. Nick (sometimes along with Isobel) attends three functions: a war reunion dinner, a reception at the Soviet Embassy, and a Mozart opera. At each, old friends update him on the growing scandal around Widmerpool's alleged espionage activities, as well as a few other tidbits about characters we have loved or loathed. What is interesting is that Powell indulges more in a technique I wish he had used liberally in the early volumes. Nick - whom Powell often made arrive at, or observe, events despite a slight silliness to his presence - has, throughout the series, often heard reported tales which he recounts to us. But here, he sometimes gets multiple versions, and has to decipher the truth based on his knowledge of the participants, and his knowledges of the biases of those relating the story to us. It is a much more invigorating conceit and - while not unprecedented in the series - would, I feel, have given more weight to the earlier volumes. There have been many ambiguities, of course, oh so many; still I yearn for more.

Trying to rate this novel on a five-star scale seems an exercise in absurdity. As the penultimate volume in a series of staggering worth, Temporary Kings has great power. Every character appearance is now weighted with such history, and the abrupt jump in time (the first time more than a couple of years have passed between books) creates the powerful effect of seeing familiar faces through the disconcerting prism of age. It's a technique Proust makes great use of in his final volume, and I assume Powell will take up the mantle in Hearing Secret Harmonies. If there are flaws, they are only perhaps in a slight lack of "spirit of place". Powell was pushing 70 as he wrote this volume, and had spent the last two decades as an increasingly respected novelist, alternating between his grand home - a literary haven for the well-heeled - and yearly holidays abroad. The late 1950s for him were not fertile grounds for literary material. (And, Hilary Spurling notes in her biography of the author, he was also racing to finish the series lest he should pass away; in the event, Powell would live another quarter-century, unwisely releasing dense volumes of autobiography and diaries that would rather tarnish his image!) Whereas the novels set in the 1920s and 30s, and the War Trilogy, have a vibrant lived-in quality, this volume feels occasionally airless. There are references to the Cold War, of course, and notes of time passing, as when Hugh Moreland suggests that his obituary will not refer to him as "Mr Hugh Moreland since it is no longer the custom to include that salutation. Yet one feels strongly the puppeteer hand of the author, bringing his characters together at conferences and operas, without much sense of how they relate to the world around them. Perhaps it doesn't matter; at this stage, we are so invested in the people themselves that the world-building has drifted away. A New York Times review from 1973 said that, despite the series still being enjoyable for fans, "one goes on reading the “Dance,” feeling rather like a guest enjoying himself at a party after the band has left and the hosts have gone".

I can't say I entirely disagree.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
therebelprince | 12 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 21, 2024 |
"Après la guerre,
There'll be a good time everywhere."

The 10th novel in Powell's Music of Time cycle takes us to the years after WWII. Nick Jenkins is now in his 40s, with a second(?) child on the way, and London is a world greatly changed from his youth. The wonderfully titled Books Do Furnish a Room takes two unexpectedly connected subjects as its centrepieces: the short-lived left-wing magazine Fission, to which Jenkins hitches his wagon alongside a plethora of supporting characters from pre-War novels, and the antagonistic marriage of Kenneth Widmerpool (now an MP) and Pamela Flitton. We knew there would be sparks and savagery when these two married, but the truth is even more delectable. Widmerpool (whom the delightful Rosie Manasch likens to Lewis Carroll's Frog Footman) has matured into the great villain of the series, but Pam sure gives him a run for her money. When she arrives for a funeral early in the novel, pale as ever in her black dress and red lipstick, Jenkins remarks that she seems an appropriate attendant on Death. (The best revelation is that Pam's repeated final insult to her male lovers that they are terrible in a bed is in fact a feint; she is the frigid one, and ol' Kenneth gave up after just a couple of attempts. Marriage... is complicated.)

The two plots are linked by the almost-overpowering presence of a new character, X. Trapnel, a proto-beatnik writer whose ambitions outweigh his achievements. (I'm not sure which of his titles I prefer best, Camel Ride to the Tomb - a literal scene in his Egyptian novel but also a metaphor for life - or Bin Ends!) "A novelist is like a fortune teller", says the bearded, perpetually sunglass-wearing Trapnel, "who can impart certain information but not necessarily what the reader wants to hear". He feels both a loving parody of a particular kind of writer but also an acknowledgement of the burden those destined to create great art must often carry.

Now that Nick and his crew are older than myself, I was prepared to struggle with the sixtysomething Powell's inevitable reflection on time, and the pains of memory. So I was surprised to discover that Books is perhaps the volume least interested in the act of memory, at least since the very first. This is a very much a novel about the art of making art. Its specific nature, especially given that many of the parodies of post-War literary life are all but lost to me, will give some readers pause. But I found it rather invigorating. Powell had certainly not lost any of his touch (Hilary Spurling, in her recent biography, notes that he was undergoing renewed inspiration, especially as he was beginning to fear his life might end before he finished the cycle!).

By now, I have made my peace with Powell's unorthodox decision to sideline Jenkins, our narrator, almost completely. It is still difficult to appreciate his wife Isobel, barely a sketch outline, or to know if he has truly had any friends since the day he left highschool in the first volume. (Powell always insisted he would have written this series even if Proust had not existed, making out that the influence didn't concern him, but I still believe his creation of a twelve-volume series without a "self" at the centre if a deliberate inversion of Proust's more centripetal work.) Yet I appreciate now that Jenkins is a kind of narrative voice personified. He is able to be present at every major moment - think of the twin deaths of the Lovells in the previous volume, or the twin confrontation scenes involving Widmerpool and Pamela here - without anyone raising an eyebrow. While the narrative could function without Jenkins, it is his connection to events, as a kind of living recorder, the annalist par excellence, that keeps him relevant. If these novels are ultimately an attempt to depict Time on the page, Jenkins is the clock hand itself, slowly ticking ever closer to midnight.

I wanted to share this quote from Evelyn Waugh, a lifelong friend of Powell's and an admirer of the novels - although he did not live to see the series end:

"Less original novelists tenaciously follow their protagonists. In the Music of Time we watch through the glass of a tank; one after another various specimens swim towards us; we see them clearly, then with a barely perceptible flick of fin or tail, they are off into the murk... Their presence has no particular significance. It is recorded as part of the permeating and inebriating atmosphere of the haphazard which is the essence of Mr Powell's art."

I'll be truthful; I'm a little nervous about approaching the end of this series. For two reasons: first, I'm aware that - after covering 30 years in 10 volumes, Powell is now going to cover another 20 years in just 2; I'm hopeful the series does not just become (as Philip Larkin cruelly put it) "social accountancy". More to the point, though, I'm nervous about revelation. When I completed Proust's In Search of Lost Time, the climax had me unsettled and in awe for days. I was a wreck. If Powell does not equal that, I'll be eternally dissatisfied. If he does equal that, I will need to prepare myself for some weeping.

Ah, well. The future will have its way with us, whether we like it or not.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
therebelprince | 12 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 21, 2024 |
"Such a mental picture of the past was no doubt largely unhistorical, indeed totally illusory, freedom from one sort of humbug merely implying, with human beings of any epoch, thraldom to another. The past, just as the present, had to be accepted for what it thought and what it was."

Really very strong. Taking place during the second half of WWII, Powell's 9th Music of Time novel deals candidly with the rigours of war: the perpetual loss, the feeling of society being one unanimous organ brought together for a cause, and - of course - the paperwork.

It strikes me that the book's Goodreads rating is highly subjective. I imagine few people make it to #9 in a series from half a century ago unless they're quite enjoying the proceedings!I note this more because, although I am absorbed by Powell's writing, I think he has justly faded from the general public consciousness. So much of what made his work so powerful to its contemporary audience was that they had lived the proceedings. Our culture's current fetishisation of works set in 1980s and early '90s will no doubt yield some true classics. But it's fair to say that many of the works we are enjoying in this mode are zeitgeist-y at best. Well made, but ultimately appealing to us because of what they teach us about the now, as refracted through our recent past. Similarly, for 1960s audiences who had lived through the War, the archetypes and exchanges herein must have had much greater depth.

What is neat about this volume - which flits between Jenkins' postings over 3 or 4 years - is the feeling of time elongated. In 1945, someone can completely have forgotten a person they served with in 1942. Someone who lost their relative only a couple of years ago can see it as "long past". From my 2020 vantage point - only 8 weeks since my country activated its pandemic response plan, the most bizarre uprooting of the status quo in my lifetime - I am horrified by the prospect of what six long years at war would feel like.

By now, Powell has so perfected his style that the brief sketches of new characters are as probing and subtle as those of our longstanding friends and enemies. Widmerpool (is he the only character to have appeared in every book thus far, aside from NJ?) is more odious than ever. And we at last meet Pamela Flitton, a character whom I have associated with this series long before I knew anything about it, knowing only that she was played by Miranda Richardson in the UK TV adaptation; she certainly makes an impression here as a potential villainess (although character roles have changed before, so I will remain agnostic).

The final chapter, in which Jenkins attends the Victory church service, is one of the author's most assured pieces of writing yet, tackling his internal mental state through an almost stream-of-consciousness range of memories. Afterward, in a London deeply damaged by the Blitz and general decay, we descend into a dark despair but also - from our retrospective point-of-view - hopeful for the reconstruction and the new Elizabethan Golden Age we know lies ahead. (Probably less Golden for our boy Kenneth, setting his sights on administrating one of the colonies!)

Where to from here?
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
therebelprince | 14 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 21, 2024 |
"[T]he future is ever the consequence of the past." - Dr. Trelawney

Keats said "a thing of beauty is a joy forever". From some initial trepidation (frankly) about these volumes, I have become a full convert. #6 is set in two different time periods. First, the lonely summer of 1914, as young Nick and his family witness the onset of WWI. And second, the confusing summer of 1939, as Nick and Isobel - the former transitioning from one friend group to another, the latter pregnant again and hoping for the best as her family face loss - await the near-certainty of WWII. The novel is draped in foreboding, but it's also one of the most comedic yet (in both the literal and classic senses of the word).

Powell's critics have bristled at the way in which the novelist so overtly stage manages the reintroduction of his hundreds of characters. And, to be fair, they have a point. Whenever a new figure enters a room, or someone gets engaged to a figure unknown, it's always likely to be someone we've met before. Nick's life has become a series of creative coincidences. But... Powell does it so well! And it's worth it for the way in which these figures shift and change with the years, grow or retreat, ascend or fall. No doubt war will bring great horrors for our endless cast of characters, but I also have faith in Powell to ring the changes with meticulous craftsmanship.

The dance metaphor is, naturally, what people think of when they speak of these volumes, but I'm reminded of a quote from Hugh Moreland in this novel: "Valéry asks why one has been summoned to this carnival... but it's more like blind man's buff." I'm reminded of a carnival more and more. Figures in Venetian masks; old friends appearing from the mist; other friends being lost to the haunted castle or the tunnel of love.

And now, the lights of the ferris wheel are to be blacked out. The carnival of Europe, it seems, is over.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
therebelprince | 13 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 21, 2024 |



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Leslie Stodden Illustrator
Osbert Lancaster Cover artist, Cover designer
William Trevor Introduction
William Taylor Introduction
Ouida Contributor
George A. Lawrence Contributor
Mark Boxer Cover artist
James Broom-Lynne Cover designer, Cover artist
Auke Leistra Translator
Javier Calzada Translator
Simon Vance Narrator
J. Verheydt Translator
Juhani Lindholm Translator
Enric Mir Designer
Jordi Larios Translator
Oriol Maspons Photographer
Heinz Feldmann Translator
Jarkko Laine Translator
Rauno Ekholm Translator
James Broome-Lynne Cover artist
Ed Park Foreword


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