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A Dance to the Music of Time: 3rd Movement (A Dance to the Music of Time #7-9)

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,020 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Anthony Powell's universally acclaimed epic encompasses a four-volume panorama of twentieth century London. Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times," A Dance to the Music of Time opens just after World War I. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, Nick Jenkins and his friends confront sex, society, busi ...more
Paperback, 715 pages
Published May 31st 1995 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1970)
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Dec 30, 2014 David rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Femme fatales, men of will, poofy Brits
I am still working on the best way to describe A Dance to the Music of Time in a sentence or two and how to persuade someone that they should read a twelve-volume epic about a posh English guy's really rather unremarkable life. Nick Jenkins, our stalwart protagonist, is now in his thirties as World War II breaks out, and rest assured, he will not be storming the beaches at Normandy, interned in a POW camp, or even working in secret outfits, though many of his associates and even childhood friend ...more
Jul 07, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

The more I listen to these books the more I admire Powell's wonderful prose and the control he exerts over his ever-increasing cast of characters. They come together, they part, they come together again in the dance that gives its name to the series.

The Third Movement - novels seven to nine of the series - covers WWII. It commences with the narrator Nick Jenkins' enlistment in the army and ends six years later with his demobilisation. However, although the war forms the background to the narrati
Vit Babenco
Jan 09, 2016 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing
It seems summer will last… But autumn is already at the doorstep.
“Think first, fight afterwards – the soldier’s art…” Robert BrowningChilde Roland to the Dark Tower Came
They think… Tsars, dictators, despots, tyrants always think that they will win and they start fighting…
Widmerpool, earlier defined as a frog footman, came to power – frog footmen always do – and now he sets the rules… But his brains remain those of a frog.
“And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The w
Greatest novel in the English language, part 3. This is perhaps the movemement I most often think about, but they are all so good.
Jul 15, 2008 Alisa rated it really liked it
This one was a struggle. War from beginning to end...which I guess isn't supposed to be a whole lot of fun. I don't know if it was a deliberate manifestation or the effect of advancing history (Powell wrote the sequence from 1951-1975), but I detected definite shades of Yossarian in these pages. Different dialect, different arena, same outlook.

The most affecting character in this section is Charles Stringham, former schoolfriend, former drunk cured of alcoholism by "Tuffy" his former governess (
Brenda Cregor
Jun 05, 2012 Brenda Cregor rated it liked it
60 pages into the "3rd Movement", and I am c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g along.
Perhaps, this book will drag along, as did WAR AND PEACE, until the 200th page.
Who knew the beginnings of World War II would be less intriguing than the vapid vacuous social lives of the protagonist's friends and relations, in the first two movements?! The character of soldiers is typically quite fascinating.
But, I am committed! Halfway through the series, I am not quitting.
And the reason I do not like to read
Gary Lee
Novels 7-9 of Powell's overall twelve

The Valley of Bones -- 3/5
It took me some time to get into reading this one.
Partly due to it being a war novel, and my dislike of/disinterest in war novels. And partly due to a near-complete reboot of characters. After six novels of getting to know all of the characters of Jenkins' aristocratic world, Powell replaces all of them with the new characters of Jenkins' military career.
As I said, it took some time to get used to these new characters and to care abo
A Dance to the Music of Time: 3rd Movement includes these three novels:

The Valley of Bones
The Soldier's Art
The Military Philosophers

The Valley of Bones heralds the beginning of the war and Jenkins' life in the military. We find Jenkins, a thirty something year old second-lieutenantin aninfantryregiment trying to now adapt to the new rules and regulations which now constitute his life in the military. We are also given more information about the life of Widmerpool who has managed to get promote
carl  theaker
Apr 10, 2010 carl theaker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to carl by: R.Ellis

Life in the army, as opposed to the war, is the focus. The everydayness of of it all
makes it difficult to feel one is doing their part. Much like the Depression
the war is subtly in the background.

'The Soldier's Art' examines the politics of 'upper management' as we watch the scheming,
workaholic, Widermerpool, Jenkins sometimes friend and sometimes nemesis,
manipulate his way through the Army ranks.

The effects of war hits closer to home as a few of our friends are killed in
bombing raids on London.
Dec 22, 2013 Rick rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Derek Davis
Jan 15, 2016 Derek Davis rated it really liked it
I entered this third of fourth parts of Dance hoping that Powell might pry open the hinge to his narrator, Nick Jenkins', outlook on life. War, after all, brings misery but most of all change. It was disappointing that nothing of the sort unfolds here. The writing is excellent, incisive as always, but the content, especially considering the upheaval of the time, is peculiarly insular and abstracted. The coincidences on which the "dance" must necessarily depend seem more forced, less a natural in ...more
Glen Engel-Cox
Dec 03, 2014 Glen Engel-Cox rated it really liked it
Recommended to Glen by: Rich
The third season into Powell's "A Dance to the Music of Time" series, and I finally feel that I'm understanding what's going on. Powell's series is very British, and early on I missed a lot of action because it was hidden amongst the understatements and other polite forms of communication. I read this group of three much more closely, and I feel that I got much more out of it. "Autumn" (as my three in one volume calls this group of three) is the World War II years for Jenkins and his life comrad ...more
Tim Cawkwell
Aug 21, 2014 Tim Cawkwell rated it it was amazing
The TLS review of Michael Schmidt’s ‘The Novel: a biography’ (Harvard UP 2014) tells me that in it Schmidt ‘damns’ Evelyn Waugh and Anthony Powell. As it happened, I was in the middle of a ‘compare and contrast’ exercise between volumes 7,8 and 9 of Powell’s ‘Dance to the Music of Time’ (Valley of Bones, The Soldier’s Art, The Military Philosophers) and Waugh’s ‘Sword of Honour’ trilogy (Officers and Gentlemen, Men at Arms, Unconditional Surrender), both trilogies about the British Army in the S ...more
Michael Battaglia
Mar 26, 2015 Michael Battaglia rated it it was amazing
There's an interesting moment in the third novel of this particular segment of Powell's series where our fearless narrator, Nick Jenkins, not only extensively quotes from Proust but winds up visiting the seaside villa where Proust's narrator experiences quite a few knotted clauses. Given how often the series is compared to Proust's magnum opus, it's either a sign of Powell having some fun with all the people who saw it as Proust clone, or his way of differentiating it from that other massive nov ...more
Carey Combe
Jan 17, 2012 Carey Combe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favourite three books of the series. Widmerpool at his finest bullying best, Jenkins getting more and more boring and the only interesting female character in the book, Pamela Flitton.
Apr 30, 2016 Miriam rated it it was ok
I can't believe when I finally finish this series of twelve books that I only get one checkmark on my list. The characters are flat and devoid of feeling. Even when things happen, they are filtered through the narrator's apathy, which robs them of all gravitas. I think I finally grasp what I don't like about these books: it's fiction but based on someone's reminiscences in a way that the stories aren't colorful and the characters don't matter and we never really know what the narrator actually t ...more
I'm reading Anthony Powell's 12-book "A Dance to the Music of Time" this year, one book per month. This volume contains books seven, eight and nine, which I'm reading in July, August and September. I'm reviewing the books as I go.

I was disappointed with "The Valley of Bones," which was my least favorite of the series of so far. Our narrator, Nick Jenkins, is now in the Army at the start of World War II. I didn't find his Army buddies particularly interesting... the only bright spots of this book
May 26, 2014 Judy rated it it was amazing
One of the most absorbing series of novels I have ever read.

These three follow, through world War II, the affairs of Nicholas Jenkins and many of his family and associates who, some years older than conscripted soldiers, also volunteered their services. Having expedited for himself a position of superior rank, the dreadful Widmerpool has much influence over the lives and fate of several of them.

Dreary, melancholy, at times surreal - punctuated by twists of fortune, chance meetings, sudden depa
Nov 14, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ronald Wise
Aug 09, 2011 Ronald Wise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written story which follows a group of school boys through the two great wars of the 20th century and, for those who survived World War II, their integration into British society following that war. One of their classmates, Widmerpool, seems to pop up everywhere during the narrator's life, and to serve as a topic of humor. Widmerpool, despite his untiring efforts to be a respected member of British society, usually ends up being a type of schmurz. Unfortunately the library did not have a ...more
Apr 09, 2010 Cyril rated it it was amazing
After reading this novel (or trilogy of novels rather) in the series, it has become clear to me that this is one of the monumental works of the twentienth century. The story still follows Nicholas Jenkins as he dispassionately observes a country that become engulfed by war. He freely comments on what he sees as the idosyncrasies and shortcomings of those around him while for the most part remaining silent on his own emotional state, even in events which impact him directly. A sense of melancholy ...more
Aug 12, 2012 Amanda rated it really liked it
There were times when, reading this book, I thought I might take off a star from my rating: the world of men at war, in particular men at war far from the field of battle, seemed at first so much less enthralling and scintillating than that of men (and boys) in school, at work, in society, in love. And then I realized that was the point: that the cataclysm of World War II, which basically wrecked the world that was England (and Europe) before 1939, WAS less scintillating, grimmer, more randomly ...more
Simon Mcleish
May 18, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it
Originally published on my blog here in October 1999.

Wartime army service is the background to book seven of A Dance to the Music of Time. It is not active service, Nick Jenkins being sent to a unit which remains in Northern Ireland until the fall of Paris and the end of the book. This is a complete break from his normal life in London's literary circles, and so the characters from earlier in the series are almost totally absent. Even Nick's wife Isobel only appears on a couple of pages.

The Vall
June Louise
Out of the four "movements", this one was my favourite. Vols 7-9 deal with the war years where Nick (the narrator) is serving with the land forces. Nick meets Gwatkin, Kedward and the strange Bithel during his early army days, before being posted to Northern Ireland. Widmerpool is still in evidence - he seems to almost "stalk" Nick about, and each book is like a "where's Widmerpool" game.

The trilogy in the Third Movement follow the antics of Nick and his division - some comic, some strategic. T
Yungsheng Wang
Aug 19, 2013 Yungsheng Wang rated it really liked it
Ah, the vicissitudes of life. In the third movement of A Dance to the Music of Time, Nick Jenkins, a bit too old to fight in World War II, jumps from army post to army post, where he struggles with bureaucracy, politics, and personalities in the sometimes bewildering hierarchy of the British Army. As the main characters as they are, come in and out of interacting with Jenkins: Charles Stringham, emerging from alcoholism to fight in the way he can in the War; Peter Templer, who involves himself w ...more
Jun 02, 2012 Rich rated it it was amazing
_A Dance to the Music of Time_ is an extremely absorbing and well-crafted novel (composed of 12 smaller novels). Its subject is the decline of the English upper classes from the First World War to about 1970, a decline seen is inevitable and probably necessary, but somehow also regrettable.

Such a description might make the novel seem stuffy, but it is not. _A Dance to the Music of Time_ is at times very funny indeed, and always interesting. always involving. It features an enormous cast of chara
Douglas Dalrymple
Aug 19, 2010 Douglas Dalrymple rated it really liked it
The third movement of ‘The Music of Time’ spans the war years. This is not the war of armies in the field but the war of familial dislocations, obscure provincial postings and byzantine bureaucracies. Think of Waugh’s ‘Sword of Honor’ trilogy (a similar work in more than one respect), but with even less combat. Like Malcolm Muggeridge and Evelyn Waugh (both acquaintances of the author, I believe), Powell himself was a bit long in the tooth -in his mid thirties- by the time Germany invaded Poland ...more
May 31, 2007 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dance was originally published as 12 novels over a span of about 20 years, but they should properly be viewed as one long novel. Nowadays you often see it published in four volumes, each with three of the original novels.

The novels are narrated by Nicholas Jenkins, but Jenkins never reveals much about himself, at least not directly. Instead he focuses on his friends and acquaintances from roughly 1920 to 1970.

I'm now pretty close to the age Jenkins was at the end of these novels, and more than e
Marjorie Hakala
Jul 14, 2010 Marjorie Hakala rated it it was amazing
(Review of the full series here:

This is the volume about World War II, and war exerts a strong influence on the narrative. The humor is a little broader, by the standards of this series--fewer subtle verbal jabs at social gatherings, and more caricatures of superior officers (such as the two colonels named Eric and Derrick). And, as you would expect, the bad things that happen are far more serious. The Soldier's Art brought home to me the reality of the
Feb 22, 2011 Christopher rated it really liked it
This third "movement" of Anthony Powell's long sequence A Dance to the Music of Time covers narrator Nicholas Jenkins' service in World War II, going from early 1940 at the beginning of THE VALLEY OF BONES to late summer 1945 in THE MILITARY PHILOSOPHERS.

Soon after the war begins, Nicholas Jenkins is assigned as a subaltern in a Welsh infantry unit, which is immediately posted to Northern Ireland. The Dance perennially exhibits to the reader comical and grotesque personalities, and anyone who ha
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Anthony Dymoke Powel 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".
More about Anthony Powell...

Other Books in the Series

A Dance to the Music of Time (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • A Question of Upbringing (A Dance to the Music of Time, #1)
  • A Buyer's Market (A Dance to the Music of Time #2)
  • The Acceptance World (A Dance to the Music of Time, #3)
  • At Lady Molly's (A Dance to the Music of Time, #4)
  • Casanova's Chinese Restaurant (A Dance to the Music of Time, #5)
  • The Kindly Ones (A Dance to the Music of Time, #6)
  • The Valley of Bones (A Dance to the Music of Time, #7)
  • The Soldier's Art (A Dance to the Music of Time, #8)
  • The Military Philosophers (A Dance to the Music of Time, #9)
  • Books Do Furnish a Room (A Dance to the Music of Time, #10)

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