The Acceptance World: A Novel
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The Acceptance World: A Novel (A Dance to the Music of Time #3)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  296 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A Dance to the Music of Time chronicles the lives of over three hundred characters, and is a unique evocation of life in twentieth-century England. It is unrivalled for its scope, its humour and the enormous pleasure it has given to generations. The Acceptance World follows Nicholas Jenkins, Kenneth Widmerpool and others, as they negotiate the intellectual, cultural and so...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 9th 1983 by Flamingo (first published 1955)
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In this third novel in his twelve novel series, A Dance to the Music of Time, Anthony Powell says, “People can only be themselves. If they possessed the qualities you desire in them, they would be different people.”

And, “The illusion that anyone can escape from the marks of his vocation is an aspect of romanticism common to every profession.”

And, reflecting on the series as a whole and his intent, “…that dinner…seemed to partake of the nature of a ritual feast, a rite from which the four of us e...more
Justin Evans
Not quite as good as the earlier novels in the first movement, but that's like saying a particular chapter in a novel isn't as good as the earlier chapters. They can't all be gold. There are nice reflections here, but the whole is dragged down by too little Widmerpool, and far too much expository dialogue. Most of this volume is people telling our narrator about events that have happened to third parties. This can be enjoyable in short bursts; but here it's pushed to an extreme that shows precis...more
"A Dance to the Music of Time" is a twelve-volume cycle of novels by Anthony Powell, and "The Acceptance World" is the third of the twelve volumes.

The twelve books of "A Dance to the Music of Time" are available individually or as four volumes.

A Question of Upbringing – (1951)
A Buyer's Market – (1952)
The Acceptance World – (1955)

At Lady Molly's – (1957)
Casanova's Chinese Restaurant – (1960)
The Kindly Ones – (1962)

The Valley of Bones – (1964)
The Soldier's Art – (1966)
The Militar...more
The third instalment of Anthony Powell’s epic sequence sees Nick Jenkins struggling over the publication of an art book for which he is awaiting an introduction, due to be written by a well-known novelist St. John Clarke. As the novel opens Nick meets his Uncle Giles for tea –at the Ufford; a private hotel in Bayswater, whilst they take tea in the deserted lounge they are joined by an acquaintance of Uncle Giles, Mrs Myra Erdleigh who is persuaded to’ get out her cards’ and proceeds to tell thei...more
I just love this series so far--the characters, the wry sense of humor, how the writing just sweeps you along. It's all oh-so-British, and I love the pervasive fascination with human behavior, how people change over time. The first three books are all structured around a handful of social gatherings, where incongruous personalities interact in surprising and illuminating ways. It's like that Sharon Olds poem, "I Go Back to May 1937," where the speaker imagines her parents paper dolls whom she ba...more
David Mcangus
Perhaps it's because I'm in my mid twenties (though at the opposite end of the social spectrum) but I'm starting to feel an affinity towards these young men and women. After two books of character establishment, it seems Powell is now starting to peak into each consciousness and see what they are made of. Through doing this it's now clear that each has their own conflicts brewing, and while they may now be part of "The Acceptance World". This acceptance brings with it responsibility and therefor...more
Marius van Blerck
This is the third book in Anthony Powell's extraordinary 12-volume series, A Dance to the Music of Time.

In each of my reviews of this series, I repeat the following two paragraphs. If you wish, simply skip ahead to the last.

If you enjoy Marcel Proust, Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene, you'll take to this like a Duke to Porter. But if you aren't really into them, but simply like a long drawn out yarn, beautifully written, spanning a large part of the 20th century, this series will entrance you.

Meron Axos
Half way through The Acceptance World, after reading the previous two volumes, I realized that I just don't care about any of these characters. None of them, really. Not Stringham nor Templar nor Jean nor Sillery nor Barnby nor Members nor Quiggen nor even the narrator, who has really not made himself completely open to us.

I find it pleasing to read such literary English. But I also find this view of upper crust English society between the wars to be somewhat superficial. If the idea is that we...more
While thematically stronger than a Buyer's Market, the body of the book dealt with a professional rivalry between Quiggin and Members that held little interest to me. (view spoiler)...more
I felt this was the strongest volume so far of Powell’s 12-volume Dance to the Music of Time. Things seemed to have bedded into a nice rhythm as the characters reach maturity and start to develop their own adult approaches to life.

Widmerpool becomes even more enigmatic and is the centre of a quite bizarre episode at a school reunion. Stringham seems to have let himself go a bit… I’m not sure now that he’s going to last the entire novel. But in terms of plot, the key episode centres around Nick f...more
“But, in a sense, nothing in life is planned — or everything is — because in the dance every step is ultimately the corollary of the step before; the consequence of being the type of person one chances to be.”

“One could not help thinking how extraordinarily unlike “the real thing” was this particular representation of a pair of lovers; indeed, how indifferently, at almost every level except the highest, the ecstasies and bitterness of love are at once conveyed in art. So much of the truth remain...more
I've filled pages and pages of my notebook with the most wonderful sentences. This is the English language at its funniest and best:

"Intricacies of social life make English habits unyielding to simplicfication, while understatement and irony - in which all classes of this island converse - upset the normal emphasis of reported speech."

"POSH?" said Templer. "Sweetie, what an awful word. Please never use it in my presence again."

"All the while I felt horribly bored with the whole lot of them, want...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in July 1999.

A few years on from A Buyer's Market, and we are in the London of the early thirties, complete with hunger marches. But as yet the rich set in which Nick Jenkins moves have hardly been affected, though it is fashionable to take a left-wing political stance and demonstrate with the hunger marchers.

Why the gap? Well, the first few books centre around the relationship between Jenkins and his schoolfriends Templer and Stringham, and their acquaintanc...more
The Acceptance World by Anthony Powell

“Scent, vaguely oriental in its implications, called across from her in great, stifling waves. The huge liquid eyes seemed to look deep down into my soul, and far, far beyond towards unexplored vistas of the infinite”
What do I gather from this quote?
1) this is a splendid third part of a wonderful 12 volume ,masterpiece
2) these three volumes I have finished so far are hilarious at times: in the description quoted we meet a fortune teller
3) this is so complex...more
As of today I am one fourth of the way through the 12-volume "Dance," and in lieu of a proper appraisal, I'll just copy out a few of Powell's many aperçus:

" I [Nicholas Jenkins, the narrator/hero] walked on through the melancholy park, I thought of love, which, from the very beginning perpetually changes it shape: sometimes in the ascendant, sometimes in decline."

"On the contrary, my interest in love was keen enough, but the thing itself seemed not particularly simple to come by."

In the inc...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
THE ACCEPTANCE WORLD is the third book in Anthony Powell's 12-novel sequence "A Dance to the Music of Time", which tracks the narrator and his social circle from youth in the 1920s to old age and death half a century later. In comparison, the first two novels seem a weighy introduction, presenting us with Jenkins' school friends and then their wider social circle. With THE ACCEPTANCE WORLD, the scene is set and the plot can now move at a more sprightly pace.

Set from around 1930-1932, this third...more
This book concludes the first "movement" (3 novels) in Powell's 12-novel series, A Dance to the Music of Time. As other reviewers have mentioned, these books DO take time to gain momentum. Perhaps Powell was very well aware of that as he named the subsequent novels as subsequent movements of one piece.

As a fan of Galsworthy and Trollope, in the right mood I really savour the slow pace and small events of such a series. The "nothings" that do-or-don't occur are the events that form each of us in...more
Elise R
I'm really enjoying this series! This book goes into more of Jenkins' young adult life and finding his footing in the world. I loved the scenes with Uncle Giles and Mrs. Erdleigh, it's a very classical literature trick to have the main character visit a fortune teller. The thing that's tough about the series is that it's hard to pinpoint a plot to it. It's more situations and characters, which are definitely interesting, but don't necessarily make it a page-turner.
The third instalment of Powell's magnum opus, every bit as good as the first two. Not much actually occurs, but we are not surprised by now at an absence of plot. We are at the economic depression at the end of the 1920s, referred to vaguely by the upper middle class protagonists as a "slump". Socialism is now very fashionable, attracting former figures of the artistic establishment, which means that Jenkins' introduction to his book about dull portraitist Isbister RA is unlikely to ever be writ...more
A lot of what happens in this book is recounted to Nick, our narrator, by someone who was present when he was not and about a third person. This removal from the action should not work very well, but it does. I think this demonstrates that what people do is often less important that what other people or society in general think about them.
Lars Guthrie
Three from one fourth into 'A Dance to the Music of Time," Powell's multi-novel saga. The experience grows richer as we follow Powell's characters as they establish careers and relationships. Stringham, who was peripheral in 'A Buyer's Market,' reappears, sadly dissolute and with his marriage failed. Templer, although successful financially, also sees his wife leave, and Nick, surprisingly, takes up with Templer's sister, Jean. And there is the rather startling ascendance of Widmerp...more
Nick Duretta
Defintely a peek into another universe--the comings and goings of the idle rich, or the British semi-upper class of the early 1950s. Amazingly, this was a surprisingly readable novel of a group of London socialites whose soap opera-ish lives (divorces, flings, social snubbings, affairs) are glazed with the veneer of snobby aristocratism. I breezed through the book, told from the perspective of the all-knowing narrator (Nick). who looks with often undisguised disdain upon his fellow travelers in...more
Intermittently engaging but three books into the series nothing has happened and I have no feeling for who these characters are. Don't think I have the stamina to wade through the other nine.
I think with the thrid book I'm finally getting into the swing of things. The first two books saw too much immaturity for my liking. Nice to see the characters grow up!
Kim Stallwood
One of my favourites so far in the series, A Dance to the Music of Time. The writing is crisp and dry. The humour is subtle and quietly sarcastic. It helps to have watched the excellent TV series adaptation a couple of times. This is because there's a familiarity with the characters and their development and how the storyline unfolds. Also, it doesn't really matter that I'm not reading them in sequence. Although, one day, it would be a good thing to do. Not a great deal happens in each novel. Th...more
The third volume in Anthony Powell's series A Dance to the Music of Time, this book advances Nick and his peers into their late twenties and early thirties. Powell is at his sharpest and most satirical when showing his characters interacting in complicated social situations. Among the highlights are Nick's visit to the home of Peter Templer and his wife Mona, and housemaster Le Bas' annual Old Boys' Dinner. I continue to find much to enjoy in this series.
Dave Peticolas
This makes a great series for a vacation.
This is my third time through A Dance to the Music of Time. I first read the 12-book set in my twenties (my first movement, as it were) and again in my forties (2nd movement) and now in my sixties I'm listening to the unabridged audios (3rd movement).

This is a wonderful traversal of life, both extremely specific in detail but also universal in their applicability to at least a wide segment of social life.

I listened to A Matter of Upbringing and A Buyer's Market in 2012 and found new depths and...more
Jun 25, 2014 ^ marked it as owned-yet-to-be-read  ·  review of another edition
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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...
A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement A Question of Upbringing (A Dance to the Music of Time, #1) A Dance to the Music of Time: 3rd Movement A Dance to the Music of Time: 2nd Movement A Dance to the Music of Time: 4th Movement

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