Bette's Reviews > A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement

A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
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Jun 12, 11

bookshelves: audio-paper
Read from May 31 to June 12, 2011

I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, Powell gives a highly detailed picture of English life between the wars for a certain class of men. And some of it is quite funny. On the other hand, it was incredibly slow moving (though listening to large parts of it dramatized the book more than reading it). Nicholas Jenkins, the protagonist of the book, is very passive, more an observer than a truly well-rounded character. And his views of women are condescending and derogatory. I don't think that I've ever encountered such sweeping and ridiculous generalizations about the so-called "fair sex" in a novel, and I've read a lot of 18th and 19th-century lit. Jenkins's (& Powell's, presumably) views of women are quite misogynstic. I'm glad I read the first movement, having heard about the book many years ago and having been curious about it. But I will not read the remaining 9 novellas. I think I'll try the BBC miniseries!
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Contrarywise I've read the series several times and hardly would call it misognistic. It is unsentimental, certainly, and honest in it's protrayal of a middle-class Englishman of his time--having little or no experience of girls or women until adult (due to the separation of
the sexes at school) and also the narrator's being an only child. I would like to hear an actual quote that you would call "derogatory."


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