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A Dance to the Music of Time: 3rd Movement

(A Dance to the Music of Time #7-9)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,340 ratings  ·  88 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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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,340 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
“War is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.”
-- old combat adage


The Third Movement (**FALL**) contains the following three novels:

1. The Valley of Bones (A Dance to the Music of Time, #7) -- read June 19, 2016

2. The Soldier's Art (A Dance to the Music of Time, #8) -- read August 16, 2016

3. The Military Philosophers (A Dance to the Music of Time, #9) -- read August 22, 2016

I read these three novels starting in mid June 2016 and ending August 22, 2016. I've hyperlinke
Vit Babenco
Jan 09, 2016 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
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

While the dullness of administrative army life is inevitable, here it is not written as such, at least not lengthily, and through much of this installment I was speeding along with everything that happens. Irony abounds: the worst happens to these characters while the narrator, Nick, is on leave; he hears of other deaths quite a while after they happen and his informants are surprised to find that he did not know already. When Nick first meets Pennistone (one of several new characters i
Jul 27, 2012 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
This is a very strong 4 rating, with episodes that were higher. Some of the war minutiae occasionally seemed excessive but then Powell again would steer me to a place I hadn't expected, an insight well earned.

full review to come...
Jun 05, 2014 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
Greatest novel in the English language, part 3. This is perhaps the movemement I most often think about, but they are all so good.
David M
After a good 2,000 pages our hero Nick Jenkins shows himself capable of human emotion and actually cries.

Reading Proust during the blitz, it seems to occur to him the soul has unspeakable depths one might even try and plumb. One might, but as for himself, no thanks, not so much.

Personally found the war more interesting as anticipated in volume 2 than as lived through in volume 3. Given the enormity of historical events and Nick's extremely modest role, this probably can't be helped.

Nick's rel
Jul 09, 2008 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
Oct 27, 2011 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
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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-lieutenant in an infantry regiment 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 p
Nov 14, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yungsheng Wang
Aug 07, 2013 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
May 31, 2007 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
Ronald Wise
Aug 09, 2011 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
carl  theaker
Apr 10, 2010 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.
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
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
War deepens the story, perhaps at its best when it touches, sometimes tragically, the lives of those we've come to love. The style's so beautiful it can spoil others by comparison. Enter Pamela.

Carey Combe
Jan 17, 2012 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.
Michael Battaglia
Mar 15, 2015 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
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this volume over such an extended period of time I actually don't recall much of what came in books 7 and 8, but I did enjoy them and continued to appreciate Powell's characters and humor. The 9th book, however, was difficult to get through and a big reason why it took me so long to get through this Movement. I did not have much issue with the army adventures in the first two books, but in this one it seems like Powell really dives into the nuts and bolts of the administrative end of the ...more
Glen Engel-Cox
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Glen by: Rich
Shelves: amazon
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
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Spiffingly delightful, from start to finish.
Jan 27, 2011 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
Marjorie Hakala
Jun 09, 2010 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
Derek Davis
Jan 15, 2016 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
Tim Cawkwell
Aug 21, 2014 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
Aug 12, 2012 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
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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".

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)
“She glided away towards the lift, which seemed hardly needed, with its earthly and mechanical paraphernalia, to bear her up to the higher levels.” 2 likes
“There could be no doubt, so I was finally forced to decide, that the longer one dealt with them, the more one developed the habit of treating generals like members of the opposite sex; specifically, like ladies no longer young, who therefore deserve extra courtesy and attention; indeed, whose every whim must be given thought.” 2 likes
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