A Dance to the Music of Time – his brilliant 12-novel sequence, which chronicles the lives of over three hundred characters, is a unique evocation of life in twentieth-century England.
The novels follow Nicholas Jenkins, Kenneth Widmerpool and others, as they negotiate the intellectual, cultural and social hurdles that stand between them and the “Acceptance World.”
More lists with this book...
Seek we sepulture
On a tall mountain, citied to the top,
Crowded with culture!”
A Grammarian's Funeral by Robert Browning
This poem, quoted in the novel, is a kind of a key… They’re high on a mountain and looking down…
Unlike the proverb ‘All roads lead to Rome’ this time around all roads led to Venice so all key figures of the novel have found themselves there.
‘You’ll live like a king once you get there.’...more
‘One of those temporary kings in The Go
They say you lose your head for nostalgia, as you get older
The words of Hugh Moreland echo the drift towards introspection and regrets that started in the previous volume, as Nick Jenkins embarks on a comprehensive study of melancholy in the last part of his twelve step Dance. Venice, with its beautiful vistas and sunny climate might look like an improbable venue for such downbeat storytelling, but the author is quick with the literary references about the transience of beauty and the inevit ...more
Takes place: summer 1958 to early summer ’59; then recollections of November ’59.
Nick Jenkins now in his early 50s – thus has entered his sixth decade.
Book publishe ...more
- Anthony Powell, Temporary Kings
"Candaules, King of Lydia, Shews his Wife by Stealth to Gyges, One of his Ministers, As She Goes to Bed", by William Etty
Powell's 11th book (book 2 in the Fourth Movement, 11/12 in the Series, the Penultimate*) Temporary Kings opens at an international literary conference in Venice. The literary pot is beginning to boil. Who knew the literary world was such a Casino Royale of intrigue. I really think Po ...more
Temporary Kings (1973) is the penultimate volume of Anthony Powell’s twelve-novel series “A Dance to the Music of Time” and opens in the Summer of 1958, eleven years on from Books Do Furnish a Room (Volume 10).
The star of this volume is Pamela Widmerpool who manages to trump her previous feats of outrageous behaviour. As with other volumes, new characters appear and ...more
Favorite quotes from this one:
"You know growing old's like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven't committed."
"Nothing fails like success."
"Reading novels needs almost as much talent as writing ...more
Art, literature, music, film, and Eastern European politics are impor ...more
The title is a possible reference to The Golden Bough, which has a section with the same title concerning the practice in the ancient world of appointing kings for a brief period, at the end of which they would be executed. The novel introduces a surreal element, mischievously portraying the literary world as politically corrupt an ...more
Alas, only one volume remains, and I intend to read it over the next few days, Christmas and other events permitting.
Fascinating 10 out of 10
I am enthralled by A Dance to the Music of Time, the masterpiece of the astonishing Anthony Powell, now nearing its end.
This is the eleventh volume and alas, there is only one left.
After some delays, meant to prolong the joy of reading this extraordinary book, I am coming to the final chapters.
In Temporary Kings some of the characters have returned and others have never left center stage, or did so briefly.
Kenneth Widmerpool and his wife P ...more
Nick, who I think is now in his mid 50s, is also attending an academic conference here. He and the other members of his generation are treated with respect, but they're starting to feel increasingly margi ...more
Each recriminative decade poses new riddles, how best to live, how best to write. One’s fifties, in principle less acceptable than one’s forties, at least confirm most worst suspicions about life, thereby disposing of an appreciable tract of vain expectations, standardized fantasy, obstructive to writing, as to living. [...] After passing the half-century, one unavoidable conclusion is that many things seeming incredible on starting out, are, in fact, by no means to be located in an area beyond...more
These books came to my rescue when I ...more
-- 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 th ...more
In the late 1950s Nicholas Jenkins attends a writers' conference in Venice, where among the whole le ...more
The penultimate novel in The Dance to the Music of Time has the more significant part of its plot set in Venice, where events are set in motion which later come to a head in London. Most of the Venetian action revolves around a little known Tiepolo fresco on the subject of Candaules and Gyges. There are various versions of this Greek legend, but basically Candaules was a king of Lydia who hid his general Gyges in the royal apartments so that he ...more
Much of the plot takes place in V ...more
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".