Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Temporary Kings (A Dance to the Music of Time, #11)” as Want to Read:
Temporary Kings (A Dance to the Music of Time, #11)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Temporary Kings

(A Dance to the Music of Time #11)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  566 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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.”

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 28th 1998 by William Heinemann Ltd (first published 1973)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Temporary Kings, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Temporary Kings

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  566 ratings  ·  79 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Temporary Kings (A Dance to the Music of Time, #11)
Vit Babenco
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Leave we the unlettered plain its herd and crop;
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.’
‘One of those temporary kings in The Go
...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

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
Ted
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 expectation, standardized fantasy, obstructive to writing, as to living.




or perhaps




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
Darwin8u
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
"Reading Novels needs almost as much talent as writing them."
- Anthony Powell, Temporary Kings

description
"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
Nigeyb
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Anthony Powell is the best living English novelist by far. His admirers are addicts, let us face it, held in thrall by a magician"

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
Diane Barnes
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This can best be described as a romp through the literature, art, music and cinema of the late 1950's, through the eyes and ears of Nick Jenkins as he and his friends enter middle-age with the experience and cynicism needed to chart their course. The most risque of the 11 books read so far.

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
Perry
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marital confrontation worthy of comparison to Shakespearean epos!
Katie Lumsden
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one, as I do with all the series, although I don't think the last few are my favourites in the series. Interesting characterisation, great writing and some really powerful moments.
Connie G
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In "Temporary Kings" Nick Jenkins is attending a literary conference in Venice around 1958. He meets Russell Gwinnett who is writing a biography of X. Trapnael, a novelist who was featured in the last book. The conference tours cultural locations, including the Bragadin Palace with its fictional impressive ceiling painted by Tiepolo. The subject of the painting, the story of Candaules and Gyges, sets the stage for other events.

Art, literature, music, film, and Eastern European politics are impor
...more
Laura
This is the penultimate in his twelve-volume masterpiece, A Dance to the Music of Time. It was published in 1973 and remains in print as does the rest of the sequence.

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
Eleanor
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another wonderful volume in this terrific series. I took a long time over it because of other demands on my time,not because of any lack of enjoyment to be had. That extraordinary creation, Pamela Widmerpool carves her usual swathe through those unfortunate enough to cross her path. Various characters old and new do not disappoint each time they appear and reappear in the dance.

Alas, only one volume remains, and I intend to read it over the next few days, Christmas and other events permitting.
George
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the 11th book in the ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’ series and is an entertaining, humorous, pleasant read, set in Venice, then London, in the 1950s. The narrator, Nick Jenkins, meets a number of old acquaintances in Venice, including Mrs Pamela Widmerpool, Mr Widmerpool, a member of the House of Lords. He also meets Mr Glober, an American film producer and Mr Gwinnett whose is writing a biography on deceased author, Mr Trapnel. There are a couple of particularly memorable scenes, one be ...more
Renee M
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Book 11 of the Dance is the most scandalous and a fabulous wild ride through the lives of Nick's collection of friends and acquaintances. Somewhat surprising since we are in the winter of their lives. The most notorious are LORD Kenneth Widmerpoole (why didn't I see that coming) and his wife, Pamela (née Flitton). But we hear from a host of characters we've come to expect including several long dead and several we might not expect. Lots of art in its many manifestations, (literature, music, ...more
Jason
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Realini
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Temporary Kings by Anthony Powell
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
Bruce
Nov 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In this penultimate volume of Anthony Powell’s twelve-novel series, “A Dance to the Music of Time,” the first person narrator, Nick Jenkins, has at last completed his scholarly tome on Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy and has resumed his place in the writing world. The novel opens at a literary conference in Venice with the introduction of new characters as well as comments about old ones, including the fact that Kenneth Widmerpool as lost his seat in Parliament but been promoted to bei ...more
Manny
We're in Venice this week, where we've just finished taking part in an international workshop on speech and language technology. Somewhere around the middle of the first day, it struck me that the setup was eerily similar to the opening of the penultimate volume of A Dance to the Music of Time.

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
Matthew Hunter
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
Timothy Hallinan
This is the penultimate book in the most brilliant 20th-century series I know of. It's not always my favorite of the twelve volumes; some of Powell's writing about the young people of the late 60s -- this was written in 1973, and he was almost seventy years old, so "Scorpio Morlock," that great name notwithstanding, is a bit of a caricature -- but in the end, this book is worthy of inclusion in what Clive James calls "the greatest modern novel since "Ulysses."

These books came to my rescue when I
...more
Tom Ewing
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I get the feeling twentieth-century Venice had a definite association with sex, death and secrets, arising from its status as a kind of artistic Vegas, a city where the intellectual and rich could alike escape to and where romantic or unspeakable things might occur. That's certainly one of the roles it plays in Temporary Kings, which spends two-thirds of its length in Venice over a several-day period - probably the most focused the Dance has been in setting and time since the second volume, if n ...more
Sammy
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Come, let's away; the strangers all are gone."
-- 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
Greg
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
A good portion of this book takes place in a Venetian drawing room, as most of the characters in this 12-volume epic work stare at and discuss a painting on a ceiling. There it is, their lives, each character seeing themselves as part of the art. If you choose only to read one of these twelve volumes, I recommend this one, as the writing is extraordinary and you need only an enjoyment of written words to be awed by Powell's talent.
Catullus2
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nick is in his fifties and dwells much on melancholy and nostalgia. I’m feeling sad that there’s only one more volume left.
Illiterate
Powell suggests that as we age, life becomes flat and nostalgic. Perhaps that’s why the Dance becomes less comic and more sensationalist.
Rob
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Quite rightly, Anthony Powell understood that the marginal stuff of one's life often shines an unexpected light on the zeitgeist that contains it, in this case the decline of the British Empire in the 20th century. These observant, quietly accumulative novels - to a greater or lesser extent romans a clef - weave a tapestry that extends from political and mercantile power and privilege to artistic poverty and seediness, with Nick Jenkins, Powell's alter ego, acting as an Everyman riding between t ...more
Christopher
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
TEMPORARY KINGS is the eleventh and penultimate volume in Anthony Powell's sequence "A Dance to the Music of Time", which follows Nicholas Jenkins and his social circle through several decades of 20th-century Britain. With this novel, we make a great leap in time, for over ten years have elapsed since BOOKS DO FURNISH A ROOM. Events in that novel are so far in the past as to be but vague memories.

In the late 1950s Nicholas Jenkins attends a writers' conference in Venice, where among the whole le
...more
Simon Mcleish
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Originally published on my blog here in April 2000.

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
Laura
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“The Venetian trip, contrary to the promises of Mark Members, had not renewed energies for writing. All the same, established priorities, personal continuities, the confused scheme of things making up everyday life, all revived, routines proceeding much as before. The Conference settled down in the mind as a kind of dream, one of those dreams laden with the stuff of real life, stopping just the right side of nightmare, yet leaving disturbing undercurrents to haunt the daytime, clogging sources o ...more
gwayle
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powell continues to rely heavily on caricature in this penultimate installment, particularly with Pamela and her newly introduced match: Russell Gwinnett, a possibly necrophiliac, and certainly death-obsessed, American scholar writing a biography of X. Trapnel. Another American, Louis Glober, a playboy tycoon, is also added to the cast of characters, and Jenkins's strained attempts to characterize Americans, who always seem to baffle the poor Brits, are amusing.

Much of the plot takes place in V
...more
Mary
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Some time has passed in Dance since the last installment and we find our original cast members in their fifties. The novel opens up in Venice at a writers conference where we meet Glober and Gwinnet, two Americans who feature throughout the novel. Gwinnet helps us recall Trapnel, and we find out his fate to and extent and both return to us the great Pamela Widermerpool mythos. By the second half, it is clear that the Widmerpools have a central role to play. Neither Widmerpool manages to polish t ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
A Dance to the Mu...: January 2019: Temporary Kings 3 10 Jan 25, 2019 09:14PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Missing book cover 2 11 Jul 12, 2014 04:11AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time
  • The Soul of Kindness
  • Invitation To The Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time
  • One of Ours
  • Offshore
  • Highfire
  • Girl, Woman, Other
  • The Eye in the Door (Regeneration, #2)
  • Loitering with Intent
  • The Small House at Allington (Chronicles of Barsetshire #5)
  • I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon
  • Five Days Gone: The Mystery of My Mother's Disappearance as a Child
  • Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan
  • The Improv: An Oral History of the Comedy Club that Revolutionized Stand-Up
  • Forgotten Land: Journeys Among the Ghosts of East Prussia
  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
  • Topics of Conversation
  • Airhead: The Imperfect Art of Making News
See similar books…
240 followers
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)

News & Interviews

The must-read summer beach book is a kind of American tradition. The crash of the waves. The glare of the sun. The sand in the pages. Is t...
55 likes · 34 comments
“Where, as again Vaughan writes, the liberated soul ascends, looking at the sunset towards the west wind, and hearing secret harmonies.” 6 likes
“Later that night mutual approval took physical expression.” 3 likes
More quotes…