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The Acceptance World

(A Dance to the Music of Time #3)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  909 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Set in the Great Depression of 1931-32. The Acceptance World invites us once again to join Nicholas Jenkins and his friends in their dance to the music of time.
214 pages
Published 1955 by Farrar, Straus, and Cudahy
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Violet wells
Jul 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Anthony Powell still coming across as a crusty old Tory. And the Proust comparisons are ever more hyperbolically offbeat. I still think he's much more like an inferior Evelyn Waugh. One thing I hate in life is not hearing the end of stories, but Powell hasn't convinced me his story is worth another eight volumes of my time so I'm giving this up even though I am curious what happens to his narrator and Jean.


With the third period of the Dance, we track the configuration of stronger connections. The complex web formed by love affairs, marriages, work associations and cousin-ships continues to spin itself—along time. Just as it happens in life. Fittingly, Powell writes:

..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 kind of person one chances to be.

If on the secon
Vit Babenco
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Occult sciences unexpectedly work, all the commotion round about arts is mostly futile and politics is a sheer caricature…
And only love reigns over everybody – a whole lot of love that is somewhat on the bittersweet side.
There is always a real and an imaginary person you are in love with; sometimes you love one best, sometimes the other.

You are ready to be accepted by the world. But is the world ready to accept you?
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is the third volume in the twelve novel, “Dance to the Music of Time.” The books are organised in terms of the seasons and so the first three novels are the Spring of our narrator’s life, consisting of A Question of Upbringing, A Buyer’s Market and The Acceptance World. This novel is set in 1931 and follows many of the characters we have already become fond of, as well as some new introductions.

At the end of A Buyer’s Market, we found Nick Jenkins feeling slightly dissatisfied with his lif
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
The spring of love becomes hidden and soon filled up.
-- Max Muller


"Emotional crises always promote the urgent need for executive action, so that the times when we most hope to be free from the practical administration of life are always those when the need to cope with the concrete world is more than ever necessary"
-- Anthony Powell, The Acceptance World

There is something amazing about Powell's attempt to gather the passage of time, the progression of life, the dynamic of relationships over 12 n
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

... But what is the Acceptance World?
If you have goods to sell to a firm in Bolivia, you probably do not touch your money in the ordinary way until the stuff arrives there. Certain houses, therefore, are prepared to 'accept' the debt. They will advance you the money on the strength of your reputation. It is all right when the going is good, but sooner or later you are tempted to plunge. Then there is an alteration in the value of the Bolivian exchange, or a revolution, or perhaps the firm
Connie G
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anthony Powell's third book in his lovely "A Dance to the Music of Time" series is set in Great Britain in the early 1930s. Below the surface the Great Depression looms, and some of the characters are involved in leftist organizations and workers' marches. Nick, who works for a publisher of art books, drops names of artists into conversations and the Impressionists are being mentioned more now. The introduction of the fortune teller Myra Erdleigh, and a seance using a planchette adds an interest ...more
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Diane Barnes
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'll give this third book in the 12 part series another 4 stars, but the entire 3 books in this volume would rate a 5. It takes us from school days and through their twenties of Nick Jenkins and his school mates. I feel as if I know them all quite well now, and care about the rest of their lives. This finishes the Spring portion of The Dance of Time.
Katie Lumsden
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
I just adore this series, the slow episodic twisting and turning, the rich characterisation, the elegant writing and philosophical discussions - what a book!
Jul 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Anthony Powell changed his writing style between books 2 and 3 of "A Dance to the Music of Time". Having got used to those long and convoluted sentences to be found in the first two books, I found they had shortened somewhat in the third volume, "The Acceptance World". Whether this is because he was writing about the thirties and felt the need to pare things down a bit, or because his editor told him to do so, I must admit that this volume was easier to read.

Curiously, there were only a couple
Cynthia Dunn
My favorite of the first three.
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a master of the big scene Powell is. Not scenes of huge energy with violence and things being destroyed (such as occur in Dickens' historical novels, for instance), but long scenes about people sharing time together, often at meals. There are quite a lot of meals of some sort or other in this book (probably in the previous two as well, but I don't remember them so vividly there: I think parties were a bigger focus in A Buyer's Market.

Towards the end of this book the three characters who are
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Here we find Nicholas starting to blossom as a writer and as an employee of a publishing firm, and also as a person, with his first full blown love story. What has struck me so far is what to me comes across as Nicholas' detachment from most of what is happening around him. Even in his love affair I could not detect much tension between him and his beau. But maybe one should not get too hang up on this, after all Nicholas is a mouthpiece for the times he is living through - indeed there is scarc ...more
This is book 3 of 12 in the "A Dance to the Music of Time series", written in the period of 1951-1975. Nick Jenkins continues the narration of his life and encounters with friends and acquaintances in London, between 1931 and 1933.

This third book was written in 1955.

4* A Question of Upbringing (A Dance to the Music of Time, #1)
4* A Buyer's Market (A Dance to the Music of Time #2)
4* The Acceptance World (A Dance to the Music of Time, #3)
TR At Lady Molly's (A Dance to the Music of Time, #4)
Tom Ewing
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The main storyline of The Acceptance World - the narrator's love affair with a married woman - makes it one of the few parts of the novel sequence where his own story takes centre stage. That doesn't make 'our hero' much more forthcoming. Most of the cast of couples that forms and parts through the book are subject to much speculation around the motives of attraction, while the progress of his own relationship is told across brief, sketched vignettes - he and his lover are hardly ever alone toge ...more
Lars Guthrie
Apr 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable. More a 4.5 star book. After book 3 in the series, I am starting to feel like I am with old friends and acquaintances. Just as in life, I enjoy some of them and get very frustrated with others. My guess is that I am going to get more and more involved and care more about the characters as I continue the series.
Powell’s characters, now in their twenties, invest in loves and careers not knowing if it’ll pay out.
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More of the same, which is mostly a good thing.

This is round three (3) in Powell's extraordinary period piece, which, thankfully, the University of Chicago has brought to the world of Kindles and e-readers.

As literary fiction - and, frankly, historical fiction - goes, I'm enjoying it immensely, although I'm far more taken with the whole (the story line, the slow evolution, the maturation of the characters, the relentless march of time) than any of the individual volumes (which, alas, are probabl
Marius van Blerck
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.

David Mcangus
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Renee M
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm having such a wonderful time on this journey through the Dance series. Having finished the third book, I feel thoroughly drawn into Nick's world; happy to visit with friends and acquaintances as they whirl in and out of his immediate experience. Although, I suspect I'm going to reread the whole thing again in order to truly appreciate not only the characters, but the commentary on the times in which they live. There's just so much to take in! Not that I'm complaining. I definitely feel immer ...more
I think—typical me that after 61 readings I can still be uncertain—this is the last time in the sequence that we see Jenkins, Templer, Stringham, and Widmerpool in the one setting. Ever more moved by Chapter 5 in which the colossal rearrangement of the universe occurs and Widmerpool becomes the agent to Stringham’s alcoholic patient. Together with Chapter 3 of Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant, the end of TAW explores Stringham’s alcoholism in dark, sympathetic, judgmental, open-minded, furious, cal ...more
This was the 3rd installment of Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time. The theme of this volume is the uneven pace at which characters mature. I loved this quote from the book, "People can only be themselves, if they possessed the qualities you desire in them, they would be different people." I found this novel very entertaining and look forward to reading the next installment.
My introduction to Powell, all those years ago. Still a favourite within the Dance sequence.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-classics
I wish I knew more about quantum mechanics to explain what I think about this. Our narrator Nick is at once both living through the events of the novel and looking back on them. Most clearly this is shown in the case of his love affair with Jean Templer. He is in love with her (and explains the state of being in love with the feeling of a tender exploration) but also somehow aware that their time together will end; and it is the combination of him living both 'in the moment' and in retrospect wh ...more
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A Dance to the Mu...: May 2018: The Acceptance World 5 14 May 22, 2018 10:54PM  
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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)
  • 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)
  • Temporary Kings (A Dance to the Music of Time, #11)

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