2016: A Dance to the Music of Time discussion

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4th Movement > {November} Temporary Kings

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message 1: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 49 comments Mod
For discussion or comments about book eleven...


message 2: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb "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 long standing characters reappear. Despite the familiarity of so many of these characters, Powell still manages to provide surprises, along with new insights. The late X Trapnell even managing to retain a presence throughout much of this book too.

Having created the magical world of this literary masterpiece, which shines a light on relationships, personal values and social history, I cannot wait to discover how Powell wraps the saga up.

Finishing the twelfth and final volume, Hearing Secret Harmonies, will be a bittersweet moment. This has been one of the most enjoyable literary journeys I have experienced.


message 3: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 38 comments I can't wait to start reading. This has been a terrific experience.


message 4: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments It may just be me, but I'm halfway through chapter two and I'm finding it quite dull. I may leave it a week or so and come back to it but, then again, I may plough on.


message 5: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments Hope to begin soon.


message 6: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Jonathan wrote: "It may just be me, but I'm halfway through chapter two and I'm finding it quite dull. I may leave it a week or so and come back to it but, then again, I may plough on."

I'm not there yet, but I'm ok so far (almost at the end of Chapter 1).


message 7: by Algernon (Darth Anyan) (last edited Nov 03, 2016 08:50PM) (new)

Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 44 comments I am in the middle of chapter one : not boring, just a bit different with many jumps from present tense to the past and back. Despite the ten years or so interval, there is a sense of continuity by going back to discuss the personality (and the exit from the scene ) of X Trapnel.


message 8: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments Ok, once I got past the conversation over the Tiepolo ceiling things started to pick up again. I tend not to like professional art/literature criticism and I think I was very tired when I was reading it.

Sometimes all the back stories and flashbacks seem to be a bit gratuitous but we will see...

It started to spark again with the arrival of Pamela and then Widmerpool; Powell executes these conversations so well.


message 9: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments Chapter Three is very enjoyable. I had to laugh when we heard about Widmerpool getting struck in the face with a peach, but it's Jenkins's comment that was really funny; after remembering the incident with the banana he mentions:
His face must have a radar-like attraction for fruit.



message 10: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Jonathan wrote: "Ok, once I got past the conversation over the Tiepolo ceiling things started to pick up again. I tend not to like professional art/literature criticism and I think I was very tired when I was readi..."

I enjoyed it -- didn't seem too much to me, but I know what you mean about being tired; also I know what you mean about some of these back stories seeming a bit gratuitous. I especially enjoyed the conversation about the ceiling once Pam got interested in the subject matter!


message 11: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments Re: Ch 5 (I won't reveal anything). I find it amusing how, once again, Nick seems to depart just as the interesting events happen. He must feel that he misses out on everything.


message 12: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes Just started, finished Chapter 1. I wasn't bored, but have trouble relating to the fact that Nick is now solidly middle-aged at 54.


message 13: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments I felt at the end of vol. 10 that it was a natural endpoint of the series. Given that vol.11 takes place in a time (1958-9) after the first four volumes had been published seems to suggest to me that they weren't part of the original plan. But then, I'm not sure just how much Powell had planned at the beginning. This will be something I'd like to find out once I've finished the series.

I've finished Temporary Kings and I'm glad Powell did continue as overall I've enjoyed it. I may go back over chapter 2, which I didn't enjoy at the time, to see if it was just a case of me being 'out of sorts' at the time.


message 14: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments Diane wrote: "Just started, finished Chapter 1. I wasn't bored, but have trouble relating to the fact that Nick is now solidly middle-aged at 54."

At the beginning of chapter 5 Jenkins/Powell has a few things to say about being in his fifties.


message 15: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 38 comments I find it interesting that the Candules/Gyges story is so prominent in this. The first time I heard it was in the English Patient... Then read Herodotus. There's a mystical invisibility ring in one version.


message 16: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments Renee wrote: "I find it interesting that the Candules/Gyges story is so prominent in this. The first time I heard it was in the English Patient... Then read Herodotus. There's a mystical invisibility ring in one..."

I hadn't heard of it before reading this volume. It's discussed right to the end of the book as well.


message 17: by Teresa (last edited Nov 07, 2016 07:57PM) (new)

Teresa Jonathan wrote: "Re: Ch 5 (I won't reveal anything). I find it amusing how, once again, Nick seems to depart just as the interesting events happen. He must feel that he misses out on everything."

I'm not there yet, but that reminds me of how Nick sure did hear a lot of the conversations going on under the Tiepolo ceiling, conversations that didn't include him at all -- his hearing is acute.


message 18: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes Was this a real painting? I can't seem to find it on Google.


message 19: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Diane wrote: "Was this a real painting? I can't seem to find it on Google."

No it isn't.


message 20: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Diane wrote: "Was this a real painting? I can't seem to find it on Google."

"As with several others of Dance’s most evocative works of art (e.g., The Seven Deadly Sins tapestries at Stourwater [BM 199/190]), this one also is Powell’s fiction, a convincing synthesis of art-historical clues and clever plot drivers."

https://picturesinpowell.com/2016/07/...


message 21: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes Thank you, Teresa. That makes me feel better about not being able to find it anywhere. I wish it were though; given the importance of that work to this section of the dance, it would have been nice to have a visual. I finished this afternoon. What a ride this one was! I can't imagine what is in store in the final book.


message 22: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Diane wrote: "Thank you, Teresa. That makes me feel better about not being able to find it anywhere. I wish it were though; given the importance of that work to this section of the dance, it would have been nice..."

On the same page, this is said about 3 real paintings of the same subject matter: "Given these less than compelling alternatives, perhaps Powell was right to simply invent the painting that would combine Tiepolo’s ethereal color, elegant figures, movement-filled stage management and titillating wit..."

I haven't finished yet -- looking forward to seeing what's ahead.


message 23: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments I'm only about 50 pages in, but so far I'm really enjoying this episode quite a lot.


Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 44 comments I finished, and I loved it, but I agree with another reviewer who said there is already a feeling of winding down the story and preparing to say goodbye. The Anatomy of Melancholy is weighting me down.


message 25: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments And to think, we only have a couple of weeks before we start the final volume...phew!


message 26: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments About half way through now. There is that feeling of winding down as the Jenkins' world adapts to the huge socio-political changes after the war...as well as the continuing emotional (can't quite call them love) upheavals and artistic movements.

I will miss this series next year.


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