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A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement Paperback – May 31, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: Dance to the Music of Time
  • Paperback: 732 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (May 31, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226677141
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226677149
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Powell's epic of 20th-century England is actually composed of 12 novels divided into four "movements," although they can be read individually as separate works. The novels were originally published from the 1950s through the 1970s.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Twelve-volume series of novels by Anthony Powell, published from 1951 to 1975. The series--which includes 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 Military Philosophers (1968), Books Do Furnish a Room (1971), Temporary Kings (1973), and Hearing Secret Harmonies (1975)--traces events in the lives of a number of characters from Britain's upper classes and bohemia, following them from adolescence in the 1920s to senescence in the 1970s. Powell found inspiration for the title and form of his opus in Nicolas Poussin's painting "A Dance to the Music of Time," which depicts the Four Seasons dancing to music played by Father Time. The novels focus on social behavior; all characters are dealt with objectively, as they would wish to appear to outside observers. Personality and motivation are revealed through minute and subtle analysis of disconnected incidents. Nicholas Jenkins, a nonparticipant who is secure in his own values, narrates much of the action of people obsessed with power, style, creativity, and public image. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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And what a cast of characters.
Frank J. O'Connor
This volume contains the first three novels of Anthony Powell's masterpiece, A Dance to the Music of Time.
Michael Henle
This is a stunning series and I look forward to reading on.
S Riaz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Frank J. O'Connor on March 19, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once in a while you get the foolish idea to embark on a vast reading experience (Remembrance of Thing Past sits on my shelf unread and unreadable--by me, anyway). Well, recently I ordered the four-volume, twelve novel elegant U. of Chicago edition of this Powell classic and have spent the past five weeks luxuriating in the music wafting from its nearly 3,000 pages of polished prose, intricate and elaborate plotting and acute psychological appreciation of the human character. And what a cast of characters. Powell must rival Dickens in his capacity to invent delightfully eccentric and scene-stealing minor characters---Uncle Giles, Trewalney, Umfraville, Erridge and his besotted butler among so many others. My own favorites are Mrs. Erdleigh ("hearing secret harmonies" in both this life and the next), Teddy Jeavons, and the heartbreaking Gwatkin. And looming over all the megomaniacal Widmerpool (ably assisted by his horror of a wife in the latter novels), as morbidly fascinating as a car wreck, who gives the magnum opus its unity. And don't believe any nonsense about the epic losing its power in the post-WWII novels. Powell may have the conservative's disdain for the radicalism of the sixties, but Scorpio is delineated with fairness and vigor, and the Quiggen twins are a hoot. I did not think I would ever ever again encounter a serial reading experience as delightful as Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels but "Dance"-- for sheer enjoyment, delight, and intelligence---has been the reading pleasure of a lifetime. "The Vision of visions heals the blindness of sight." Yes.
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107 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
First, although I adore this series, I would like to demur from the description of this series as a comedy. Certainly there are many comic situations and laughable characters, but Powell's (pronounced POE-UHL, not POW-UHL) comedy is intended less to make uslaugh than to make ussmile. I know many novels that are far funnier than this one, and if that were the book's only virtue, it would not enjoy the status that it does.
Above all, this is a work that limns in almost tedious detail the interrelations and interworkings of a segment of English society in the 20th century. These first three books take you from the early twenties into the early thirties. Despite the series great length, there is nothing epic about the scale of the novels except for the overall length of of the series as a whole. The scenes are all horribly mundane. A party here, a dinner there, a chance meeting in a bar, more parties, more dinners. But as the parties and dinners multiply, and as one social encounter builds upon another, the series does indeed take on an epic quality.
This new edition is far more attractive than the old mass market edition of the series, but I do wish that someone would have taken the effort to supply an appendix (perhaps to the final volume) that would (as in some editions of Trollope and Proust) explain who all the characters are and to whom they are related. By the sixth volume in the series, I began to find it extremely difficult to remember precisely where each character fit in the social world as a whole.
The greatest virtues of Powell's series are his richly delineated characters (of which there are at least fifty to a hundred who are to some degree significant) and his marvelously elegant prose. I believe that anyone who loves novels would love this series, in particular those who have enjoyed Proust.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on July 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
_A Dance to the Music of Time_ is an extremely absorbing and well-crafted novel (composed of 12 smaller novels). Its subject is the decline of the English upper classes from the First World War to about 1970, a decline seen is inevitable and probably necessary, but somehow also regrettable.
Such a description might make the novel seem stuffy, but it is not. _A Dance to the Music of Time_ is at times very funny indeed, and always interesting. always involving. It features an enormous cast of characters, and Powell has the remarkable ability to make his characters memorable with the briefest of descriptions. In addition, Powell's prose is addictive: very characteristic, idiosyncratic, and elegant.
The long novel follows the life of the narrator, Nicholas Jenkins, from his time at Eton just after World War I to retirement in the English countryside in the late '60s. But Jenkins, though the narrator, is in many ways not the most important character. The comic villain Widmerpool, a creature of pure will, and awkward malevolence, is the other fulcrum around which the novel pivots.
This first volume of the University of Chicago Press' beautiful four-volume Trade Paperback edition contains the first three books: _A Question of Upbringing_, which follows Nick Jenkins and his friends Charles Stringham and Peter Templer, along with Kenneth Widmerpool, through the last few terms at Eton, and summer spent in France, and then time at Oxford; _A Buyer's Market_, which covers Nick and his friends in their early 20s, attending dances and dinners, having love affairs, and beginning to make careers; and _The Acceptance World_, which shows the young men becoming settled in their careers, and beginning to marry and divorce and have more affairs as their "dance" continues.
This is simply outstanding stuff.
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