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

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Paperback, 31 May 1995
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Product details

  • Paperback: 734 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (31 May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226677141
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226677149
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 4.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,262,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Anthony Powell's work includes "Miscellaneous Verdicts" and "Under Review," both available from the University of Chicago Press.


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Format: Paperback
For people who like Jane Austen, yet set in more recent times, Anthony Powell's series is worth reading. The story lines are not gripping thrillers, yet one becomes interested in the characters as they drift in and out of the main protagonist's life. I picked up the first `trilogy' in the reissue of Powell's work because I had watched and enjoyed the televisation made by one of the UK's networks. All the reviewers said that the series did not reflect the depth of the books. So I read the books to compare them. I found that the television series mirrored the books very well indeed. The producers had caught the wistfull and distant mood of Nicholas Jenkins well and the dissipation of the upper classes between the two world wars excellently. Do the stories go anywhere? Not in the accepted sense of the word. They exist in a time capsule, for us to observe - a measured dance to the music of time, as so aptly titled. If you are a fan of Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford you will! enjoy Anthony Powell, and if you enjoy these novels yet have not read Waugh and Mitford, try them as well.
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Format: Paperback
I place this work among literary mammoths of our time, including Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past," Durrell's "The Alexandria Quartet" and Henry Williamson's "A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight." My judgment results not merely from this work's great length, but rather in Powell's greatly detailed characters, sprawling plot development and sheer READABILITY. Despite its great length [about 3,000 pages] it still pales in length in comparison to the aforementioned "Chronicle," which at times, plods along and tallies up to approximately 8,000 pages. Bravo to the University of Chicago Press for re-publishing this work in such a beautiful edition, as well. Buy this set and read this wonderful work. You'll enjoy it.
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Format: Paperback
Anthony Powell's 12-novel series is frequently compared to Proust's "Rememberance of Things Past", but the similarity is purely superficial. The Dance is far lighter in tone, but manages to convey the sense of actually living another's life far better than any other novel (or series) I am aware of. The four main protagonists and scores of supporting characters bring to immediate life an England that now exists no more than that of Dickens, only here the change in social structure and personal lives is palpable as the old structures are brought down by the two world wars and the subsequent fall of empire. Powell's linguistic skill is unmatched - both imagery and characterization are faultless. At times ironic or satirical but far more often fondly understated, wistful but never maudlin, this is a series that will bear repeated readings over many years of one's own life. Most highly recommended for lovers of language, or for those who are attracted to the sense of passing years evoked in the best of Thomas Wolfe.
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Format: Paperback
This volume contains the first three novels of Anthony Powell's masterpiece, A Dance to the Music of Time. Powell's work is social comedy in the tradition of Jane Austen and George Meredith. Contemporary writers with whom he is often compared include Marcel Proust and Evelyn Waugh. The 12 short novels of A Dance to the Music of Time give a panoramic picture of English upper-class social life from 1921 to 1971 that is both intensely realistic and amazingly funny. Readers either love Powell's work or can't understand what others see in it. My own opinion is that Dance is the best novel written in the twentieth century. Others share this view: A Dance to the Music of Time is #43 on the recently constructed Random House/Modern Library 100 Best Poll (of twentieth century fiction) and was made into a 4-part miniseries on British television just about a year ago.
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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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