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Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement [Hardcover]

Anthony Powell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jun 1963
This set encompasses a four-volume panorama of 20th-century London. Opening just after World War I, the volumes go on to evoke London during the blitz and, in the final volume, England after the war.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T) (Jun 1963)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316715352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316715355
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 14.5 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,786,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Incalculaby brilliant." (Time Magazine) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

'One of English fiction's few twentieth-century masterpieces' -John Lanchester, London Review of Books --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An English epic of wartime social history. 23 Mar 1999
By A Customer
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best novels in English 30 Oct 1998
By A Customer
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better and Better 17 Jan 2012
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Another reviewer has compared this to Proust's A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu. I can see the comparison, and judging by the allusions in this volume of the books, Powell was very conscious of it himself. Despite this I find Powell's work much less dense and more readable than Proust. It has an element of Evelyn Waugh style satire about it which lifts it from the morass of worthy literature and allows you to actually enjoy reading the work rather than reading it because it is good for you. In this third volume we get volumes 7,8 and 9 of the twelve volume sequence. I have to say that you absolutely do need to start at the beginning with Powell. You are never going to get anywhere if you think you can start out of sequence. The cast of characters is immense, positively Russian, and you really need to be there from the beginning to enjoy it. I found the first three volumes hard work, and every subsequent volume more of a pleasure to read. These three deal with the main narrator, Nick Jenkins' time during WWII and I loved it, both for the allusions to the war (I love a good war book) and the portrait of London in war time that Powell is so skilled at drawing. I am looking forward now to reading the last three novels in the sequence.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The richest social world I know of in fiction 28 Jan 1999
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived on time and as described. I am very happy
Published 1 month ago by Brendan Price
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling saga of Britishness
I'm only part way through this volume but am on track to complete the Dance within a year; one volume a month.
Published 12 months ago by Helen
3.0 out of 5 stars Just how much upper-class tittle-tattle can the reader take?
Anthony Powell's "A Dance to the Music of Time" runs from the early 1920s to the beginning of the 1970s and consists of 12 volumes in which around 400 characters appear. Read more
Published on 5 July 2012 by John Fitzpatrick
1.0 out of 5 stars Office Politics
The superficial couplings and separations of the supercilious cast continue through the Second World War. Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2008 by Forlornehope
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very finest of postwar novels!
As a longtime reader and reviewer [The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Nation, The New Republic, etc. Read more
Published on 7 Jan 1999
This is really a review of the University of Chicago Press' excellent paperback edition: the cover image is of the French painting that gives the sequence it's title, wittily... Read more
Published on 24 Nov 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars The outstanding English fiction of our time
For me, the most impressive aspect of Anthony Powell's *Dance
to the Music of Time* series is not the hilarious comedy,
not the dazzling style of writing, not even the... Read more
Published on 27 Sep 1996
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