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Dance to the Music of Time (Powell)

A Dance to the Music of Time: Movements I-IV
Anthony Powell, 1951-1975
University of Chicago Press
pages (see below.)


Summary
Anthony Powell's universally acclaimed epic encompasses a four-volume panorama of twentieth century London. Considered a masterpiece of modern fiction, Powell's epic creates a rich panorama of life in England between the wars. Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times."

1st Movement (214 pp.; ISBN-13: 9780226677149)
Opens just after World War I. Four very different young men on the threshold of manhood dominate this opening volume of A Dance to the Music of Time. The narrator, Jenkins—a budding writer—shares a room with Templer, already a passionate womanizer, and Stringham, aristocratic and reckless. Widermerpool, as hopelessly awkward as he is intensely ambitious, lurks on the periphery of their world. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, these four gain their initiations into sex, society, business, and art.

Includes these novels (written, 1951-55):
—A Question of Upbringing
A Buyer's Market
The Acceptance

2nd Movement (724 pp.; ISBN-13: 9780226677163)
Set in London, where in the background the rumble of distant events in Germany and Spain presages the storm of World War II. Even as the whirl of marriages and adulteries, fashions and frivolities, personal triumphs and failures gathers speed, men and women find themselves on the brink of fateful choices. These books "provide an unsurpassed picture, at once gay and melancholy, of social and artistic life in Britain between the wars" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.).

Includes these novels (written, 1957-62):
At Lady Molly's
Casanova's Chinese Restaurant
The Kindly Ones

3rd Movement (736 pp.; ISBN-13: 9780226677170)
Follows Nick into army life and evokes London during the blitz. We again meet Widmerpool, doggedly rising in rank; Jenkins, shifted from one dismal army post to another; Stringham, heroically emerging from alcoholism; Templer, still on his eternal sexual quest. Here, too, we are introduced to Pamela Flitton, one of the most beautiful and dangerous women in modern fiction. Wickedly barbed in its wit, uncanny in its seismographic recording of human emotions and social currents, this saga stands as an unsurpassed rendering of England's finest yet most costly hour.

Includes these novels (written, 1964-68):
The Valley of Bones
The Soldier's Art
The Military Philosophers

4th Movement (804 pp.; ISBN-13: 9780226677187)
The climactic volume of A Dance to the Music of Time, in which England has won the war and must now count the losses—physical and moral. Nick Jenkins describes a world of ambition, intrigue, and dissolution. Pamela Widmerpool sets a snare for the young writer Trapnel, while her husband suffers private agony and public humiliation. Set against a background of politics, business, high society, and the counterculture in England and Europe, this magnificent work of art sounds an unforgettable requiem for an age.

Includes these novels (written, 1971-75):
Books Do Furnish a Room
Temporary Kings
Hearing Secret Harmonies

(Adapted from publisher




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