Advertisement

Abstract

A Dance to the Music of Time has been repeatedly castigated for its alleged incoherence, for its chaotic nature. Powell has not been spared the criticism he himself expressed about John Aubrey’s Brief Lives: ‘There, loosely woven together, is a kind of tapestry of the good and evil, the ingenuity and the folly, the integrity and the hypocrisy, the eccentricity, the melancholy, and the greatness of the English race.’1 This torrential description of an all-encompassing subject-matter might apply to perfection to Powell’s magnum opus which can equally easily accommodate quotations from Proust or Robert Burton, night-club songs from the 1920s, Welsh hymns or bouts of gossip, which is likewise fascinated by human oddities, which relishes gossip and collects anecdotes. If we bear in mind the long debate on the art of fiction which opposed Henry James to H. G. Wells between 1911 and 1915, there can be no doubt that Powell’s series follows the principle of ‘saturation’2 advocated by Wells rather than that of ‘selection’.3 Wells championed a novel of amplification, exhaustive, abundant, freed from too rigid and cramping requirements and capable of developing according to a ‘lax freedom of form, [a] rambling discursiveness, [a] right to roam’.4 It is indubitable that, in its panoramic scope, A Dance to the Music of Time partakes of the ‘omnibus novel’, that it is very much in the tradition of the ‘loose and baggy monster’.

Keywords

Jigsaw Puzzle Involuntary Memory Human Oddity Torrential Description Gallant Behaviour 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    John Aubrey, Brief Lives, quoted by Anthony Powell in John Aubrey and His Friends (Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1948), p. 13.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Henry James, ‘The Younger Generation’ in Henry James and H. G. Wells, a Record of Their Friendship, Their Debate on the Art of Fiction and Their Quarrel, ed. Leon Edel and Gordon N. Ray (Rupert Hart Davis, 1958), p. 180.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    The Collected Poems of W. H. Auden, ‘Letter to Lord Byron’, ed. Edward Mendelson (New York: Random House, 1976), p. 79. Google Scholar
  4. 24.
    Evelyn Waugh, Autobiography: A Little Learning (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1973), p. 193.Google Scholar
  5. 25.
    Quoted by Richard Boston, ‘A Talk with Anthony Powell’, New York Times Book Review, (9 March 1969), pp. 2–36 (p. 2).Google Scholar
  6. 32.
    Quoted by William H. Pritchard, ‘Anthony Powell’s Gift’, The Hudson Review, 37, no. 3 (1984), pp. 363–75 (p. 366).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 48.
    William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (Arden Shakespeare, Methuen, 1981), Act IV, scene 14, line 14.Google Scholar
  8. 57.
    Charles Baudelaire,’L’invitation au voyage’ in Les fleurs du mal (Paris: Gallimard, 1976), p. 53. There, there is nothing else but grace and measure Richness, quietness and pleasure Baudelaire, ‘Invitation to the Voyage’ in Flowers of Evil, selected and ed. by Marthiel and Jackson Mathews, trans. Richard Wilbur, Routledge & Kegan Pau1,1955, p. 68.Google Scholar
  9. 59.
    George Orwell, review of Malcolm Muggeridge’s The Thirties, in New English Weekly (25 April 1940). Reprinted in Vol. 1 of The Collected Essays, p. 534.Google Scholar
  10. 66.
    José Ortega y Gasset, quoted by Thomas McFarland in Romanticism and the Forms of Ruin Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), p. 5.Google Scholar
  11. 68.
    Walter Pater, Plato and Platonism (Macmillan, 1910), p. 188.Google Scholar
  12. 70.
    Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Œdipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane (New York: Viking Press, 1977), p. 42.Google Scholar
  13. 76.
    Stéphane Mallarmé, ‘The Demon of Analogy’ in Selected Prose Poems, Essays and Letters, trans. with an introduction by Bradford Cook (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1956), p. 2.Google Scholar
  14. 77.
    E. M. Forster, epigraph to Howard’s End (Edward Arnold, 1951).Google Scholar
  15. 79.
    Georges Pérec, Life: A Users Manual, trans. David Bellos (Collins Harvill, 1988), p. XV-XVII.Google Scholar
  16. 99.
    Arthur Mizener, ‘A Dance to the Music of Time: the Novels of Anthony Powell’, Kenyon Review, 22 (1960), pp. 79–92 (p. 82).Google Scholar
  17. 100.
    Matthew Arnold, ‘Hebraism and Hellenism’ in Culture and Anarchy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1932), p. 130.Google Scholar
  18. 105.
    Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point (Grafton Books, 1988), p. 29.Google Scholar
  19. 118.
    Lawrence Durrell, A Key to Modern British Poetry (Peter Nevill, 1952) p. 31.Google Scholar
  20. 138.
    Evelyn Waugh, Vile Bodies (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1982), p. 200.Google Scholar
  21. 142.
    T. S. Eliot, ‘Ulysses, Order and Myth’ The Dial, LXXV, 5 (November 1923).Google Scholar
  22. 145.
    Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc abc, translated by Sam Weber, Glyph 2 Supplement (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977), p. 34.Google Scholar
  23. 147.
    ‘Letter to Helen Corke’ (1 February 1912) in The Collected Letters of D. H. Lawrence, ed. Harry T. Moore, 2 vols (Heinemann, 1962), I: p. 98. Google Scholar
  24. 150.
    John Dryden, Of Dramatic Poesy, edited by George Watson, 2 vols (Everyman’s Library, Dent, 1962), Vol. 1, p. 61.Google Scholar
  25. 151.
    Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966), p. 148.Google Scholar
  26. 152.
    Gustave Flaubert, Correspondance, 13 vols (Louis Conard, Paris, 1926–33), II, p. 239. ‘Wanting to conclude is sheer stupidity.’Google Scholar
  27. 153.
    Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference (1967), trans. by Alan Brass (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978), p. 156.Google Scholar
  28. 154.
    See Didier Anzieu, Le corps de l’œeuvre (Gallimard, Paris, 1981), p. 133.Google Scholar
  29. 156.
    Aristotle, Poetics, Translated by S. H. BaskerVille (New York: Hill & Waang, 1961), p. 65.Google Scholar
  30. 165.
    Roland Barthes, ‘The Death of the Author’ in Image, Music, Text, translated by Stephen Heath (Fontana, 1984), p. 148.Google Scholar
  31. 166.
    Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982), p. 108.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Isabelle Joyau 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabelle Joyau
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Paris III — Sorbonne NouvelleFrance

Personalised recommendations