Books Do Furnish a Room
Books Do Furnish a Room is a novel by Anthony Powell, the tenth in the twelve-novel sequence A Dance to the Music of Time. It was first published in 1971 and, like the other volumes, remains in print; the book conveys the atmosphere of post-war austerity in which the characters attempt to resume life before the interruption of the conflict. Jenkins returns to his old university library during the vacation in the Winter of 1945–46 to undertake research for a book about Robert Burton, he goes to see Sillery, who has Ada Leintwardine. Quiggin is starting a literary magazine called Fission, to be funded by Erridge... except that Erridge dies suddenly. Erridge's funeral at Thrubworth is disturbed by the late arrival of the Widmerpools, Sir Howard & Lady Craggs. Pamela Widmerpool causes a disturbance by leaving during the service. At Thrubworth Park Jenkins describes Erridge's library. Jenkins is invited by Quiggin to join the staff of Fission. At the party to launch Fission, Nick first meets the importunate novelist X Trapnel.
Early the following year there are problems at Quiggin & Craggs. Trapnel has become infatuated with Pamela. Jenkins, dining with MP Roddy Cutts at the House of Commons, meets Widmerpool. All three go to Widmerpool's flat; some time Jenkins visits Trapnel and Pamela at their seedy flat and while there Widmerpool arrives to confront the adulterers. In the year Pamela leaves Trapnel and in doing so throws the precious manuscript of his novel into the nearby canal. On a visit to his old school, Jenkins meets the reunited Widmerpools. Adapted in part from material published by the Anthony Powell Society with consent
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The Acceptance World
The Acceptance World is the third book of Anthony Powell's twelve novel sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time. Nick Jenkins continues the narration of his life and encounters with friends and acquaintances in London, between 1931 and 1933. Nick meets Uncle Giles for tea at the Ufford Hotel and is introduced to the clairvoyant Mrs. Erdleigh, who tells their fortunes. Jenkins arranges to meet Mark Members at the Ritz but the appointment is kept by J. G. Quiggin, who has replaced Members as secretary to the novelist St. John Clarke. Quiggin has to leave due to concerns over his master. Mrs. Erdleigh is there with Jimmy Stripling in tow and presides over a seance. In spring 1933, Nick spends a day in encounters with Quiggin and Members; this includes a Memorial Exhibition for the artist Horace Isbister and a demonstration led by St. John Clarke, wheeled in his chair by Quiggin and Mona. There follow encounters with Jean and a visit to Foppa's restaurant, where Nick and Jean unexpectedly meet Barnby and Anne Stepney.
Dicky Umfraville is there. The group goes to Mrs. Andriadis' home and there meet Werner Guggenbuhl. Summer 1933 sees Jenkins, Templer and Widmerpool at the Le Bas dinner for Old Boys, at the Ritz. Stringham arrives the worse for drink and Widmerpool makes an uninvited and pompous speech, silenced only by Le Bas collapsing with a stroke. Widmerpool and Jenkins take the drunken Stringham home to bed; the book ends with intimations of an end to Nick's affair with Jean. Adapted in part from material published by the Anthony Powell Society with consent
Hearing Secret Harmonies
Hearing Secret Harmonies is the final novel in Anthony Powell's twelve-volume series, A Dance to the Music of Time. It was published in 1975 twenty-four years after the first book, A Question of Upbringing, appeared in 1951
Anthony Dymoke Powell was an English novelist best known for his twelve-volume work A Dance to the Music of Time, published between 1951 and 1975. Powell's major work has remained in print continuously and has been the subject of TV and radio dramatisations. In 2008, The Times newspaper named Powell among their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Powell was born in Westminster, the son of Philip Lionel William Powell and Maud Mary Wells-Dymoke, his father was an officer in the Welsh Regiment, while his mother came from a land-owning family in Lincolnshire. Because of his father's career and the First World War, the family moved several times, mother and son sometimes lived apart from Powell's father. Powell attended Gibbs's pre-prep day-school for a brief time, he was sent to New Beacon School near Sevenoaks, popular with military families. Early in 1919, Powell passed the Common Entrance Examination for Eton. There he made a friend of a fellow pupil, Henry Yorke to become known as the novelist Henry Green.
At Eton, Powell spent much of his spare time at the Studio, where a sympathetic art master encouraged him to develop his talent as a draughtsman and his interest in the visual arts. In 1922 he became a founding member of the Eton Society of Arts; the Society's members produced. In the autumn of 1923, Powell went up to Oxford. Soon after his arrival he was introduced to the Hypocrites' Club. Outside that club he came to know Maurice Bowra a young don at Wadham College. During his third year Powell lived out of college. Powell travelled on the Continent during his holidays, he was awarded a third-class degree at the end of his academic years. Upon his arrival in London, after Oxford, part of Powell's social life centred around attendance at formal debutante dances at houses in Mayfair and Belgravia, he renewed acquaintance with Evelyn Waugh, whom he had known at Oxford, was a frequent guest for Sunday supper at Waugh's parents' house. Waugh introduced him to the Gargoyle Club, he got to know the painters Nina Hamnett and Adrian Daintrey, who were neighbours in Fitzrovia, the composer Constant Lambert, who remained a good friend until Lambert's death in 1951.
In 1934 he married Lady Violet Pakenham. Powell was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1956, in 1973 he declined an offer of knighthood, he was appointed Companion of Honour in 1988. He served as a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery from 1962 to 1976. With Lady Violet, he travelled to the United States, Guatemala and Greece. Anthony Powell died on 28 March 2000 at his home, The Chantry, west of Frome, Somerset. Powell came to work in London during the autumn of 1926 and lived at various London addresses for the next 25 years, he worked in a form of apprenticeship at the publishers Gerald Duckworth and Company in Covent Garden, leaving their employ in 1932 after protracted negotiations about title and working hours. He next took a job as a script writer at the Warner Brothers Studio in Teddington, where he remained for six months, he made an abortive attempt to find employment in Hollywood as a screenwriter in 1937. He next found work reviewing novels for The Daily Telegraph and memoirs and autobiographies for The Spectator.
Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, Powell was aged 34 and joined the British Army as a Second Lieutenant, making him more than ten years older than most of his fellow subalterns, not at all well prepared for military life and lacking in experience. His superiors found uses for his talents, resulting in a series of transfers that brought him special training courses designed to produce a nucleus of officers to deal with the problems of military government after the Allies had defeated the Axis powers, he secured an assignment with the Intelligence Corps and additional training. His military career continued with a posting to the War Office in Whitehall, where he was attached to the section known as Military Intelligence, for a short time to the Cabinet Office, to serve on the Secretariat of the Joint Intelligence Committee, securing promotions along the way. Returning to Military Intelligence, in the War Office, he had responsibility for dealings with the Czechs with the Belgians and Luxembourgers, still the French.
In November 1944, Powell acted as assistant escorting officer to a group of fourteen Allied military attachés taken to France and Belgium to see something of the campaign. After his demobilisation at the end of the war, writing became his sole career. Despite a holiday trip to the Soviet Union in 1936, he remained unsympathetic to the popular-front, Leftist politics of many of his literary and critical contemporaries. A confirmed Tory, Powell maintained a certain skepticism associating with George Orwell and Malcolm Muggeridge, he was suspicious of inflated rhetoric. Powell married Lady Violet Pakenham, sister of Lord Longford, on 1 December 1934 at All Saints, Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge. Powell and his wife relocated to 1 Chester Gate in Regent's Park, where they remained for seventeen years, their first son, was born in April 1940, but Powell and his wife spent most of the war years apart, while he served in the Welch Regiment and in the Intelligence Corps. A second son, was born in January 1946.
On 30 April 2018, Powell's granddaughter Georgia Powell married Henry Somerset, 12th Duke of Beaufort. Powell's first novel, Afternoon Men, was published by Duckworth in 1931
At Lady Molly's
At Lady Molly's is the fourth volume in Anthony Powell's twelve-novel sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time. Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize 1957, At Lady Molly's is set in England of the mid-1930s and is a comedy of manners, but in the background, the rise of Hitler and of worldwide Fascism are not ignored; the driving theme of At Lady Molly's is married life. Meanwhile, the career moves of various characters are checked or put on hold; the portrait of the aristocratic Tolland family is sourced in part from Powell's own in-laws, the Pakenhams. Of course you hardly meet intelligent people there... And you see anyone whom I call smart. All the same, you may find anybody at Aunt Molly's.- Chips Lovell It is 1934 and Nick is working, without great success, as a script writer at a film company. He gets invited by Chips Lovell, to a party at the home of Lady Molly Jeavons. There he learns that Widmerpool is to marry the twice widowed, somewhat notorious Mrs. Mildred Haycock. Nick subsequently has to endure having to lunch with Widmerpool and fending-off questions from Widmerpool's prospective in-laws becomes, for Nick, a motif throughout the novel.
Re-encountered at Lady Molly's gathering is old Alfred Tolland. A chance meeting by Nick with Quiggin leads to a surprising and rather mysterious invitation of a weekend visit to the country. Quiggin and Mona Templer are staying in a cottage loaned to them by Erridge. While there, they all visit the Tolland ancestral home, Thrubworth Park, for a frugal but eventful dinner. Just as the meal is finishing two Tolland sisters and Isobel, arrive; some while Nick meets Lady Molly's husband, Ted Jeavons, in a Soho pub and they visit Umfraville's nightclub. They encounter Mrs Haycock and Templer. In Autumn 1934 Jenkins becomes engaged to Isobel. Erridge, wanting to study conditions for himself, goes to China at a time when the Japanese army are undertaking offensive operations. Mona goes with him. Widmerpool's engagement to Mildred Haycock is broken off in farcical and, to most men, crushing circumstances. However, Widmerpool remains undaunted. Adapted in part from material published by the Anthony Powell Society with consent Tariq Ali, in what is a defence of Powell and his work, doesn't comment about At Lady Molly's in particular but writes of A Dance to the Music of Time, "By the time he came to write the Dance, Powell's style had become antique, baroque – and that lifted the comedy to a much higher level than one finds in the early novels."
Powell's early novels are described as witty whereas the "Dance" books are of a higher order because the style "had become much more reflective." Ali remarked in the same article, "Coincidence plays an important part in the characters' many encounters. Yet, structured as art, the coincidences build up into a greater patterning."Auberon Waugh took exception to this reflective style complaining of the number of clauses in some of Powell's sentences and attacking the use of "the diffident double-negative" as well as the "'elegant' or dissociative inverted comma." He dismissed A Dance to the Music of Time, At Lady Molly's not excepted, with: "As an early upmarket soap opera, it undoubtedly gave comfort to a number of people, becoming something of a cult during the 1970s in the London community of expatriate Australians. It afforded them the illusion of understanding English society a vicarious sense of belonging to it. If so, it was one of the cruellest practical jokes played by a Welshman." These remarks appeared in a piece by Auberon Waugh in the Sunday Telegraph 27 May 1990, "Judgment on a Major man of letters".
One such expatriate Australians Clive James, has been quoted as holding the opinion that "The Dance...was the greatest modern novel in English since Ulysses." Norman Shrapnel, in making a comparative literary point, at the same time attacks the "soap opera" idea, with the judgement: "He lacks what Amis and most of the English humorists have possessed – sentimentality. That would have destroyed the work."—sentimentality being the bedrock of the soap opera genre. General Aylmer Conyers. Known immemorially to the Jenkins family. Distant relation to Nick's mother. Disliked by Uncle Giles who regarded the General as Inclined to think a good deal of himself and that he always knew the right people to further his career. A few years short of eighty and prospective brother-in-law to Widmerpool. Retired from the Army around his early Fifties, shortly after getting married to Bertha Blaides. Busies himself training Poodles to be gun dogs, learning the Cello, reading the latest literary fiction - and studying psycho-analysis.
Diagnoses Widmerpool as an intuitive extrovert... a classic case and Nick as an introvert. Conyers is a member of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms. Mrs. Bertha Conyers. Older sister of Mildred Haycock. A generation younger than her husband, General Conyers, they have Charlotte -- a rather colourless girl who marries a Naval officer in Malta. Bertha herself was one of six daughters of the late and not much lamented Lord Vowchurch, a rather grim practic
The Valley of Bones
The Valley of Bones is the seventh novel in Anthony Powell's twelve-volume series A Dance to the Music of Time. Published in 1964, it is the first of the war trilogy. Early in 1940 Nick Jenkins joins his regiment in Wales as a second lieutenant; the reader is introduced to his commanding officer, the officious Captain Gwatkin, the alcoholic Lieutenant Bithel. The battalion is moved to Northern Ireland where Gwatkin disastrously muddles instructions during an exercise and there is a snap inspection by General Liddament. En route to a training course at Aldershot Nick makes friends with David Pennistone. At Aldershot, Jenkins meets Odo Stevens and Jimmy Brent, who gives an account of his affair with Jean Templer. Stevens gives Nick a lift to spend weekend leave at Frederica Budd's house, where his wife Isobel, Robert Tolland and Priscilla are all staying. Robert Tolland's leave is cancelled. Meanwhile Stevens has made a hit with Priscilla. On rejoining his regiment at Castlemallock, Nick finds Gwatkin in unrequited passion for a barmaid, engaged in a running battle with the preposterous Bithel.
Jenkins is instructed to report to the DAAG at Divisional HQ. Adapted in part from material published by the Anthony Powell Society with consent