Felsenmusick - The Weblog of Daniel Felsenfeld
The Web Log of a Certain Daniel Felsenfeld: Composer, critic, avid reader, aspiring
bon vivant, capricorn, shadowy figure, advice for the lovelorn

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Happy 100th, Mr. Powell


Today, December 21, novelist Anthony Powell would have been 100. His epoch-making work Dance to the Music of Time, a novel detailing the viccisitudes of war-ravaged England through the lens of a single character's entire adult life earned him the reputation of being the British Proust, by all means well deserved. But what he did in this twelve book cycle, a sort of Anglo-Verismo Recherce, is breathtaking not merely for its trenchant observations on humanity but for its deadpan, P.G. Wodehouse-style humor. One line I will never forget is the hysterically droll, bitch quip: "He sat over his double vermouth with an air of slighted genius." Brilliant. Who among us has not seen someone do this in company?

I will say no more. Just go read it: these books occupied me for a month this year, and had me giggling, sighing, pondering, and constantly reaching for the next one. Not better than Proust, no worse, just different and equally special.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Marc Geelhoed said...

You got thru those books in a month? 'Mazing! Saving those for retirement or some other open-ended period of idleness.

8:07 AM  
Blogger R J Keefe said...

This reminded me - as mention of Powell nearly always does - of what A N Wilson wrote of the Emperor Augustus: that he was the Widmerpool of Ancient Rome. (This occurs either in the book about Jesus or the one about Paul.)

6:20 PM  

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