hits counter A Question of Upbringing - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

A Question of Upbringing

Availability: Ready to download

The opening novel in Anthony Powell's brilliant twelve-novel sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time. Discover the extraordinary life of Anthony Powell – captured by acclaimed biographer Hilary Spurling in Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time


Compare

The opening novel in Anthony Powell's brilliant twelve-novel sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time. Discover the extraordinary life of Anthony Powell – captured by acclaimed biographer Hilary Spurling in Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time

30 review for A Question of Upbringing

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Viewed from afar, Anthony Powell’s 167-volume A Dance to the Music of Time appears as one of the Alps of 20th century fiction. You are daunted by its crags. My goodness, a 167-novel sequence stretching over 89 years! It’s some achievement. But when you find yourself in possession of the first volume, a fun-sized 230 pages, disconcerted and relieved, you realise that this is nothing more than a leisurely afternoon stroll through the early years of a young toff and his posh mates, firstly in the l Viewed from afar, Anthony Powell’s 167-volume A Dance to the Music of Time appears as one of the Alps of 20th century fiction. You are daunted by its crags. My goodness, a 167-novel sequence stretching over 89 years! It’s some achievement. But when you find yourself in possession of the first volume, a fun-sized 230 pages, disconcerted and relieved, you realise that this is nothing more than a leisurely afternoon stroll through the early years of a young toff and his posh mates, firstly in the last year of school and then the first year of university. It is no Alp at all. This is familiar territory – Mr Powell is surely Evelyn Waugh’s twin brother. Mr Powell writes ponderous, clausey sentences which have pleasing bends and graceful arcs. He is like a great swan gliding upon the English language, feathers never to be ruffled. The acknowledged musicality of the prose makes this a symphony of snobbery with violins. The song he sings is of the English upper class and how they run everything. How their etiolated scions lounge through school (meaning the fearfully expensive public schools of England, like Eton, where many of the current Tory cabinet were educated), putz around in the colonies patronising the natives and the colonists (you could call it a gap year), then saunter along to put in a spell up at Oxford or Cambridge (there are no other universities for this crowd) until some family acquaintance shimmies them into a middling job in the City. We observe through the eyes of Jenkins three or four of these toffs. At Eton, as 16/17 year olds, they talk pompously and preposterously to each other like this: But my dear Peter, why do you always go about dressed as if you were going to dance up and down a row of naked ladies singing “Dapper Dan was a very handy man” or something equally lyrical? You get more like an advertisement for gents’ tailoring every day. But usually not so entertainingly. The book is in three sections – school, my holiday in France, and my university days. The French episode, lasting 60 pages, brought me close to despair. It was beyond dire. At the French pension various minor characters got to do footling things to each other. Many pages were spent on a tennis match between two Scandinavians. One won by utilising a drop shot which was considered ungentlemanly by the other. I have been more entertained opening unsolicited junk mail. Throughout the novel minor characters swirl in and out, and each get the Powell introductory treatment. …shaking from his round, somewhat pasty face a brownish, uneven fringe that grew low on his forehead and made him look rather like a rag doll, or marionette; an air augmented by brown eyes like beads, and a sprinkling of freckles. His tie, a broad, loose knot, left the collar of his shirt a little open. and The American, Honthorst’s, hair was almost as uncontrolled as that of Members. It stood up on the top of his head like the comb, or crest, of a hoopoe, or cassowary; this bird-like appearance being increased by a long, bare neck, ending in a white collar cut drastically low Well - if I am to suffer through endless introductions to and descriptions of minor characters you will forgive me if I ask if there is likely to be a point to their presence, more than just filling up the room, like furniture. Perhaps the point will be encountered in Book 43 or Book 77 of the series, by more determined readers than I. If so, hapless is the reader of volume one, meeting and greeting one character after another who then does nothing. Jenkins, the narrator, endlessly contemplates the precise class relations and characters of his few acquaintances and their exact degrees of regard for each other It was possible that, in the eyes of Quiggin, money represented some element in which he knew himself deficient : rather in the same way that Widmerpool, when he wanted to criticise Stringham, said that he had too much money; no doubt in truth envying the possession of assets that were, in fact, not material ones. But why all this may be of interest to the reader is not clear. I must confess that the warm appreciation this novel inspires mystifies me. some very funny incidents made me burst out laughing. (Goodreads) It is quite fascinating and, oh, so skillfully crafted, often with dry and understated wit. (Goodreads) A very entertaining and enjoyable read, but not purely fluff and insignificance, as the psychological insights are acute and revealing (Goodreads) Subtle, witty and immensely entertaining. I started to affix post-it notes to mark favourite passages, but there were so many I finally gave this up. (Goodreads) Intensely enjoyable – his dry, ironic descriptions are very funny indeed (The Observer) I would rather read Mr Powell than any English novelist now writing (Kingsley Amis) Tedious and overpraised (Auberon Waugh – oops!) It’s possible that a steady diet of Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Richard Price police procedurals, Cormac McCarthy and true crime has dulled my senses to the point where a series of diffident reflections on the interpersonal relations of several assorted rich British men from the early 1920s fails to completely engage my attention with its subtlety and understated humour. But no – I’ll have none of that - for the most part this was excruciatingly dull. I would like to disembowel Mr Anthony Powell At my wall I would be flinging A Question of Upbringing

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kalliope

    1. -- A QUESTION OF UPBRINGING I am not sure why I am writing a review of this, for I feel only one hour or time period has passed out of the twelve of this Dance. It is too early to say how I will feel as I am dragged along and try to keep my steps in measure. The Dance cannot be evaluated yet and this first walk has not had enough time to developed into a courante either. Nothing much has happened. We are at the infancy of the Dance. Or may be not quite so. It is youth really: Public school, 1. -- A QUESTION OF UPBRINGING I am not sure why I am writing a review of this, for I feel only one hour or time period has passed out of the twelve of this Dance. It is too early to say how I will feel as I am dragged along and try to keep my steps in measure. The Dance cannot be evaluated yet and this first walk has not had enough time to developed into a courante either. Nothing much has happened. We are at the infancy of the Dance. Or may be not quite so. It is youth really: Public school, plus séjour en France, plus Going Up to university. But there is already a plethora of characters that will soon make me hold on to the barre and find support with Invitation To The Dance if I want to keep my reading muscles flexible. What is most extraordinary to me is how strongly I feel the pull when I do not know yet the direction, as if my reading were done in the dark with a series of glowworms as speckles of enigmas paving the path for my feet and eyes to follow and pursue. Premonitions of things to come... and the Dance continues with the beat of those textual riddles.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lizzy

    What did I expect when I start reading Anthony Powell’s A Question of Upbringing? I might have expected a historical fiction, a memoir or even the beginning of an epic story that would capture my attention mercilessly. What I did find was a coming of age story with a beautiful and flowing narration that concentrates on relationships and personalities but with no marked plot. There is no tension, nothing to be solved and therefore no resolution. Was the lack of a plot that failed to attract me? N What did I expect when I start reading Anthony Powell’s A Question of Upbringing? I might have expected a historical fiction, a memoir or even the beginning of an epic story that would capture my attention mercilessly. What I did find was a coming of age story with a beautiful and flowing narration that concentrates on relationships and personalities but with no marked plot. There is no tension, nothing to be solved and therefore no resolution. Was the lack of a plot that failed to attract me? No, I don’t think that was it. I have loved reading many books that lack it. I did keep expecting, it's true, some major event to give a point to the book but it failed to come. Isn't life like that most of the time? Nevertheless, thinking it over, my lack of enthusiasm I imagine was due to the fact that I could not relate to Powell’s characters and could not identify with them. In this first installment of The Dance to the Music of Time we are introduced to Nick Jenkins, Charles Stringham, Peter Templer, and Kenneth Widmerpool. These four young men, schoolmates in public school and later Oxford, will changes as the Powell moves on in time. Despite feeling basically let down, I enjoyed Powell’s prose. From the opening we can envisage the quality of his writing: The image of Time brought thoughts of mortality: of human beings, facing outward like the Seasons, moving hand in hand in intricate measure: stepping slowly, methodically, sometimes a trifle awkwardly, in evolutions that take recognizable shape: or breaking into seemingly meaningless gyrations, while partners disappear only to reappear again, once more giving pattern to the spectacle: unable to control the melody, unable, perhaps, to control the steps of the dance. When telling us about his characters school years, Emotional intensity seemed to meet and mingle with an air of indifference, even of cruelty within these ancient walls. Youth and Time here had made, as it were, some compromise. We start to recognize how Jenkins considers his friends: As I came gradually to know them better, I saw that, in reality, Stringham and Templer provided, in their respective methods of approaching life, patterns of two very distinguishable forms of existence, each of which deserved consideration in the light of its own special peculiarities: both, at the same time, demanding adjustment of a scale of values that was slowly taking coherent shape so far as my own canons of behaviour were concerned. What I especially sensed is how the narrator Jenkins seems to be maturing in front of our eyes, although at times he comes through as exceedingly naive. This certainly is to be expected. When he is contemplating his relationships to his friends: Clearly some complicated process of sorting-out was in progress among those who surrounded me: though only years later did I become aware how early such voluntary segregations begin to develop; and of how they continue throughout life. When Jerkins is sojourning in France, where he meets Widmerpool, again we read how he comments on something that only later would reveal itself to him. It seems Powell is preparing us for later: Later in life, I learned that many things one may require have to be weighed against one’s dignity, which can be an insuperable barrier against advancement in almost any direction. However, in those days, choice between dignity and unsatisfied curiosity, was less clear to me as a cruel decision that had to be made. Or when facing his first romance: …partly at that age I was not yet old enough to be aware of the immense rage that can be secreted in the human heart by cumulative minor irritation. That was when I began to suspect that being in love might be a complicated affair. I was, however, struck by the reflection that undoubted inconvenience was threatened if this apparently recurrent malady of the heart was to repeat itself throughout life, with the almost dizzy reiteration that had now begun to seem unavoidable. The passages above are a taste of why I liked A Question of Upbringing, and the reason for my rating despite my misgivings and lack of deeper feelings for his characters. Powell’s beautiful prose makes reading it a very enjoyable experience. Now to the second volume of his A Dance to the Music of Time, hoping that as his characters mature I will enjoy it better.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Violet wells

    Fabulously old school is how I'd describe this. It's sprinkled with classical allusions and is a stickler for rigorously correct punctuation. Commas abound. Powell reminds me of a kind of clerical Proust. How Proust might have written had he gone to an English public school (and not been such a genius at distilling human sensibility). This is the first part of the epic The Dance of the Music of Time. It's largely a very humorous account of the (public) school life of the narrator. I wasn't sure Fabulously old school is how I'd describe this. It's sprinkled with classical allusions and is a stickler for rigorously correct punctuation. Commas abound. Powell reminds me of a kind of clerical Proust. How Proust might have written had he gone to an English public school (and not been such a genius at distilling human sensibility). This is the first part of the epic The Dance of the Music of Time. It's largely a very humorous account of the (public) school life of the narrator. I wasn't sure when I began that I would want to read Powell's entire vision. But I'm hooked. And I'm keeping this review short until I've finished the entire book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    ... well of course not everyone is going to get it the point is very subtle and grows on you slowly as you progress through it needless to say nothing much happens until book three or maybe four but you realize after a while that the very absence of action is what makes it so interesting and incidents which at the time seem unimaginably dull turn out later on to have their precisely measured place in the story the sequence when Widmerpool gets the sugar poured on his head which is later referred ... well of course not everyone is going to get it the point is very subtle and grows on you slowly as you progress through it needless to say nothing much happens until book three or maybe four but you realize after a while that the very absence of action is what makes it so interesting and incidents which at the time seem unimaginably dull turn out later on to have their precisely measured place in the story the sequence when Widmerpool gets the sugar poured on his head which is later referred to on several occasions each time with a new perspective so that you see it's a defining moment for the whole series and the failed attempt to put a chamber pot in the hat box the unbearable poignancy when it is mentioned in volume twelve but you have to read the whole thing obviously twice is better so criticisms like this are just beside the point you might as well say that Proust is no more than a lot of long sentences about French poofs being invited to posh parties continued p. 94...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    A Question of Upbringing is unobtrusively and agreeably grotesque. Grotesque as a style is a winning weapon. And Anthony Powell’s profound knowledge of human psychological subtleties does the rest. The characters make their first timid steps and we get acquainted with them. The school days are over and the close school friends depart on the different walks of life. And their peculiar attitude towards life is already established. In everyday life, the participants act their parts without considera A Question of Upbringing is unobtrusively and agreeably grotesque. Grotesque as a style is a winning weapon. And Anthony Powell’s profound knowledge of human psychological subtleties does the rest. The characters make their first timid steps and we get acquainted with them. The school days are over and the close school friends depart on the different walks of life. And their peculiar attitude towards life is already established. In everyday life, the participants act their parts without consideration either for suitability of scene or for the words spoken by the rest of the cast: the result is a general tendency for things to be brought to the level of farce even when the theme is serious enough. Everyone is a bit strange but some individuals are just weirder than the other human beings. It takes all sorts… The gates of life are wide open and the world is their oyster…

  7. 5 out of 5

    Edward Waverley

    The first sentence of your Goodreads review must not ever pretend to be a newsflash. The book that you pretend to be illuminating will usually be either 1) too old to require your late-blooming insights or else 2) too new to be obscure, because the atmosphere of publicity which surrounds all new books these days will have beaten you to the punch by a mile or more. When we click on a book link on this website, or when we look up a title in a search, our main purpose is never to find out the plot The first sentence of your Goodreads review must not ever pretend to be a newsflash. The book that you pretend to be illuminating will usually be either 1) too old to require your late-blooming insights or else 2) too new to be obscure, because the atmosphere of publicity which surrounds all new books these days will have beaten you to the punch by a mile or more. When we click on a book link on this website, or when we look up a title in a search, our main purpose is never to find out the plot (Wiki for that), nor is it our goal to read your slipshod bio of the author (Amazon for that). Give us something fresh about the book, or just give it the stars it deserves. As a humble contribution to what Robert Conquest has described as the UFABS (United Front Against Bullshit), this review is an attempt to get us moving in the right direction, toward reviews that are something more than disjointed or (what’s worse) redundant parrot squawks masquerading as erudition. Up until now, the reviews of this book have followed one or both of the distressing patterns referenced above. Now we didn’t even need one Goodreads member to note that this is the first of a 12-volume sequence. So why do all of the reviewers state this incessantly. I mean why do they do that anyway? I mean why? Eh? Nowhere would an attempt to appreciate a book merely in terms of its plot be less appropriate than in the case of A Question of Upbringing. I loved the book. Anthony Powell writes beautifully. The narrator Jenkins (who oversees all 12 novels) is barely there, and because his experiences are almost always related indirectly through his dialogue with others, it is entirely possible to read the whole novel without much thinking of him as one of the main characters. However, his presence is also just palpable enough to be sympathetic. This approach could have easily lurched into a kind of pseudo-third-person omniscience, but it never does. Another danger would have been for the book to go stream-of-consciousness on us. But Powell avoids both of these traps through his light but expert management of the details of Jenkins’ private emotions. Jenkins never overstates his grasp of the events he is witnessing. And when Jenkins speaks to another character, Powell has the uncanny knack of seeming to take the words right out of the minds of his readers and to put them in the mouth of Jenkins. Jenkins speaks for us, and he does so with enormous credibility. In a book that is built so tightly and minutely upon such an introspective character, it would have been easy for Powell to lose control of the story, and tempting for him to go slipping and tripping into the slough of solipsism that so often characterizes Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison and many other writers who love to stay inside the minds of their protagonists. Instead of all that, Powell gives Jenkins a voice that is strengthened by the authority of looking backward many years (when he’s addressing the reader), as well as the refreshing sincerity of the ingénue (when he’s addressing his friends and acquaintances). Jenkins’ nostalgic descriptions of school, of the summer in France and of the visits to the homes of schoolmates are registered so well that they could easily have crowded out the details of the characters moving through them. But Powell reminds the reader occasionally, and gently, that Jenkins actually knew and interacted with the characters around him, while he was mainly standing to the side and observing shrewdly. Powell weaves the two moods of Jenkins (in dialogue and in a sort of diary mode) so nimbly that one grows to love the hero without his ever really doing anything notable in the book. It’s not at all surprising, then, that I identify so completely and happily with Jenkins myself.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    What is this thing in my hands? fiction? memoir? history? romance? It is a little of all of these, and something more : a thing of beauty and a joy to discover. The Dance is an ambitious project to capture the essence of an epoch through a detailed character study and a mapping out of the relationships between actors. The Dance is also a project that uses the conventions of classical music in order to tell its story: there is a prelude, recurring themes, movements and changes of tempo and of soloi What is this thing in my hands? fiction? memoir? history? romance? It is a little of all of these, and something more : a thing of beauty and a joy to discover. The Dance is an ambitious project to capture the essence of an epoch through a detailed character study and a mapping out of the relationships between actors. The Dance is also a project that uses the conventions of classical music in order to tell its story: there is a prelude, recurring themes, movements and changes of tempo and of soloists. Arhitecture and poetry are weaving around each other in carefully designed structures and metaphorical, allegorical images. I was hooked right from the start, from the 'prelude' that references Poussin's famous painting : For some reason, the sight of snow descending on fire always makes me think of the ancient world - legionaries in sheepskin warming themselves at a brazier: mountain altars where offerings glow between wintry pillars; centaurs with torches cantering beside a frozen sea - scattered, uncoordinated shapes from a fabulous past, infinitely removed from life; and yet bringing with them memories of things real and imagined. These classical projections, and something in the physical attitudes of the men themselves as they turned from the fire, suddenly suggested Poussin's scene in which the Seasons, hand in hand and facing outward, tread in rhythm to the notes of the lyre that the winged and naked greybeard plays. The image of Time brought thoughts of mortality: of human beings, facing outward like the seasons, moving hand in hand in intricate measure: stepping slowly, methodically, sometimes a trifle awkwardly, in evolutions that take recognisable shape: or breaking into seemingly meaningless gyrations, while partners disappear only to reappear again, once more giving pattern to the spectacle: unable to control the melody, unable perhaps, to control the steps of the dance. The avenues of interpretation are wide open : the seasons will represent the four ages of man; the singer of the tune is history on the march, starting in the aftermath of one global conflagration and leading the dancers into the next one; the rhythm is destiny, with the players offered only limited control over the steps. I never heard of the Dance before joining Goodreads, which means either that the novel is past its prime (outdated?), too artsy (highbrow?) for popular consumption or too boring in its presentation. None of these fears were confirmed in my case, although I admit it may not be everybody's favorite cup of tea. A lot of readers look for adventure and excitement, for fast pacing and larger than life heroes, and this novel is more focused on passive observation from the sidelines, in the person of Nick Jenkins. Powell reminds me that even those usual fiction heroes have to start somewhere as regular people engaged in ordinary pursuits, waiting for the moment of crisis to either raise them up to glory or bring them down into the mud. This is the reason I believe the Dance starts with young men in school, capturing the moment when conscience, critical thinking, self-awarenes and temperament coalesce into the personality that the bearer will wear for the rest of his or her life. A Question of Upbringing is thus the novel of youth discovering itself, the story of spring and hope mixed with confusion, a time of learning the steps and the music, a time of innocence and curiosity. Powell is the conductor of the symphony, Time is the composer (is this an embrace of fatalism?), and the soloist/narrator is Nicholas Jenkings, a college boy at Eton. I am not well versed in the British educational system, but from helpful comments in the group read, I have determined that Eton is a sort of exclusive highschool for the well-to-do, despite being called a 'public' school. It is also a boarding school for boys only, creating an artificial, isolated environment focused on classical studies and physically demanding sports, all of which are important in relation to the "Nurture vs. Nature" argument by repressing born tendencies and talents and rewarding conformity to the social structure, reinforcing the caste system prevalent in the British Empire at the time (early 1920's). Clearly some complicated process of sorting-out was in progress among those who surrounded me: though only years later did I become aware how early such voluntary segregations begin to develop; and of how they continue throughout life. Jenkins is of necessity a blank page, a canvas for the writer to fill with slowly accumulated learning and wisdom, a mirror for the follies and peculiarities of his contemporaries. It's not a new trick in the quiver of the talented storyteller, as this kind of amorphous lead character allows the reader to slip easier into the role of observer and to identify easier with the narrator. The young man's investigations and revelations will mirror not only his time at Eton and beyond, but also our own personal recollections of school days, youth, first friendships and first passions. The real tour-de-force for me in this first volume is how well Powell can fade into the background and allow his characters to take center stage, how Jenkins and his friends act and talk their age (how much autobiographical content is here?), leaving the clever interpretations and the deep introspection for the reader to fill in between the lines of the novel. There are hints and tips in the prologue of each of the four major movements of the first novel (college, family life, France, university), guiding the reader in the right direction like the annotations on a music score - andante, fortissimo, allegretto. But the bulk of the novel is told from the perspective of this revolutionary generation that must reexamine the values of the past in relation to the war that just ended. One of the early declared recurring themes is presented by uncle Giles, who insist that in the world they live in talent and intelligence are less important than the people you know: who is in a good position to help you, who your parents are, what school you went to, what tailor cuts your costumes. In short - the question of upbringing. Over the course of the novel, the uniformity imposed on school grounds will be dissolved in hills and valleys of social acceptance, with rules mostly hidden but as strict as the Indian caste system. Jenkins' best friends at school, Charles Stringham and Peter Templer, will drift away like continents, leaving Nick stranded in the middle. Casual visitors like Widmerpool or Sunny Farebrothers, who lack the vital family connections, will become the butt of cruel jokes from the in-crowd, and will have to develop other avenues for success (burning ambition, camouflaging colours : ""A cricketer always makes a good impression" claims Sunny as he explains why he carries his sport gear on visits to his wealthy patrons) As I came gradually to know them better, I saw that, in reality, Stringham and Templer provided, in their respective methods of approaching life, patterns of two very distinguishable forms of existence, each of which deserved consideration in the light of its own special peculiarities: both, at the same time, demanding adjustment of a scale of values that was slowly taking coherent shape so far as my own canons of behaviour were concerned. This contrast was in the main a matter of temperament. In due course I had opportunities to recognise how much their unlikeness to each other might also be attributed to dissimilar background. The vertical stratification of society becomes even more evident as Jenkins moves from college to university, as he joins different circles and continues to observe and take notes of the Dance. The theory that in life it is important "who" and not "what" you know is revealed in the tea salon of one of the dons, Sillery, who weaves invisible threads of influence like a hermaphrodite spider, moving the younger people around yet carefully preserving their allocated step on the ladder: Stringham - aristocracy and governemnt position; Peter Templer - wealth and commerce; Sunny and Widmerpool - middle class respectability; Quiggin and Mark Members - working class, one an intellectual prodigy, the other an artist. It will be interesting later in the series to find out if my initial classification of these characters will be proven true, and which one of them will break the barriers of upbringing. The author, through the voice of Jenkins, cautions me not to be too hasty in my rulings: Wisdom is the power to admit that you cannot understand and judge the people in their entirety. I am led to believe that the best way to approach the Dance is without any baggage of preconceived ideas or false certainties, keep my mind open and learn, together with Jenkins, both the tune of Time and the steps of the ballet. It is not easy - perhaps not even desirable - to judge other people by a consistent standard. Conduct obnoxious, even unbearable, in one person may be readily tolerated in another; apparently indispensable principles of behaviour are in practice relaxed - not always with impunity - in the interests of those whose nature seems to demand an exceptional measure. That is one of the difficulties of committing human action to paper, a perplexity that really justifies the alternations of comedy with tragedy in Shakespearian drama. The gradual coming of wisdom for Nick Jenkins is not accompanied by a similar development of his emotional intelligence. A product of his sexually segregated upbringing, Nick is still dancing with two left feet when he is trying to woo girls his own age, as evidenced both in the chapers describing a visit to Peter Templer's house and a sejour in France. I am hoping he is a late bloomer, and that the next novels in the series will feature a smooth operator in the elegant salons of London. Right now, I believe that if Jenkins would be on Facebook, he will go for "It's complicated" in describing his relationship status: Being in love is a complicated matter; although anyone who is prepared to pretend that love is a simple, straightforward business is always in a strong position for making conquests. In general, things are apt to turn out unsatisfactorily for at least one of the parties concerned; and in due course only its most determined devotees remain unwilling to admit that an intimate and affectionate relationship is not necessarily a simple one. Hang in there, little tomato! Your time will come! As a note to my future self, I am curious if Jenkins will be snared into a liaison with an older woman, since he seems intrigued by the mothers of his friends, especially Mrs. Foxe ("I think once can always use caviare, don't you?") At the end of the first novel of the Dance, Jenkins and many of his friends are still unresolved equations, puzzles I am only too willing to explore further - in their careers, in their romantic entanglements, in their artistic preoccupations. Eleven more volumes of the same subtle and elegant demonstration from Powell doesn't sound too bad an invitation to me. This ideal conception - that one should have an aim in life - had, indeed, only too often occurred to me as an unsolved question; but I was still far from deciding what form my endeavours should ultimately take. In saying goodbye to the school days of little responsibility and much learning, I have two final quotes that justify for me the high expectations for the rest of the series. One is a stanza about artists or scholars needing to get out of the ivory towers of their imaginations: "And then we turn unwilling feet And seek the world - so must it be - We may not linger in the heat Where breaks the blue Sicilian sea!" the other is an illustration of how our first impressions about a person (view spoiler)[ Le Bas (hide spoiler)] can be wrong, and how experience guide us to a more balanced stance: After several false starts, he said: "You know Jenkins, do always try to remember one thing - it takes all sorts to make a world."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    Description: Who is Widmerpool? The question that is to dog Nicholas Jenkins crystallizes as he sees the gawky figure of his schoolmate huffing through the mists on a solitary cross-country run. So unexceptional, unsmart -- even unpopular -- Widmerpool continues to drop in and out of Jenkins life through school, university and London in the 1920's. Opening: THE MEN AT WORK at the corner of the street had made a kind of camp for themselves, where, marked out by tripods hung with red hurricane-lam Description: Who is Widmerpool? The question that is to dog Nicholas Jenkins crystallizes as he sees the gawky figure of his schoolmate huffing through the mists on a solitary cross-country run. So unexceptional, unsmart -- even unpopular -- Widmerpool continues to drop in and out of Jenkins life through school, university and London in the 1920's. Opening: THE MEN AT WORK at the corner of the street had made a kind of camp for themselves, where, marked out by tripods hung with red hurricane-lamps, an abyss in the road led down to a network of subterranean drain-pipes. A Group Read Searching out the paintings and books mentioned was fun until the piccies, in the meantime, had been up loaded to the group read site, so that is where you can find them, just click the above link :O) A great introduction to the main players and an enjoyable re-visit. First edition cover. Veronese's Alexander - page 12 5* First Movement - Spring 5* Second Movement - Summer 5* Third Movement - Autumn 5* Fourth Movement - Winter CR A Question of Upbringing – (1951) A Buyer's Market – (1952) The Acceptance World – (1955) At Lady Molly's – (1957) Casanova's Chinese Restaurant – (1960) The Kindly Ones – (1962) The Valley of Bones – (1964) The Soldier's Art – (1966) The Military Philosophers – (1968) Books Do Furnish a Room – (1971) Temporary Kings – (1973) Hearing Secret Harmonies – (1975)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    In this book one of Anthony Powell's 12 volume sketch of English life in the 20th century (A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement), we are introduced to the characters Nick Jenkins, Charles Stringham, Peter Templer, and Kenneth Widmerpool. And if I understand correctly, the lives of these four young men will unfold for us over the course of this vast work. Their introduction, their start on this journey is inviting for the reader because they are an interesting group, varied in intellect and In this book one of Anthony Powell's 12 volume sketch of English life in the 20th century (A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement), we are introduced to the characters Nick Jenkins, Charles Stringham, Peter Templer, and Kenneth Widmerpool. And if I understand correctly, the lives of these four young men will unfold for us over the course of this vast work. Their introduction, their start on this journey is inviting for the reader because they are an interesting group, varied in intellect and personality, and I look forward to traveling this literary journey with them.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    A Question of Upbringing is the first volume in the twelve novel, “A Dance to the Music of Time.” In order, the books are: 1. A Question of Upbringing – (1951) 2. A Buyer's Market – (1952) 3. The Acceptance World – (1955) 4. At Lady Molly's – (1957) 5. Casanova's Chinese Restaurant – (1960) 6. The Kindly Ones – (1962) 7. The Valley of Bones – (1964) 8. The Soldier's Art – (1966) 9. The Military Philosophers – (1968) 10. Books Do Furnish a Room – (1971) 11. Temporary Kings – (1973) 12. Hearing Secret Harmoni A Question of Upbringing is the first volume in the twelve novel, “A Dance to the Music of Time.” In order, the books are: 1. A Question of Upbringing – (1951) 2. A Buyer's Market – (1952) 3. The Acceptance World – (1955) 4. At Lady Molly's – (1957) 5. Casanova's Chinese Restaurant – (1960) 6. The Kindly Ones – (1962) 7. The Valley of Bones – (1964) 8. The Soldier's Art – (1966) 9. The Military Philosophers – (1968) 10. Books Do Furnish a Room – (1971) 11. Temporary Kings – (1973) 12. Hearing Secret Harmonies – (1975) The books are the fictional memoirs of Nicholas Jenkins and some of his friends, family and acquaintances. This first book begins in 1921 with Jenkins still at school (based on Eton, which Powell attended), where he rooms with Charles Stringham and Peter Templar. Also mentioned is a slightly odd character, named Widmerpool, who Jenkins meets up again later in the book, when he visits France to improve his language skills. Although Widmerpool is identified as a figure of fun, Jenkins later reappraises his attitude slightly and it is demonstrated that he has both ambition and a strong will to succeed. Obviously, this first novel – the first in a three book sequence linked to the seasons as ‘Spring’ – is very much an introduction. We meet several characters, including Jenkins Uncle Giles, housemaster Le Bas, members of Stringham’s and Tempar’s family and are introduced to Professor Sillery – a don who likes to plot and influence events way beyond the scope suggested by his university tea parties. The four young men who are the focus of this book are all very different, but the author weaves their stories effortlessly – telling a tale of class, friendship and the stirrings of romance. Critically acclaimed – the novel was included in Time Magazine’s Top 100 English language novels from 1925-2005, while the editors of Modern Library ranked the work as 43rd greatest English-language novel of the twentieth century – this twelve volume cycle of novels is one of the longest works of fiction in literature. However, I feel it is almost impossible to read this first book and not want to read on and that is the true test of a great story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Imagine yourself in an art shop. You see a nice painting or a sculpture or a photograph. You like it so much that you can’t help describing it to your spouse when you come home. Or maybe, you like it so much that it reminds you of a song and you keep on humming or singing lines from that song. Or maybe, you like it so much that you are inspired to write poems or stories that the painting, sculpture or photograph reminded you of. Nicholas Poussin (1594-1665), a French painter in a classical style Imagine yourself in an art shop. You see a nice painting or a sculpture or a photograph. You like it so much that you can’t help describing it to your spouse when you come home. Or maybe, you like it so much that it reminds you of a song and you keep on humming or singing lines from that song. Or maybe, you like it so much that you are inspired to write poems or stories that the painting, sculpture or photograph reminded you of. Nicholas Poussin (1594-1665), a French painter in a classical style painting inspired Anthony Powell (1905-2000) to write a 12-volume book , one of the longest works of fiction in literature, entitled A Dance to the Music of Time. The 12 volumes were published as individual books between 1951-1975 to critical acclaim. Powell did not write any other novels. He wrote other works like his memoirs, bibliographies, plays and essays but no other novel although I am sure he has the time and imagination to think of other stories and I am sure people would be patronizing them. No, he chose to stick with the plot of this story. It was as if he dedicated all his life to this. Imagining the Poussin’s painting. Being inspired by it. All his life. This is how Poussin's painting looks like: I read and finished the first volume, A Question of Upbringing last weekend. The setting is in an all-boys school in England. About four boys: Nicholas Jenkins< /b>(the narrator) “the artist”, Charles Stringham, “the romantic”, Peter Templer “the cynic” and Kenneth Widmerpool “the man of will.” The story opens with a day in their school life, their last year in school and the rest of the story traces their separate ways. The scenes are sometimes funny (the one with the flying banana made me chuckled), sometimes insightful, sometime heartwarming, sometimes naughty (coming-of-age naughtiness) but almost always a joy to read. It seems to tell us about how to grow up as men and I suspect that the rest of the 11 books will trace these men’s lives to their mature age. So, the dance is like a dance of life and the music changes as time passes. There are some terms and phrases that I do not understand as English is not my first language and I forgot to bring a dictionary during our weekend out-of-the-city trip so I just went on reading. There are some boring parts maybe because I am too old to relate to schoolboys or young men’s lives. I know that it is too early for me to sing hosanna to this book. I wanted to rate this with a 5 stars but I think it is too early to conclude of its magnificence. I am giving this a conservative 3 stars and see how the rest of the 11 books fare. It is better to start with a low rating (so my hope is not that high) and end up with a higher one (towards the end of the series) so as not to be disappointed. I learned this from reading Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. I love reading book series!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Connie G

    "A Question of Upbringing" is the first book in a series of twelve volumes of "A Dance to the Music of Time". The book is narrated by Nicholas Jenkins, Anthony Powell's alter ego, who acts as an observer of the world of Great Britain's upper class and upper middle class. Nick has a dry satirical way of looking at everything going around him. He includes references to art and literature in his descriptions. The book revolves around Nick's attendance at schools similar to Eton and Oxford (where Po "A Question of Upbringing" is the first book in a series of twelve volumes of "A Dance to the Music of Time". The book is narrated by Nicholas Jenkins, Anthony Powell's alter ego, who acts as an observer of the world of Great Britain's upper class and upper middle class. Nick has a dry satirical way of looking at everything going around him. He includes references to art and literature in his descriptions. The book revolves around Nick's attendance at schools similar to Eton and Oxford (where Powell was educated), as well as a language-immersion summer in France in the early 1920s. The name of the twelve volume set is based on Nicholas Poussin's painting, "A Dance to the Music of Time". The artwork depicts four classical figures, named for the four seasons, dancing in the round. In "A Question of Upbringing", we can see individuals moving in and out of each others' lives as if they were also dancing to the music of time. We meet schoolmates, their family members, housemasters, and acquaintances of Nick Jenkins and already see relationships changing by the end of the book. I'm looking forward to spending more time with these characters in the second book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    I just love this series, and the first book is wonderful. I love the nostalgic meandering tone and the episodic nature of the plot. Powell is such a genius with characterisation.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    The pages just kept turning. The establishing of characters and some brilliant lines and passages throughout. And some very funny incidents made me burst out laughing. This is the first book of twelve. Eleven more of this, almost too good to be true. I know they will all be brilliant, as I've already read A Buyer's Market before I read 'A Question of Upbringing'. The pages just kept turning. The establishing of characters and some brilliant lines and passages throughout. And some very funny incidents made me burst out laughing. This is the first book of twelve. Eleven more of this, almost too good to be true. I know they will all be brilliant, as I've already read A Buyer's Market before I read 'A Question of Upbringing'.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This is the first book of a series of twelve books. The story begins around 1921 and the narrator, Nick Jenkins, describes his last years at a public school, his summer spent in France and finally his going to the university. Nick also describes his friendship with Stringham and Templer. Some other characters are also introduced in the narrative: Uncle Giles, Sillery, Buster, Sunny Farebrother and Widmerpool. Even if some readers eventually compare with “Remembrance of the Lost Time” by Marcel Prou This is the first book of a series of twelve books. The story begins around 1921 and the narrator, Nick Jenkins, describes his last years at a public school, his summer spent in France and finally his going to the university. Nick also describes his friendship with Stringham and Templer. Some other characters are also introduced in the narrative: Uncle Giles, Sillery, Buster, Sunny Farebrother and Widmerpool. Even if some readers eventually compare with “Remembrance of the Lost Time” by Marcel Proust, it seems to me more similar to “Jean-Christophe” written by Romain Rolland. To be checked in the following volumes. This book is being discussed in the GR group 2016: A Dance to the Music of Time. A Dance to the Music of Time, Nicolas Poussin, 1634-1635, The Wallace Collection, London. At the start of Anthony Powell's series of novels named after the painting the narrator, Nicolas Jenkins, reflects on it in the first two pages of A Question of Upbringing: These classical projections, and something from the fire, suddenly suggested Poussin's scene in which the Seasons, hand in hand and facing outward, tread in rhythm to the notes of the lyre that the winged and naked greybeard plays. The image of Time brought thoughts of mortality: of human beings, facing outward like the Seasons, moving hand in hand in intricate measure, stepping slowly, methodically sometimes a trifle awkwardly, in evolutions that take recognisable shape: or breaking into seemingly meaningless gyrations, while partners disappear only to reappear again, once more giving pattern to the spectacle: unable to control the melody, unable, perhaps, to control the steps of the dance. From Wiki: Published in 1951, it begins the story of a trio of boys, Nicholas Jenkins (the narrator), Charles Stringham, and Peter Templer, who are friends at a nameless school (based upon Powell's public school Eton College) and then move on to different paths. A fourth figure, Kenneth Widmerpool, stands slightly apart from them, poised for greatness. The novel is concerned with the flow and transience of life and the play of time upon love and friendship. Another major theme introduced in A Question of Upbringing is the consequence of living by the will. In presenting four very different characters - "the artist, the romantic, the cynic, and the man of will" - the author sets the scene for an extended exploration of what it means to grow and mature. The language of youth, deployed with precision, is used to depict the emergence of the boys into manhood in a period when memories of the Great War overshadow many of their elders. The title of the book had its origin in an incident in which Powell was a passenger in a car driven by his friend, the Old Etonian screenwriter, Thomas Wilton ("Tommy") Phipps. Phipps and Powell found themselves driving straight towards an oncoming vehicle. Powell later recorded, "Seizing the hand-brake as we sped towards what seemed imminent collision, Phipps muttered to himself, 'This is just going to be a question of upbringing.’” The website of the Anthony Powell Society is also an excellent source of more information about Powell and Dance.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    This seems like a serial book which I'll enjoy in the whole, more than each part. Any way, 1/3 done with the 1st Movement and 1/12 done with 'A Dance to the Music of Time'. I'm not sure if I'll read one book per month, or just dash through them. Probably, I'll chop the baby, and read it in a season. I'll review more later, once the kids are in bed, or at least off the computer.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    A Question of Upbringing by Anthony Powell "A Dance to the Music of Time" is a twelve-volume cycle of novels by Anthony Powell, and "A Question of Upbringing" is the first of the twelve volumes. I've wanted to read "A Dance to the Music of Time" since discovering that Julian Maclaren-Ross features somewhere in the series as a character called X. Trapnel. Such is my interest in Julian Maclaren-Ross (I am, of course, assuming you have already read "Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia: The Bizarre Lif A Question of Upbringing by Anthony Powell "A Dance to the Music of Time" is a twelve-volume cycle of novels by Anthony Powell, and "A Question of Upbringing" is the first of the twelve volumes. I've wanted to read "A Dance to the Music of Time" since discovering that Julian Maclaren-Ross features somewhere in the series as a character called X. Trapnel. Such is my interest in Julian Maclaren-Ross (I am, of course, assuming you have already read "Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia: The Bizarre Life of Writer, Actor, Soho Raconteur Julian Maclaren-Ross" by Paul Willetts) that this is sufficient to inspire me to tackle one of the longest works of fiction in English literature. You probably feel exactly the same. If you don't then you should consider it. Published in 1951, "A Question of Upbringing" is the reminiscences of Nick Jenkins (presumably based on Powell himself) who recounts his last few years at public school around 1921, a summer spent in France, and then onto university. It's a familiar world of gilded privilege, akin to the early sections of "Brideshead Revisited", though with very little by way of drama or narrative. Instead the reader is introduced to a variety of disparate characters and some prescient anecdotes. I say prescient as Jenkins hints at the ways in which their lives will turn out. What makes this book a delight is the beautiful writing, which really captures the era and milieu, and which is aligned to regular doses of humour. Powell captures the transition of adolescence into adulthood perfectly: the insecurities, the naivety, the fast changes, the gaucheness, the way friendships may evolve and fracture, and how life choices made at this stage can shape whole lives. I suspect this series will get better and better and "A Question of Upbringing" lays the groundwork for what it is to follow. I cannot wait to find out. 4/5 I have subsequently read the next two volumes: Click here to see my review of A Buyer's Market (A Dance to the Music of Time #2) Click here to see my review of The Acceptance World (A Dance to the Music of Time #3) The twelve books of "A Dance to the Music of Time" are available individually or as four volumes. Spring A Question of Upbringing – (1951) A Buyer's Market – (1952) The Acceptance World – (1955) Summer At Lady Molly's – (1957) Casanova's Chinese Restaurant – (1960) The Kindly Ones – (1962) Autumn The Valley of Bones – (1964) The Soldier's Art – (1966) The Military Philosophers – (1968) Winter Books Do Furnish a Room – (1971) Temporary Kings – (1973) Hearing Secret Harmonies – (1975) (dates are first UK publication dates)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    What a strange, yet pleasant distraction.... I recently found this on a literary reading list - frankly, I'd never heard of it before. I guess that's not surprising, since the series was not, apparently (until the e-book/Kindle era), previously marketed to American (U.S.) readers. The University of Chicago - not the most mainstream of literary publishing houses - rolled it out on e-book/Kindle for folks on our side of the pond - and, well, I'm glad they did. Powell writes beautifully (so, at least What a strange, yet pleasant distraction.... I recently found this on a literary reading list - frankly, I'd never heard of it before. I guess that's not surprising, since the series was not, apparently (until the e-book/Kindle era), previously marketed to American (U.S.) readers. The University of Chicago - not the most mainstream of literary publishing houses - rolled it out on e-book/Kindle for folks on our side of the pond - and, well, I'm glad they did. Powell writes beautifully (so, at least to my mind, his reputation is well deserved and his prowess on full display here). It's leisurely, but elegant prose. At least so far, the action - to the extent there is any - proceeds at a walking pace. Our narrator attends a boarding school in England, after World War I, then he heads to France to practice his French, then he begins at University ... and, well, that's about it. (Apparently, by the time we get to the next book, our narrator is off to London, but time will tell.) We meet characters, we observe social situations, we ponder questions, we have limited recognition of how parochial our perceptions might be ... and then we move on. Given how little occurs, I'm at a loss to explain how or why I found this so entertaining. There's an element of Jane Austen observing and critiquing the drawing room or the absurdity of formal (or polite) conversation that's in play here, although there's far less of a contained story or vignette playing out and, at least so far, there's no romantic object, pursuit, capture, and resolution. But the jaundiced eye and rapier wit is analogous (even if the number of laugh-out-loud moments are fewer). If it were non-fiction, it might be dismissed as a rambling, poorly organized journal. But ... but... As I now understand it, the combined work spans twelve books written over a couple of decades, beginning in 1951 and spanning a generation of ... life(?). I have no idea how many I'll eventually read, but I enjoyed the first one enough that I'm confident I'll progress to the second.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paola

    Just the beginning of the 12 part saga describing England in the first half of the century just gone, and I am already enjoying it. This first book sets the scene, capturing the life of the protagonist from the final school years to his university experience. Taken on its own, I liked it, although especially the Oxford years were a tad over the top – in particular I found the stereotypical Oxford don (Sillery) not very credible, nor his influence in steering the decisions of a powerful family. S Just the beginning of the 12 part saga describing England in the first half of the century just gone, and I am already enjoying it. This first book sets the scene, capturing the life of the protagonist from the final school years to his university experience. Taken on its own, I liked it, although especially the Oxford years were a tad over the top – in particular I found the stereotypical Oxford don (Sillery) not very credible, nor his influence in steering the decisions of a powerful family. Some parts were too slow (above all the French interlude). Yet the depiction of some of the characters is priceless, as the gentle description of the friendship between young boys on the verge of manhood. I am eager to read more!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    I'm happy to report that Book 1 is an excellent start to this series, which bodes well for the next 11 books.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Justin Evans

    Powell's prose is, of course, a marvel, but what most surprised me on re-reading the first volume to DMT is how much of it I remember. I'm usually not very good at retaining the details of books for much more than a month or two, unless I've been writing about them; with QU, I remember pretty much everything, so adept is Powell at creating memorable and charming characters with just a few sentences. Nothing much 'happens' here, of course, which is hardly surprising, since not much happens in the Powell's prose is, of course, a marvel, but what most surprised me on re-reading the first volume to DMT is how much of it I remember. I'm usually not very good at retaining the details of books for much more than a month or two, unless I've been writing about them; with QU, I remember pretty much everything, so adept is Powell at creating memorable and charming characters with just a few sentences. Nothing much 'happens' here, of course, which is hardly surprising, since not much happens in the first 8.25% of most novels, but Powell does lay substantial groundwork aside from the basics of his characters (particularly Widmerpool). First, the 'musical' structure of the book gets off to a nice start. Although this should technically just be the first statement of the theme, QU has a mini-sonata form of its own, beginning with Widmerpool and Jenkins, ending with a second-hand report of Widmerpool and more Jenkins, with some variations in between. The obvious touchstones (positive or negative) are cheekily dealt with, too: the notably Forsytian Jenkins is connected to an actual line of Galsworthy, and there's a blatantly Proustian feel to chapter three (first love and its after-images, French country-house stylings). I can also suggest that prospective readers of DMT read Carpenter's 'The Brideshead Generation,' which sets you up nicely for the school and university scenes here.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karl-O

    The ending of this book seemed to me like a metaphor for the complete work and possibly the series as far as it can be guessed. As with the best works in literature, I can't possibly be spoiling it for you by telling you about it, so please do read on. Jenkins goes to see Stringham in London but the latter disappoints him when he says that he has to go to a party which "can hardly fail to be rather fun." Jenkins tells him not to worry though he gets annoyed at this treatment. He decides to go to The ending of this book seemed to me like a metaphor for the complete work and possibly the series as far as it can be guessed. As with the best works in literature, I can't possibly be spoiling it for you by telling you about it, so please do read on. Jenkins goes to see Stringham in London but the latter disappoints him when he says that he has to go to a party which "can hardly fail to be rather fun." Jenkins tells him not to worry though he gets annoyed at this treatment. He decides to go to the Trouville restaurant to see his uncle Giles who dines there every night, and you get the sense that this turn of events is preparing for something remarkable to happen with Giles, and that this encounter will be explored in the next book, and Powell is just trying to build some tension for you to read on. However, the book ends with the following beautiful paragraph: 'Within, the room was narrow, and unnaturally long, with a table each side, one after another, stretching in perspective into shadows that hid the service lift: which was set among palms rising from ornate brass pots. The emptiness, dim light, silence – and, to some extent, the smell – created a faintly ecclesiastical atmosphere; so that the track between the tables might have been an aisle, leading, perhaps, to a hidden choir. Uncle Giles himself, sitting alone at the far end of this place, bent over a book, had the air of a sleepy worshipper, waiting for the next service to begin. He did not look specially pleased to see me, and not at all surprised. “You’re a bit late,” he said. “So I started.” It had not occurred to him that I should do otherwise than come straight up to London, so soon as informed that there was an opportunity to see him again. He put his book face-downwards on the tablecloth. I saw that it was called Some Things That Matter. We discussed the Trust until it was time to catch my train.' I was not at all disappointed. Just excited to read on!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marius van Blerck

    This is the first book in Anthony Powell's extraordinary 12-volume series, A Dance to the Music of Time. If you enjoy Marcel Proust, Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene, you'll take to this like a Duke to Porter. But if you aren't really into them, but simply like a long drawn out yarn, beautifully written, spanning a large part of the 20th century, this series will entrance you. The parallels with Evelyn Waugh's work (a mixture of Brideshead Revisited and the Sword of Honour series) are striking, in s This is the first book in Anthony Powell's extraordinary 12-volume series, A Dance to the Music of Time. If you enjoy Marcel Proust, Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene, you'll take to this like a Duke to Porter. But if you aren't really into them, but simply like a long drawn out yarn, beautifully written, spanning a large part of the 20th century, this series will entrance you. The parallels with Evelyn Waugh's work (a mixture of Brideshead Revisited and the Sword of Honour series) are striking, in subject matter, atmosphere and style. Waugh had a gift for conciseness - in contrast Powell is far more languid - but both styles are masterly. I'm pleased to have read recently that Waugh greatly admired Powell, who must be one of the most underrated writers of the 20th century. This volume, published in 1951, deals with the schooldays of the four boys whos lives dominate the entire series. First, there is Nicholas Jenkins, the narrator, who is the alter-ego of Powell and who is artistically inclined. Then we have his two closest friends, the languid Charles Stringham, and the cynic Peter Templer. Hovering in the background is Kenneth Widmerpool, ungainly, and a figure of fun. The stage is set for the saga.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor

    I enjoyed this book very much and have now moved on to the second volume of A Dance to the Music of Time. I had to get used to Anthony Powell's style with its long and leisurely sentences. I did enjoy his descriptions of people, as in this instance when he had arrived for a holiday in France: "... we climbed into a time-worn taxi, driven by an ancient whose moustache and peaked cap gave him the air of a Napoleonic grenadier, an elderly grognard, fallen on evil days during the Restoration, depicte I enjoyed this book very much and have now moved on to the second volume of A Dance to the Music of Time. I had to get used to Anthony Powell's style with its long and leisurely sentences. I did enjoy his descriptions of people, as in this instance when he had arrived for a holiday in France: "... we climbed into a time-worn taxi, driven by an ancient whose moustache and peaked cap gave him the air of a Napoleonic grenadier, an elderly grognard, fallen on evil days during the Restoration, depicted in some academic canvas of patriotic intention." The laugh-out-loud moment came on the next page, after clouds of white dust had blown in through the open window "... obscuring even more thoroughly the cracked and scarred windscreen, which seemed to have had several bullets put through it in the past: perhaps during the retreat from Moscow." I look forward to spending time with Nicholas and the many people who cross and recross his path through life.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Renee M

    I very much enjoyed the first book of this twelve book series. I am planning to read one per month over the course of 2016 (not my plan, am reading with a group, but it's a brilliant plan). The writing is delicious and although it is not plot driven, I found myself looking forward to stepping into the memories of Nick Jenkins each evening. In addition, it brings to mind so many other books I've enjoyed including Brideshead Revisited, The Forsyte Saga, Of Human Bondage, the Harry Potter series. S I very much enjoyed the first book of this twelve book series. I am planning to read one per month over the course of 2016 (not my plan, am reading with a group, but it's a brilliant plan). The writing is delicious and although it is not plot driven, I found myself looking forward to stepping into the memories of Nick Jenkins each evening. In addition, it brings to mind so many other books I've enjoyed including Brideshead Revisited, The Forsyte Saga, Of Human Bondage, the Harry Potter series. So I very much look forward to my year of reading Dance to the Music of Time after this rather engaging start.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I thought there can be nothing more boring than Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks. I was wrong. Even Downtown Abbey (which I personally consider a very boring series) is a thrill compared to this book. Long phrases and 257 pages of nothing. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing meaningful that worth reading about. Some people descriptions, some descriptions of nature, some small events (school director mistaken for a thief)... And this book (along with the other 11 which I will not read, of course) is on I thought there can be nothing more boring than Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks. I was wrong. Even Downtown Abbey (which I personally consider a very boring series) is a thrill compared to this book. Long phrases and 257 pages of nothing. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing meaningful that worth reading about. Some people descriptions, some descriptions of nature, some small events (school director mistaken for a thief)... And this book (along with the other 11 which I will not read, of course) is on the 1001 books of all times !!! If you want to read great Britisch fiction take Galsworthy's "Forsyte Saga".

  28. 5 out of 5

    David

    Part one of a long series of totally awesome novels, where the same characters are traced as they grow up between the wars in London. I like short novels connected together into a longer read, which is why I consider this series to be utterly awesome. It approaches the outer limits of awesomeness.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I think I enjoyed this re-read more than the first time, as I knew there wouldn't be much action and I just let it wash over me, enjoying Powell's prose and immersing myself in one experience of England in the 20s.

  30. 5 out of 5

    JacquiWine

    First published in 1951, A Question of Upbringing is the first novel in Anthony Powell’s masterly twelve-part cycle, A Dance to the Music of Time, a series which explores the political and cultural milieu of the English upper classes in the early-mid-20th century. As the novel opens, the narrator – a man named Jenkins – is observing the movements of some workmen in his street when he is reminded of Poussin’s great painting, A Dance to the Music of Time, in which the Seasons move in rhythm to the First published in 1951, A Question of Upbringing is the first novel in Anthony Powell’s masterly twelve-part cycle, A Dance to the Music of Time, a series which explores the political and cultural milieu of the English upper classes in the early-mid-20th century. As the novel opens, the narrator – a man named Jenkins – is observing the movements of some workmen in his street when he is reminded of Poussin’s great painting, A Dance to the Music of Time, in which the Seasons move in rhythm to the notes of the lyre. The image of Time brought thoughts of mortality: of human beings, facing outward like the Seasons, moving hand in hand in intricate measure: stepping slowly, methodically, sometimes a trifle awkwardly, in evolutions that take recognisable shape: or breaking into seemingly meaningless gyrations, while partners disappear only to reappear again, once more giving pattern to the spectacle: unable to control the melody, unable, perhaps, to control the steps of the dance. (p. 2) To read the rest of my review, please visit: https://jacquiwine.wordpress.com/2019...

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.