Turning to frankly non-socialist dandies, we find that Anthony Powell had left Duckworths in 1936, and was devoting more of his energies to his vocation as a novelist. In 1938-9 he was already beginning his Music of Time series, because he foresaw the war that was coming, and also foresaw a post-war world in which the people he wanted to write about would have disappeared, so that he would be lost – without his bearings as a novelist. In other words, he needed a dandy subject, and he feared it would disappear, as history punished his generation's frivolity.*
* Powell speaks of his literary intentions of 1938 in an interview in The New Yorker, 3 July 1965.
Martin Green; Children of the Sun; Constable, 1977
The Soldier's Art [11 January 2004]
This is the eighth volume of Mr Powell's much praised Music of Time sequence. As an act of continuous dedication to the art of fiction the achievement continues to be impressive. But how thinly the material is sliced, how carefully arranged on the exquisitely patterned plate. It is interesting that much of the praise has come from fellow-craftsmen: the favourite son of favourite sons, the novelist's novelist - is this the role one would have predicted for the author of those brilliant, Mozartian comic-opera novels of the 'thirties?
KW Gransden; Taste of the Old Time a review of The Soldier's Art
[Contributed by John Potter]
Casanova's Chinese Restaurant [4 October 2003]
In 1960 Evelyn Waugh wrote a review of Casanova's Chinese Restaurant which included both a quotable encomium and an observation about reading the novels at the intervals at which they were originally published. Evelyn Waugh writes of Powell:
He is slightly my junior in years. I have few reasons to desire longevity. One of them is the hope that I (and he) may be spared to see the completion of the fine sequence which he calls The Music of Time and to sit (or lie) back to read it continuously, for the annual instalments he provides, eagerly expected and keenly enjoyed, do put something of a strain on an already faltering memory.
Of course Waugh, who died in 1966, would never read Dance to the end.
[Contributed by William Wleklinski]