29 March 2008

Quotable Powell 10 - 14

Quotable Powell #14 [13 March 2002]
One passes through the world knowing few, if any, of the important things about even the people with whom one has been from time to time in the closest intimacy.

Anthony Powell, The Kindly Ones
[Contributed by Joan Williams]


Quotable Powell #13 [29 January 2002]

Sillery, I thought, was like Tiresias: for, although predominantly male, for example, in outward appearance, he seemed to have the seer's power of assuming female character if required. With Truscott, for instance, he would behave like an affectionate aunt; while his perennial quarrel with Brightman – to take another instance of his activities – was often conducted with a mixture of bluntness and self-control that certainly could not be thought at all like a woman's row with a man: or even with another woman; though, at the same time, it was a dispute that admittedly transcended somehow a difference of opinion between two men.

Anthony Powell, A Question of Upbringing
[Contributed by Keith Marshall]


Quotable Powell #12 [23 September 2001]
A friend bought me the first three of this sequence [Dance] for my birthday one year. I was sceptical at first, but was soon won over by some of the most magical prose in the English language. Powell made me care about these old Etonians and titled ladies, this crew of bohemians, charlatans, whingers, malcontents and survivors. He created some of the most complex villains in all literature, and transports the reader to a fully realized world - a world I revisit whenever I can.

Ian Rankin, The Good Book Guide, March 2000
[Contributed by Peter Kislinger]


Quotable Powell #11 [23 July 2001]

The method is all part of his [John Aubrey's] presentation of life as a picture crowded with odd figures, occupying themselves in unexpected and sometimes inexplicable pursuits. He wrote down what appeared to him the truth, but it is often the truth of poetry rather than the truth of science.

Anthony Powell, John Aubrey and His Friends
[Contributed by Noreen Marshall]


Quotable Powell #10 [7 June 2001]

Many critics have called Dance a comedy of manners. They're right, to be sure, but they've missed the point. "It is always difficult," Powell observed, "to know how human beings really live. If you describe it, you often appear to be a humorous writer, even if you have merely reported exactly what happened." In its uniquely backhanded, understated, supremely ironic way, A Dance to the Music of Time comes as lose as a novel can come to telling us "exactly what happened.

Bill Ott, American Library Association Booklist, 15 May 2000
[Contributed by Michael Henle]

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