30 March 2008

Quotable Powell 20 - 24

Quotable Powell #24 [13 December 2003]
The critic John Bayley has remarked that "nothing shows the complete originality of Powell's technique more than the way his fiction imitates memoir, and almost in a double sense, like a trompe-l'oeil painting", so that the novel becomes "an anecdote arranging itself in the elaborate composition of a picture".

Allan Massie; The Novel Today
[Contributed by Keith Marshall]


Quotable Powell #23 [13 October 2003]

'In vino veritas – I don't know,' Anthony Powell once said to me, 'but in scribendo veritas – a certainty.'

Kingsley Amis; Memoirs
[Contributed by Keith Marshall]


Quotable Powell #22 [4 September 2003]

Finn pushed back his chair. He spoke slowly. "Borrit told me when he was serving on the Gold Coast one of the Africans said to him: 'What is it white men write at their desks all day?'"

Anthony Powell; The Military Philosophers
[Contributed by Larry M Allis]


Quotable Powell #21 [22 June 2003]

Here, among these woods and clearing, sand and fern, silence and the smell of pine brought a kind of release to the heart, together with a deep-down wish for something, something more than battles, perhaps not battles at all, something realised, even then, as nebulous, blissful, all but unattainable: a feeling of uneasiness, profound and oppressive, yet oddly pleasurable at times, at other times so painful as to be almost impossible to bear.

Anthony Powell; The Kindly Ones
[Contributed by John Gould]


Quotable Powell #20 [2 February 2003]

I began to brood on the complexity of writing a novel about English life, a subject difficult enough to handle with authenticity even of a crudely naturalistic sort, even more to convey the inner truth of the things observed ... Intricacies of social life make English habits unyielding to simplification, while understatement and irony – in which all classes of this island converse – upset the normal emphasis of reported speech ... Even the bare facts had an unreal, almost satirical ring when committed to paper, say in the manner of innumerable Russian stories of the nineteenth century: 'I was born in the city of L-, the son of an infantry officer ...' To convey much that was relevant to the reader's mind by such phrases was in this country hardly possible. Too many factors had to be taken into consideration.

Anthony Powell; The Acceptance World
[Contributed by John Perry]

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