30 March 2008

Quotable Powell 50 - 54

Quotable Powell #54 [29 January 2007]

Cocksidge's demeanour to his superiors always recalled a phrase used by Odo Stevens when we had been on a course together at Aldershot:"Good morning, Sergeant-Major, here's a sparrow for your cat."Cocksidge was, so to speak, in a chronic state of providing, at a higher level of rank, sparrows for sergeant-majors' cats.

Anthony Powell, The Soldier's Art
[Contributed by Keith Marshall]


Quotable Powell #53 [1 January 2007]

Such prodigious gifts might seem the stuff of fiction, and sure enough, Lambert was the model for Hugh Moreland, one of the principal characters in Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time. Indeed, the fictional Lambert at one time seemed more likely to be remembered than the real one, who died of drink two days short of his 46th birthday and was promptly relegated to deepest obscurity ...

Terry Teachout, "A British Bad Boy Finds His Way Back Into the Light" (story about Constant Lambert), New York Times, 02 May 1999
[Contributed by John Gould]


Quotable Powell #52 [9 December 2006]

In the more bookish areas of English middle-class society, whenever a coincidence occurs there is usually someone at hand to comment, "It's just like Anthony Powell." Often the coincidence turns out, on the shortest examination, to be unremarkable: typically, it might consist of two acquaintances from school or university running into one another after a gap of several years. But the name of Powell is invoked to give legitimacy to the event; it's rather like getting the priest to bless your car ... I don't
even care for harmless, comic coincidences. I once went out to dinner and discovered that the seven other people present had all just finished reading A Dance to the Music of Time. I didn't relish this: not least because it meant that I didn't break my silence until the cheese course.

Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot
[Contributed by Kevin Flynn]


Quotable Powell #51 [19 November 2006]

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.

Anthony Powell, The Acceptance World
[Contributed by Henke van Linde]


Quotable Powell #50 [2 September 2006]

To be circumscribed by people constituting the same professional community as myself was no wish of mine: rather the contrary. However, an inexorable law governs all human existence in that respect, ordaining that sooner or later everyone must appear before the world as he is. Many are not prepared to face this sometimes distasteful principle. Indeed, the illusion that anyone can escape from the marks of his vocation is an aspect of romanticism common to every profession: those occupied with the world of action claiming their true interests to lie in the pleasures of imagination or reflection, while persons principally concerned with imaginative or
reflective pursuits are forever asserting their inalienable right to participation in an active sphere.

Anthony Powell, The Acceptance World
[Contributed by Tom Myron]

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