05 March 2019

#163 Politics

[I]n those days I took a highly romantic view, not only of love, but also of such things as politics and government: supposing, for example, that eccentricity and ineptitude were unknown in circles where they might, in fact, be regarded – at least so far as the official entertaining of all countries is concerned – almost the rule rather than the exception.

Anthony Powell; A Buyer´s Market
Contributed by Peter Kislinger

14 January 2019

#162: Company

I am sure you will agree with me, Lady Warminster, in thinking, so far as company is concerned, enough is as bad as a feast, and half a loaf in many ways preferable to the alternative of a whole one or the traditional no bread. How enjoyable, therefore, to be just as we are.

Anthony Powell; Casanova's Chinese Restaurant

15 December 2018

#161 Growing Old

Compensations for growing old are worth putting on record as the condition asserts itself. The first is a vantage point gained for acquiring embellishments to narratives that have been unfolding for years beside one's own, trimmings that can even appear to supply the conclusion of a given story, though finality is never certain, a dimension always possible to add. The other mild advantage endorses a keener perception for the authenticities of mythology, not only of the traditional sort, but – when such are any good – the latterday mythologies of poetry and the novel.

Anthony Powell; Hearing Secret Harmonies
Contributed by Levi Stahl

29 October 2018

#160 Blackhead's Home

The stairs above the second floor led up into a rookery of lesser activities, some fairly obscure of definition. On these higher storeys dwelt the Civil branches and their subsidiaries, Finance, Internal Administration, Passive Air Defence, all diminishing in official prestige as the altitude steepened. Finally the explorer converged on attics under the eaves, where crusty hermits lunched frugally from paper bags, amongst crumb-powdered files and documents ineradicably tattooed with the circular brand of the teacup. At these heights, vestiges of hastily snatched meals endured throughout all seasons, eternal as the unmelted upland snows. Here, under the leads, like some unjustly confined prisoner in the Council of Ten, lived Blackhead. It was a part of the building rarely penetrated, for even Blackhead himself preferred on the whole to make forays on others, rather than that his own fastness should be invaded.

Anthony Powell; The Military Philosophers
Contributed by Karen Langley

15 September 2018

#159 Orlando

[Mrs. Conyers] "Have you read anything else interesting, Nicholas? I always expect people like you to tell me what to put down on my library list."
"I've been reading something called Orlando," said the General. "Virginia Woolf. Ever heard of it?"
[Nicholas Jenkins:] "I read it when it first came out."
"What do you think of it?"
"Rather hard to say in a word."
"You think so?"
He turned to Frederica.
"Ever read Orlando?"
"No", she said. "But I've heard of it."
"Bertha didn't like it", he said.
"Couldn't get on with it", said Mrs. Conyers, emphatically ...
"Odd stuff, Orlando", said the General, who was not easily shifted from his subject. "Starts about a young man in the fifteen-hundreds. Then, about eighteen-thirty, he turns into a woman. You say you've read it?"
"Did you like it? Yes or no?"
"Not greatly."
"You didn't?"
"The woman can write, you know."
"Yes, I can see that. I still didn't like it."

Anthony Powell; At Lady Molly's
Contributed by Peter Kislinger