19 May 2018

#156 General Conyers

When I wrote earlier in these Memoirs of Alfred Turner – a general, a distant relation, an eccentric – I saw at once that General Turner (among other things keen on psychical research) could be marked down as model for General Conyers in my novel.  So far as General Conyers had a model (he is in any case composite in his role of courtier), that was a cousin on my mother's side, Brigadier-General RLA Pennington (grandson of the Peninsular veteran and in his regiment), a soldier of altogether different stamp from Major-General Sir Alfred Turner.  The latter never crossed my mind when projecting General Conyers, but the principle is thereby illustrated of the novelist's attempt to create a 'character' based on someone known, who will be of more universal application than the mere sketching (as in Memoirs) of a familiar figure.  To the novelist the characters in his novel are known as those in a dream are known; the texture too complicated to be explained.

Anthony Powell; Infants of the Spring