Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time (Paperback)
The author of the award-winning Matisse: A Life gives us the definitive biography of writer Anthony Powell--and takes us deep into the heart of twentieth-century London's literary life.
Insightful, lively, and enthralling, this biography is as much a brilliant tapestry of a seminal era in London’s literary life as it is a revelation of an iconic literary figure. Best known for his twelve-volume comic masterpiece, A Dance to the Music of Time, the prolific writer and critic Anthony Powell (1905–2000) kept company between the two world wars with rowdy, hard-up writers and painters—and painters’ models—in the London where Augustus John and Wyndham Lewis loomed large. He counted Evelyn Waugh and Henry Green among his lifelong friends, and his circle included the Sitwells, Graham Greene, George Orwell, Philip Larkin, and Kingsley Amis. Drawing on letters, diaries, and interviews, Hilary Spurling—herself a longtime friend of Powell’s as well as an award-winning biographer—has produced a fresh and powerful portrait of the man and his times.
About the Author
HILARY SPURLING is the author ofbiographies of Matisse, Pearl Buck, Ivy Compton-Burnett, and Paul Scott, among others. She won the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize for Ivy When Young, the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for Matisse the Master, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Burying the Bones. She was Theatre Critic and Literary Editor of the Spectator from 1964 to 1970, and has since been a regular book reviewer for the Observer and the Daily Telegraph. In 2016 she won the Biographers' Club Lifetime Achievement Award.
“An elegant, affectionate biography.” —John Banville, The New Republic
“A shrewd, judicious biography. . . . Spurling is one of Britain’s finest biographers.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Excellent and vivid. . . . Powell emerges from this exemplary and deliciously readable account not only as a novelist of considerable significance . . . but also as a human being of great wit, impressive modesty and firm integrity. He is, as Proust was before him, the great literary chronicler of his culture in his time.” —Claire Messud, The Guardian
“[Spurling] is a superb biographer . . . and this new book is everything readers have come to expect from her. It’s thorough, judicious and gracefully written.” —The New Yorker
“A meticulous biography that deftly connects the life and work. . . . Where Spurling excels is in her punchy analyses of his novels and her understanding of the writer’s life.” —The Financial Times
“The definitive account of Anthony Powell, one of the most prominent and respected 20th-century writers. . . . Spurling is especially good at delineating Powell’s many relationships with . . . leading literary figures.” —Library Journal (Starred Review)
“In this biography, Powell gets what he deserves—a biographer of wide sympathy and human understanding, in tune with a style of manners and a way of thinking that is slowly vanishing. . . . Powell was a writer as self-doubting and as shockingly original as Beckett. It’s good to have a commentator who understands that.” —Philip Hensher, Spectator (London)