11 October 2002
POWELL, Anthony Dymoke. [A Dance to the Music of Time.] London: William Heinemann, 1951-1975.
12 volumes, 8o. Original red cloth; pictorial dust jackets. Provenance: Denis Wheatley (1897-1977, presentation inscription and bookplate in 11 volumes).
FIRST EDITIONS of Powell's ambitious and much-lauded sequence of 12 interconnecting autobiographical novels: A Question of Upbringing, 1951 -- A Buyer's Market, 1952 -- The Acceptance World, 1955 -- At Lady Molly's, 1957 -- Casanova's Chinese Restaurant, 1960 -- The Kindly Ones, 1962 -- The Valley of Bones, 1964 -- The Soldier's Art, 1966 -- The Military Philosophers, 1968 -- Books do Furnish a Room, 1971 (not inscribed) -- Temporary Kings, 1973 -- Hearing Secret Harmonies, 1975.
PRESENTATION COPIES, all (but one as noted) inscribed by Powell to his longtime friend, the espionage writer Denis Wheatley.
Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time is an example of the roman fleuve, or "river novel" and is intended to be read as a unity. As such, it is often compared to Marcel Proust's masterwork, A la recherche de temps perdu. Dance constitutes a sort of history of the twentieth century British life: it follows upper-middle class narrator Nicholas Jenkins and his contemporaries throughout a rapidly changing world from 1921 to 1971, with coverage weighed more heavily to the earlier years. (12)
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