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A Question Of Upbringing (Dance to the Music of Time 01) (original 1951; edition 2005)

by Anthony Powell

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6902013,798 (3.64)1 / 100
Member:JonnySaunders
Title:A Question Of Upbringing (Dance to the Music of Time 01)
Authors:Anthony Powell
Info:Arrow (2005), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Owned - Kindle Copy, Read, Your library
Rating:***
Tags:1001 Books, A Dance to the Music of Time

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A Question of Upbringing by Anthony Powell (1951)

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English (19)  Dutch (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
A good start. I liked this book. Interesting that we see the world through Jenkins eyes, and so we learn a lot more about the people in his life, and just a little about his. ( )
  AmieB7 | Jan 21, 2016 |
This is the first book in a 12 book serial novel where the main characters are introduced. It is a very enjoyable read with lots of humor and wit and has a great sense of time and place that leaves you wanting to read more. I'm looking forward to Book 2 in order to see where the story is headed next. ( )
  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
Book 1. Rating and review to come at the end of the 12 volume book. ( )
  JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
A Question of Upbringing Anthony Powell
★★★

Book 1 in the Dance to the Music of time series

This book introduces us to the narrator Jenkins as a school boy when he is finding his feet with his friends Stringham and Templer and the outsider Widmerpool it covers his going up to University and making friends with Don Siller who has a gathering of students he takes under his wing.

There is not really a lot to say about this book as when you look back over what you have read not a lot has actually happened
( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
This is the opening volume in Anthony Powell's celebrated twelve novel, largely autobiographical sequence "A Dance to the Music of Time", recounted by Nicholas Jenkins, a barely disguised cipher for Powell himself.

Let me first declare an interest. I have read this sequence many times before, and have been writing (for what seems like several years) a detailed analysis of it and other "romans fleuves" (including Proust's "A la recherche du temps perdu", C. P. Snow's "Strangers and Brothers" and Simon Raven's "Alms for Oblivion"), so I am rather biased.

The first thing to say is that this is not a novel in which much actually happens, though the portrayals of characters and the observations of their interactions are acute and highly entertaining. "A Question of Upbringing" introduces us to Jenkins himself (though one of the most striking aspects of the whole sequence is how relatively little we ever seem to learn about Jenkins/Powell) along with several characters who will feature throughout the rest of the canon.

It opens in the early 1920s with Jenkins attending a school (clearly Eton, though never formally identified as such) where his closest confreres are Charles Stringham and Peter Templer, with whom Jenkins strikes up close bonds. Stringham, who comes from a wealthy but broken home, leaves the school early on in the book, going off to East Africa to spend some time with his estranged father. Jenkins and Templer remain at the school a bit longer until Templer also departs. Other notable characters to whom we are introduced in this section include Le Bas, a querulous yet also long-suffering schoolmaster with aesthetic aspirations, and Widmerpool, a slightly older pupil than Jenkins and his friends, who is notable principally for his lack of conformity.

As the story moves on we join Jenkins on a visit to Templer's home where he is introduced to Jean, Templer's sister, with whom he promptly falls in (unrequited) love and Sunny Farebrother, a seemingly down-at-heel ex-soldier who is trying to carve out a career in The City. After leaving Templer's home Jenkins spends a few weeks in France, ostensibly to learn the language, and re-encounters Widmerpool with whom he develops a stronger acquaintance than had been possible at school. Finally he moves on to Oxford where he studies history. Here we meet Sillery, a politically active don, Mark Members, a self-appointed aesthete, and Quiggin, a "professional" northerner with highy radical views. Stringham reappears, back from his Kenyan sojourn.

The summary above completely fails to do justice to the beauty of the writing (the first four pages are among the most marvellous excerpts of prose I have encountered), the acute observation of the interaction of people of different classes, and the muted humour. This novel also sets the slightly melancholic tone that underpins much of the sequence, though Powell never allows this to become oppressive. A beautiful opening to an engrossing sequence. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Sep 26, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Powell, Anthonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Laine, JarkkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leistra, AukeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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FOR T.R.D.P.
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The men at work at the corner of the street had made a kind of a camp for themselves, where, marked out by tripods hung with red hurricane-lamps, an abyss in the road led down to a network of subterranean drainpipes.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The "Dance to the Music of Time (Seasons)" are omnibus editions
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Who is Widmerpool? This question is to dog Nicholas Jenkins from the time he watched his awkward schoolmate on a solitary crosscountry run. Unexceptional, unsmart, even unpopular, Widmerpool drops in and out of Jenkins life as he moves from school to university and London society. It is the 1920s, and Englands gilded youth has begun its dance to the music of time.… (more)

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