Anthony Powell (1905–2000). Important figure in mid-20th century fiction, known for his 12-volume sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time (1951–1975). Powell was born in London, the son of an Army officer, and he was educated at Eton and Oxford. After finishing his degree, he went to work in a publishing house, producing his first novel, Afternoon Men, in 1931. In 1934, he married Lady Violet Georgiana Pakenham, daughter of the fifth earl of Longford, who raised two children with him and enjoyed a literary career of her own. Powell served in the army during the Second World War, working as an intelligence officer and liaison to governments in exile. After leaving the service, he began his ambitious series of novels, publishing the first, A Question of Upbringing, in 1951. The series traces the experiences of Nicholas Jenkins, a character not unlike Powell himself. Named after a painting by the French artist Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665), the sequence covers more than 50 years of Jenkins’s life and is now valued chiefly for its witty commentary on upper-class English society.
[Courtesy: Professor Timothy Spurgin]