Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Although Anthony Powell (pohl) produced much writing other than his long fiction, he remained primarily a novelist. Powell was an editor, an author of prefaces, a prolific book reviewer, and a screenwriter. While his miscellaneous writing includes light verse and fictional sketches, the stories, such as the ironic sequels to Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (1843) and D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928), are facile parodies, amusing but of limited interest. His skill in characterization and the fine art of gossip, basic to his major work, A Dance to the Music of Time, helps explain Powell’s empathy with a seventeenth century expert in these matters, John Aubrey, author of Lives of Eminent Men (1813; also known as Brief Lives, 1898). Powell edited Aubrey’s works and wrote a biographical study, John Aubrey and His Friends (1948, 1963). Powell also wrote two plays, The Garden God and The Rest I’ll Whistle (published together in 1971). These comedies of manners, while containing crisp dialogue and entertaining dramatic scenes, do not suggest that Powell was a dramatist manqué. Finally, wrote his memoirs, in four volumes under the general title To Keep the Ball Rolling (1976-1982). These books provide a valuable account of experiences that Powell transmuted into fiction; they also present vivid characterizations of many of Powell’s contemporaries, including Constant Lambert, the Sitwells, Evelyn Waugh, Cyril Connolly, and George Orwell. In 1990, Powell published a substantial selection of his essays and reviews, Miscellaneous Verdicts: Writings on Writers, 1946-1989, followed in 1991 by a second collection, Under Review: Further Writings on Writers, 1946-1989. Three volumes of Powell’s journals were also published between 1995 and 1997.