Anthony Powell by Neil McEwan (auth.)

By Neil McEwan (auth.)

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The power and oddness of Time are not yet fully apparent. Powell would not wish us to regard themes in his work too earnestly, however. Waring's narrator has, after three years' work, not yet completed his second chapter, 'Laughter is Power'. That is more characteristic of Powell's approach to theory than the reiteration of 'power' in the novel's last paragraph. The comic balance of power between the J udkinses reftected in the two authors put to work on their unsaleable biographies is a better reminder, too, ofthe continuity in outlook which links Waring and the novels of Dance, where Nicholas J enkins mocks all those who lust for power.

No one knew this yet except hirnself. That was because he had not been one long enough yet for people to find out. They would learn all in good time; and to their cost. Nietzsche's philosophy ofthe Übermensch and the pursuit ofpower unhampered by morality is cited by Count Bobel when he teIls Lushington that girls, like cigars, should be discarded when the best has been enjoyed: 'It is the sentimental who do most harm in this world of ours. ' (34). Zouch is equally determined not to be sentimental.

By that time,' Count Scherbatcheff said, 'it was winter. ' Anti-Bolshevik animus in Powell is under proper restraint. He has none ofSaki's or Evelyn Waugh's relish for thoughts ofviolence, although he shares their interest in how detached and Novels of the 1930s 27 amused people can be about it. This appears in the coexistence of extremely polite and formal behaviour together with ferocity. Powell implies that this is how civilisation tends to be, even if not often in England - a point on which all the non-English characters insist.

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