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ANTHONY POWELL: SOME NOTES ON THE ART OF THE SEQUENCE NOVEL

DAN MCLEOD
Studies in the Novel
Vol. 3, No. 1 (spring 1971), pp. 44-63
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29531438
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
ANTHONY POWELL: SOME NOTES ON THE ART OF THE SEQUENCE NOVEL
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Abstract

From his first novel, Anthony Powell has favored circular plots made up of nearly self-contained scenes. In his later sequence-novels he continues to favor this kind of structure: each chapter, volume, and trilogy forms a unified segment of his long sequence. Powell's themes, early and late, have dealt with the various forms of disillusionment experienced in modern society. In his later fiction, which traces the decline of England's upper class, this theme is expressed by the failure of imaginative sensibilities to survive in a society increasingly driven by the will to power. Powell's preference for dealing with characters in groups rather than singly has also continued from his earliest into his latest work. While this practice produced only flat characters in his single-volume fiction, the major characters of his sequence novels are clearly round. Finally, the long, analytical sentences that identify Powell's later style are shown to have evolved from the spare Hemingway-like sentences of his earliest novels. Besides analyzing Powell's themes and techniques, this rambling study hazards a few judgments on his social vision and novelistic artistry. It concludes with an attempt to locate him in the history of contemporary fiction. (DM)

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