08 February 2018

#153 Pepys

I thought of Pepys, and the 'great black maid'; and immediately Widmerpool's resemblance to the existing portraits of the diarist became apparent. He had the same obdurate, put-upon, bad-tempered expression. Only a full-bottomed wig was required to complete the picture.

Anthony Powell; At Lady Molly's
Contributed by Keith Marshall

02 January 2018

#152 Trapnel

Trapnel wanted, among other things, to be a writer, a dandy, a lover, a comrade, an eccentric, a sage, a virtuoso, a good chap, a man of honour, a hard case, a spendthrift, an opportunist, a raisonneur; to be very rich, to be very poor, to possess a thousand mistresses, to win the heart of one love to whom he was ever faithful, to be on the best of terms with all men, to avenge savagely the lightest affront, to live to a hundred full of years and honour, to die young and unknown but recognized the following day as the most neglected genius of the age.

Anthony Powell; Books Do Furnish a Room
Contributed by Karen Langley

26 November 2017

#151 Lewde Persons

That on 7th July 17 Eliz. [1575], one Robert Lowes of Glawstrie co. Radnor, gent., Meredith ap Thomas ap Harry ... Robert ap Griffithe ap Lewes, Robert William & Edward Smithe, in the company of one Sybell Lewes, wife of Jenn Lewes, Esq., "and also being very lighte, lewde, wylde, ryotous and disordered persons & common quarrellers", with other evil disposed persons to the number of at least 40, being all armed with swords, etc., walked up and down the town of Huntington for three hours at least, espying some person to take revenge upon.

AD Powell, "Abstracts from Miscellaneous Star Chamber Cases of the Radnor-Hereford Border", Transactions Radnorshire Society, 35 (1965), 36-42
Contributed by Keith Marshall

11 October 2017

#150 Ageing

In the seven years or so that had passed since I had last seen him, Sir Magnus Donners had grown not so much older in appearances, as less like a human being. He now resembled an animated tailor's dummy, one designed to recommend second-hand, though immensely discreet, clothes (if the suit he was wearing could be regarded as a sample) adapted to the taste of distinguished men no longer young. Jerky movements, like those of a marionette – perhaps indicating all was not absolutely well with his physical system – added to the impression of an outsize puppet that had somehow escaped from its box and begun to mix with real people, who were momentarily taken in by the extraordinary conviction of its mechanism.

Anthony Powell, The Military Philosophers
Contributed by Karen Langley

10 September 2017

#149 The Narrator

I occasionally get asked specific questions about the events of the narrative, and always point out that the story is, so to speak, merely "told over the dinner table", the Narrator only knows what he guesses or is revealed to him.

Anthony Powell in a letter to Laurie Adams Frost, 19 August 1987
Contributed by Laurie Adams Frost