By Neil McEwan (auth.)
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Extra resources for Anthony Powell
They discuss the performer in chains: ' ... ' These lines are diverting as the first snare in the entrapment of the gull, but they are even more amusing in their mockery of the symbol, inevitable and banal as symbols tend to be when reduced to conversation. Other features of Agents and Patients are more interesting to those who know how they were to develop in the postwar novels than they can have been for its first reviewers. Jargon, mostly psychological here, is amusing as an incongruous element in everyday talk.
What's Become ofWaring is told in a narrative voice in wh ich Powell feit at horne, while not entirely bound to create a selfportrait. Nicholas Jenkins grew from there. The opening two paragraphs of A Question of Upbringing reveal how much more scope the new narrator has. In contrast to the reserved 'I' of Waring, and the even more laconic third-person narrators,Jenkins launches his story in a full ftow of impressions, memories mixed with thoughts and fancies, his long complex sentences also a contrast to the customary terseness ofthe earlier books.
The habit, to develop so richly in later books, is already a pleasure in Venusberg, where Mavrin, for example, looking noble in his dressing-gown, is like one of the Burghers of Calais (12). There are also early ventures with 'as if: Da Costa 'laughed again, deafeningly, as ifhe were going to go offhis head at any moment' (10). Another pleasure which must have made attentive readers remember Powell's name is the unfailing skill with talk, notable in this book, especially in Mavrin, in those who speak English weIl but as a foreign language.