"THE SUPREME COMIC NOVELIST IN ENGLAND AFTER WORLD WAR II": ANTHONY POWELL'S A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME, FIRST EDITIONS OF ALL TWELVE VOLUMES, WARMLY INSCRIBED BY HIM IN FOUR VOLUMES
POWELL, Anthony. A Dance to the Music of Time. London: William Heinemann, (1951-75). Twelve volumes. 12mo, original red cloth, original dust jackets. $21,000.
First editions of all 12 books in Powell's vast multi-volume "A Dance to the Music of Time" novel, inscribed in the years of publication by the author to bookseller and member of the social set Powell portrays in these novels, Handasyde Buchanan, in four volumes: Casanova's Chinese Restaurant—"For Handy Buchanan, with an author's deep gratitude, Tony Powell, July, 1960"; The Kindly Ones—"For Handy Buchanan, with infinite thanks from the author for untiring efforts to market these works, Tony Powell, May, 1962"; The Valley of Bones—"Handy from Tony with deep gratitude over the years, April 1964"; and Books Do Furnish a Room—"Handy, who lives in well furnished circumstances, and with the usual grateful thanks, Tony, May 1971" (Powell has also crossed out his printed name on the title page and signed his name below it). An excellent set.
"The last surviving member of that prolific, gifted generation of English writers who came out of Oxford in the mid-1920s," Powell "produced plays, literary criticism, biography and 50 years' worth of book reviews for the Daily Telegraph, but will be best remembered for a sequence of 12 novels written between 1950 and 1975, the roman-fleuve A Dance to the Music of Time… It is Powell's ability to create a universal fiction out of the dynamics, interactions and interrelations of his own relatively narrow upper-class set that accounts for the breadth of the books' appeal… When future generations wish to understand the texture of 20th-century English life, their best source will be Powell, and A Dance to the Music of Time" (John Perry). The work comprises A Question of Upbringing (1951), A Buyer's Market (1952), The Acceptance World (1955), At Lady Molly's (1957), Casanova's Chinese Restaurant (1960), The Kindly Ones (1962), The Valley of Bones (1964), The Soldier's Art (1966), The Military Philosophers (1968), Books Do Furnish a Room (1971), Temporary Kings (1973) and Hearing Secret Harmonies (1975). "The supreme comic novelist in England after World War II" (New York Times). A Buyer's Market in second-issue dust jacket, with slightly shorter front flap. Temporary Kings with belly band proclaiming the novel as the winner of the WHSmith Annual Literary Award. Recipient Handasyde "Handy" Buchanan was the co-owner of renowned bookshop G. Heywood Hill—hence the reference in Powell's inscription to Buchanan's "untiring efforts to market these works." Buchanan was known as an opinionated Scottish socialist who also corresponded with Evelyn Waugh.
The first volume, A Question of Upbringing, book fine, dust jacket with 1-1/4-inch chip from spine head affecting title, spine folds split, chip to front panel, otherwise clean and presentable. Remaining volumes fine to near-fine; dust jacket of Temporary Kings with several closed tears along slightly darkened spine, very good; dust jacket of The Acceptance World with chips to spine ends, extremely good; A Buyer's Market and The Soldier's Art dust jackets price-clipped; remaining dust jackets generally bright and near-fine. Overall a very attractive set, most desirable inscribed by Powell in four volumes.