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Title: The uses of art in the fiction of Anthony Powell with special reference to 'A dance to the music of time'
Author: Tan, Ngiap Leng.
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 1990
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This thesis examines Anthony Powell's technique and style in A Dance to the Music of Time. These can only be fully appreciated through an understanding of the wealth of allusion, metaphor and quotation in the text. Drawn from a wide variety of sources, these are the filters through which the narrator Nicholas Jenkins both perceives and presents his view of life, and extends the possibilities of the first person narrative. The forms of art which for Nicholas constitute a parallel world to that of actual existence, and also the metaphorical means of apprehending while portraying everyday reality, are shown to be the analytical tools with which "the eternal question of what constitutes experience" may be pondered. , r Powell's narrative is one that openly exhibits and plays upon its fictional nature, absorbing and parodying the plastic, visual and dramatic arts as well as the work of other authors. It is this chameleon quality of the text that allows theme, character and situation to be illuminated in a wholly original way, varied yet precise, and which forms the focus of this study. I . ../ The thesis begins by analyzing Powell's five early novels i,n orde,r to demonstrate t~e genesis of his methods. Then the structure of A Dance to the Music of Time is examined showing how the organization of the work q~mtributes towards the meanings. . The full effect of Powell's work is gained by the rich intermingling of art 2 forms, the necessary division into separate components for study detracting from its true flavour. The next section of the thesis therefore takes a' look at the venetian sequences of Temporary Kings, a fine example of the arts working in cumulative combination. This is followed by chapters on the arts as used by Powell considered individually. Key examples, the "presiding ikons" of the text, are closely examined with the aim of demonstrating the function of the arts in the narrative. Though numerous minor allusions are also considered, the thesis seeks to be exemplary rather than exhaustive. A thread that runs through the whole thesis is the aim of deciphering the reticent and elusive character of the narrator. Revealing little in action Nicholas is indicated everywhere in a self-reflexive text that is a c' portrait of an artist at work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available