17+ quotes from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement by Anthony Powell

Quotes from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement

Anthony Powell ·  718 pages

Rating: (3.6K votes)


“Later in life, I learnt that many things one may require have to be weighed against one's dignity, which can be an insuperable barrier against advancement in almost any direction. However, in those days, choice between dignity and unsatisfied curiosity was less clear to me as a cruel decision that had to be made.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“His mastery of the hard-luck story was of a kind never achieved by persons not wholly concentrated on themselves.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“Speaking about time’s relentless passage, Powell’s narrator compares certain stages of experience to the game of Russian Billiards as once he used to play it with a long vanished girlfriend. A game in which, he says,

“...at the termination of a given passage of time...the hidden gate goes down...and all scoring is doubled. This is perhaps an image of how we live. For reasons not always at the time explicable, there are specific occasions when events begin suddenly to take on a significance previously unsuspected; so that before we really know where we are, life seems to have begun in earnest at last, and we ourselves, scarcely aware that any change has taken place, are careering uncontrollably down the slippery avenues of eternity."

― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“There is always an element of unreality, perhaps even of slight absurdity, about someone you love.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“If certain individuals fall in love from motives of convenience, they can be contrasted with plenty of others in whom passion seems principally aroused by the intensity of administrative difficulties in procuring its satisfaction.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“I was relieved to find her attitude to myself suggested nothing more hostile than complete indifference.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“There is always a real and an imaginary person you are in love with; sometimes you love one best, sometimes the other.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“There is a strong disposition in youth, from which some individuals never escape, to suppose that everyone else is having a more enjoyable time than we are ourselves;”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“On most of the occasions when I visited the Ufford, halls and reception rooms were so utterly deserted that the interior might almost have been Uncle Giles's private residence. Had he been a rich bachelor, instead of a poor one, he would probably have lived in a house of just that sort: bare: anonymous: old-fashioned: draughty: with heavy mahogany cabinets and sideboards spaced out at intervals in passages and on landings; nothing that could possibly commit him to any specific opinion, beyond general disapproval of the way the world was run.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“...in those days children were rather out of fashion.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“In the break-up of a marriage the world inclines to take the side of the partner with most vitality, rather than the one apparently least to blame.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“Stringham said: 'If you're not careful you will suffer the awful fate of the man who always knows the right clothes to wear and the right shop to buy them at.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“Widmerpool had tidied himself up a little since leaving school, though there was still a kind of exotic drabness about his appearance that seemed to mark him out from the rest of mankind.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“He [Widmerpool] moistened his lips, though scarcely perceptibly. I thought his mixture of secretiveness and curiosity quite intolerable.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“This ideal conception―that one should have an aim in life―had, indeed, only too often occurred to me as an unsolved problem; but I was still far from deciding what form my endeavours should ultimately take.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“Wisdom is the power to admit that you cannot understand and judge the people in their entirety.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


“Anyway, what can one do here? I am seriously thinking of running away and joining the Foreign Legion or the North-West Mounted Police—whichever work the shorter hours.”
― Anthony Powell, quote from A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


About the author

Anthony Powell
Born place: in Westminster, The United Kingdom
Born date December 21, 1905
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