Saturday, January 28, 2012

At The Millions, Marjorie Hakala gives seven goof reasons why you should read Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time. (Our friend Levi pops up in the comments, and notes that narrator Nick Jenkins's oeuvre appears in the Invisible Library.)

Powell’s portrayal of servants is quite funny, actually. At the time when these books were being written, P.G. Wodehouse was already making virtuosic use of the comic possibilities of the English serving class, most famously in the form of the hyper-competent Jeeves. Powell cut against the Wodehouse grain by making his servant characters only middling in competence and by having them intrude in the life of the household at the most inconvenient times, highlighting the strangeness of two entirely different categories of person living in a house together. The aforementioned butler works for an upper-class Communist, who doesn’t want a butler or really believe in having butlers, but can’t manage his enormous house without one, and there’s a sadly droll tone to their interactions.

(Image from the Telegraph.)

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