University of Chicago Press
Miscellaneous Verdicts by Anthony Powell Summary
Miscellaneous Verdicts represents the best of Anthony Powell's critical writing over a period of four decades. Drawn from his regular reviews for the Daily Telegraph, from his occasional humorous pieces for Punch, and from his more sustained pieces of critical and anecdotal writing on writers, this collection is as witty, fresh, surprising, and entertaining as one would expect from the author of Dance to the Music of Time. Powell begins with a section on the British, exploring his fascination both with genealogy and with figures like John Aubrey, and writing in depth about writers like Kipling, Conrad, and Hardy. The second section, on America, also opens with discussions of family trees (in this case presidential ones) and includes pieces on Henry James, James Thurber, American booksellers in Paris, Hemingway, and Dashiell Hammett. Personal encounters, and absorbing incidents from the lives of his subjects, frequently fill these pages—as they do even more in the section on Powell's contemporaries—Connolly, Orwell, Graham Greene, and others. Finally, and aptly, the book closes with a section on Proust and matters Proustian, including a marvellous essay on what is eaten and drunk, and by whom, in A la Recherche du Temps Perdu. "An urbane book, quietly erudite, very sensible, highly civilized, remarkably useful."—Anthony Burgess, Observer "An acute intelligence and fastidious sense of humor make [Powell] the funniest and most profound living writer of the English language."—Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, Sunday Telegraph Anthony Powell was born in London in 1905. He is the author of seven novels, a biography of John Aubrey, two plays, a collection of memoirs, and the twelve-volume novel sequence Dance to the Music of Time.