Virtual Course | Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time with Wesley Stace [in progress]

Date / Time

  • November 9, 2021
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • December 14, 2021
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • January 11, 2022
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • February 8, 2022
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Location

Registration

  • Tuition for this course is $500 for the full course or $150 for each semester.
  • Rosenbach members receive a 10% discount on tuition.
  • Not a member? We invite you to join upon registration. Click here for more information about membership.
  • This course is limited to participants who are 17 years of age or older.
  • Two complimentary tickets to visit The Rosenbach are included with your paid registration for this virtual course. You will receive the discount code in your email confirmation and tickets can be booked here. Please check your spam folder for your email confirmation and contact us at [email protected] with any questions.
  • This program will be held on Zoom. After registration, you will receive the link via email.

Register for the Full Course

Description

Reading all twelve novels of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time over one year with novelist and musician Wesley Stace. You can register for the full course here or individual semesters with the links below. 

A Dance to the Music of Time, a twelve-volume set of novels by Anthony Powell, was published between 1951 and 1975. Powell’s own life (1905-2000) spanned the 20th Century and his masterpiece reflects this, examining English political, cultural and military life from 1920. 

A Dance to the Music of Time is unrivaled in English literature for its architecture, advance planning, scope, and humour. Although Powell has been described as “the English Proust”, the novels are essentially comic, if sometimes bleakly so; V. S Pritchett likened the tone to “Proust as translated by P.G. Wodehouse”. What’s more – while it is reductive to think of the novel as entirely autobiographical – almost everything in the entire sequence, or a version thereof, including many of the characters, was drawn from Powell’s own life. 

The books themselves are relatively slim, so this won’t involve a lot of reading. Instead, and in the leisurely way I think Powell himself would have wanted, we can explore the changing social milieu, the sources of the memorable characters (some composites, others with very specific models), the paintings and other pieces of art so central both to the novel and Powell’s technique, his inimitable style, and the way Powell exploits his own autobiography to bring the Dance to life: a world of suicidal composers, femme fatales, occultists, cult leaders, passé authors, promising poets, failed novelists, unreliable uncles, vaudeville entertainers, generals and majors, disreputable antique dealers, and manipulative dons all of whom circle round the narrator in the dance to the music of time. 

We’ll read them in the following order,Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time Syllabus. You can register for the entire year here or by the season with the links below.  

Spring

1. A Question of Upbringing (1951) – March 9 

2. A Buyer’s Market (1952) – April 13 

3. The Acceptance World (1955) – May 11 

Register for the Spring Semester

Summer

4. At Lady Molly’s (1957) – June 15 

5. Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant (1960) – July 13 

6. The Kindly Ones (1962) – August 10 

Register for the Summer Semester

Autumn

7. The Valley of Bones (1964) – September 14 

8. The Soldier’s Art (1966) – October 12 

9. The Military Philosophers (1968) – November 9 

Register for the Autumn Semester

Winter

10. Books Do Furnish a Room (1971) – December 14 

11. Temporary Kings (1973) – January 11 

12. Hearing Secret Harmonies (1975) – February 8  

Register for the Winter Semester

 

About the Instructor

Wesley Stace was born in Hastings in 1965. Since 1988, he has released many albums under the name John Wesley Harding – his most recent, 2018’s Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding, with the Jayhawks as his backing band – and recorded duets with, among others, Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed and Rosanne Cash. He has published four novels, including the international bestseller Misfortune, and he co-wrote Mark Morris’ 2019 memoir Out Loud. He has taught his course Novel Beginnings at Swarthmore and Fairleigh Dickinson; whereas at Princeton he taught a course in song and lyric-writing with the poet Paul Muldoon. He also created John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders, a monthly show that plays at New York City’s City Winery. The New Yorker called it “one of the finest nights of entertainment this city has to offer.” He lives in Philadelphia and has recently taught a course on Dickens’ David Copperfield for The Rosenbach. 

 

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