Anthony Dymoke Powell (pronounced ‘pole’) (1905-2000) was named one of Britain’s 50 ‘Greatest Writers since 1945’ in 2008 and continues to influence modern readers with his epic work ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’.
The English novelist wrote what is one of the longest fictional works in English literature by basing its contents on a painting by Nicolas Poussin.
Published between 1951 and 1975, ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’ comprises 12 volumes and depicts English life in all its forms during the mid 20th century – politics, culture and military life are all put under the spotlight, often in a humourous way. Powell was a good friend of fellow writer, Evelyn Waugh, whom he had met in Oxford as a young man and with whom he met up with again upon his return to London in 1926.
Meanwhile, Henry Vincent Yorke (1905-1973) wrote under the name Henry Green and was considered in the same realm as fellow novelist Virginia Woolf when it came to quality literature. Indeed, his work has been called some the most important in English modernist literature and include the famous novel ‘Loving’, which tells the tale of servants living below the stairs of an Irish country house during WW2 and what they got up to whilst their employers were away with the war.
Henry Green was another Oxford student, but like Evelyn Waugh, left without a degree, instead, returning home to Birmingham to work in the family business, during which time he wrote his second book, ‘Living’, inspired by his experiences in the factory.