Journals (1982-1986) by Anthony Powell - review by Nicholas Shakespeare

Nicholas Shakespeare

Diarist who Makes your Hair Stand on End

Journals (1982-1986)


Heinemann 292pp £20 order from our bookshop

About himself, Anthony Powell never revealed an awful lot in his fortnightly reviews for the Telegraph, which he sustained with great distinction over fifty years. He was not averse to giving others a pasting (for example to Geoffrey Grigson, ‘most other reviewers lacking the guts to do so’), but generally you learnt little of what he thought about contemporary fiction , or the private details – so vital to an understanding of a novelist’s craft – of his own humdrum existence.For the first time, he has decided to publish a diary, the years in question (1982-86) covering more or les the ground from where his memoirs left off. While he appreciates the pitfalls (‘that difficult art form’, he calls diary writing), Powell is unhampered by the sad fact that he

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