There is no question that A la recherche du temps perdu was one of the preconditions of A Dance to the Music of Time, which could not have been written without the formal breakthrough A la recherche represented. But Lermontov and Fitzgerald were equally, in certain respects perhaps more, important as inspirations. Anthony Powell was no one’s epigone. When he is set beside Proust, it is not the connections between them, but the disparities in reception that are most significant. The literature on Proust is an ocean, at the latest count more than three thousand titles. On Powell, fewer than a dozen: seven studies from America, one each from France, Japan, Switzerland – and one from Britain. Figures like these have no conceivable relation to respective achievement. They call for other kinds of explanation. More
While approximately 80 per cent of the enslaved children born to white fathers in 18th and early 19th-century Jamaica remained in slavery, thousands of elite ‘coloured’ or ‘brown’ boys and girls were sent to England or Scotland to be educated, either in the hope of improving their prospects when they eventually returned to the island or in the expectation that there would be a better life for them here rather than there. More
In police files, as I found from my own Polish dossier, it’s not only a younger half-forgotten self that you meet. It is also an unrecognisable stranger – yourself, as others have seen you. For nearly thirty years, hundreds of thousands of people have been reading their secret police files, the records of surveillance, denunciation and manipulation compiled by the spooks of communist Europe. Nobody, I think, remains quite the same after reading their file. More
VIDEO Grenfell: The End of an Experiment?
Anthony Wilks investigates the history of Kensington and Chelsea Council. Watch »