Free eBook: The University of Chicago Press continues to offer one free e-book every month. While most of these are academically challenging, this month’s free selection is excellent. The December 2010 free e-book selection is Anthony Powell’s A Question of Upbringing- Book 1 of A Dance to the Music of Time. Get it at http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ebooks/free_ebook.html
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Anthony Powell’s universally acclaimed epic A Dance to the Music of Time offers a matchless panorama of twentieth-century London. Now, for the first time in decades, readers in the United States can read the books of Dance as they were originally published—as twelve individual novels—but with a twenty-first-century twist: they’re available only as e-books. (See a list of all the volumes.)
A Question of Upbringing (1951) introduces us to the young Nick Jenkins and his housemates at boarding school in the years just after World War I. Boyhood pranks and visits from relatives bring to life the amusements and longueurs of schooldays even as they reveal characters and traits that will follow Jenkins and his friends through adolescence and beyond: Peter Templer, a rich, passionate womanizer; Charles Stringham, aristocratic and louche; and Kenneth Widmerpool, awkward and unhappy, yet strikingly ambitious. By the end of the novel, Jenkins has finished university and is setting out on a life in London; old ties are fraying, new ones are forming, and the first steps of the dance are well underway.
“One of the most important works of fiction since the Second World War.… The novel looked, as it began, something like a comedy of manners; then, for a while, like a tragedy of manners; now like a vastly entertaining, deeply melancholy, yet somehow courageous statement about human experience.”—Naomi Bliven, New Yorker
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