The Widmerpool Award

by Chris Bertram on September 22, 2004

Over at his blog, Stephen Pollard reproduces his own article from the Times . A few paragraphs:

The Anthony Powell Society is to give its annual Widmerpool award this year to the journalist Sir Max Hastings. The award is in honour of Kenneth Widmerpool, one of the 20th century’s great fictional characters, a recurring presence in Powell’s series of novels, A Dance to the Music of Time.
According to the society: “Widmerpool is variously pompous; self-obsessed and self-important; obsequious to those in authority and a bully to those below him. He is ambitious and pushy; ruthless; humourless; blind to the feelings of others; and has a complete lack of self-knowledge.”
The description is redolent of so many characters in public life that more must be made of it.

Indeed, Stephen, indeed ….

{ 5 comments }

1

John Kozak 09.23.04 at 12:18 am

Who got the Pamela Flitton award?

2

John Quiggin 09.23.04 at 12:30 am

I think I have first claim on the JG Quiggin award.

3

will 09.23.04 at 3:20 am

Working our way down the Modern Library’s list of the top fifty 20th century novels, we had an all-night reading of _A Question of Upbringing_ last Friday. It was decided we wouldn’t attempt the whole series.

4

dave heasman 09.23.04 at 10:05 am

“we had an all-night reading of A Question of Upbringing last Friday. It was decided we wouldn’t attempt the whole series.”

Depends where you live, up to a point. A sympathetic portrait of Eton in the early 20s may not ring many bells in Nebraska or Chittagong.
I started, accidentally, with “A Buyer’s Market”, which is a bit more “universal”.
How Pollard/Widmerpool-like to fail to appreciate the applicability. I wouldn’t wish his nemesis on anybody, mind, nor Stringham’s come to think of it.

5

will 09.24.04 at 3:59 am

The decision was made beforehand, for reasons of human physical capacity, not because we didn’t like or anticipated not liking the series. I suppose we could work through the other novels, but we have 40 odd more books on the list to read.

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