From a View to a Death

by Anthony Powell


From a View to a Death is the third novel by the English writer Anthony Powell. It combines comedy of manners with Powell’s usual interest in the subtleties of British 20th-century society in a bitterly funny narrative. Here, Powell begins to write in the mode that he would perfect in A Dance to the Music of Time.
Published in 1933, the novel is set largely in and around Passenger Court, the country seat of the Passenger family. In its depiction of village pageants, churchgoing, village idiots and eccentrics, and, above all, the hunt, From a View to a Death is Powell’s most rural novel. Change in setting notwithstanding, Powell’s habitually Burtonesque laughter at human foibles remains consistent.
The novel focuses on the inevitable conflict occurring when two men, each considering himself a Nietzschean Übermensch, collide. Other conflicts involve shooting rights, parent-child tensions, and, as always in Powell’s work, the dissatisfactions of romance and sex, this time including cross-dressing.

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