Miskatonic University Press

Humphries on Powell

anthony.powell literature quotes

From My Life as Me: A Memoir (2002), by Barry Humphries (the hyperlinks are mine):

John Wells and I had a number of mutual friends. Chief amongst them was John Betjeman, whom I think I had known longer than John had: since 1961 in fact. At first I used to visit Betjeman when he lived near the Church of St Bartholomew the Great, close to Smithfield Meat Market. Later I would see him and Elizabeth Cavendish in Radnor Walk, Chelsea, in a small house filled with books and pictures. Here I met Cecil Beaton and Osbert Lancaster; and sometimes at dinner there would be Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin, the latter always wearing odd socks.

“Kingsley is our Dickens; Anthony Powell, our Thackeray” declared John.

More Please (1992) (an autobiography) and this are wonderful and I highly recommend them. Until recently I only knew of Humphries as Dame Edna Everage (which I underestimated for a long time, not having seen enough of it) but the rest of his life is fascinating and filled with event, all of which is told with great wit and insight.

His 2009 appearance on Desert Island Discs makes a nice introduction to Humphries.