A Dance to the Music of Time is a 12-volume roman-fleuve by English writer Anthony Powell, published between 1951 and 1975 to critical acclaim. The story is an often comic examination of movements and manners, power and passivity in English political, cultural and military life in the mid-20th century.

The sequence is narrated by Nicholas Jenkins. At the beginning of the first volume, Jenkins falls into a reverie while watching snow descending on a coal brazier. This reminds him of “the ancient world—legionaries … mountain altars … centaurs …” These classical projections introduce the account of his schooldays, which opens A Question of Upbringing.

Over the course of the following volumes, he recalls the people he met over the previous half a century and the events, often small, that reveal their characters. Jenkins’s personality is unfolded slowly, and often elliptically, over the course of the novels.