What a blunder I have made - deciding to read Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honour Trilogy and Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time cycle simultaneously
Both deal with much the same class of people and both describe events in a similar era. Had I read one and then, several years later, embarked upon the other, I might never have realised that one of them is merely good, while the other is a great work of art, written by someone who was exceptionally perceptive about humanity.
I wonder if anyone else thinks the same and, if so, whether they agree about which is the great work and which the merely good. Mind you, the one that is not great is, to quote, possibly, (there is some argument about whether he actually said it about himself), Somerset Maugham, "in the top rank of the second-rate".