Friday, September 05, 2008

Ford Madox Ford


Having just read Ford Madox Ford's remarkable novel "The Good Soldier" (more of which later) I wondered if I had a biography of him. He seems not to have been "done" for a while; but I did find this picture from John Tytell's "Ezra Pound: The Solitary Volcano" with Ford to the left of Joyce, Pound and John Quinn in 1922. "The Good Soldier" is nothing if not a novel about and for adults, so, even if this picture is seven years after its publication, its quite nice to see he was a man of some substance.

2 comments:

No Answers said...

Alan Judd wrote one in the early 90's, though he seemed a little too in awe of his hero. Since Ford appears to have had issues with telling the truth, and quite possibly, as Judd suggests, sincerely believed his own fabrications, it is hard to work out what really went on, and how much of Ford's personal history was wishful rather than actual. Considered in his milieu, however, Ford was an interesting literary figure, as much on account of the writers he championed as for his own works.

I personally find "The Good Soldier" a little too much (I believe "Parades End" to be a far better work). That said, TGS is interesting simply because it did sound a distinctive note in British modernism, at a time when British fiction was a veritable melting pot -- eg. Dorothy Richardson's "Pointed Roofs", Woolf's "The Voyage Out", Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", Lawrence's "The Rainbow" -- all published in 1915, the same year as "The Good Soldier" ... In the wider picture, I suspect TGS took something from Gissing and Moore as well as the "Russian influence" coming in through Constance Garnett's translations around the 1900's ...

Bournemouth Runner said...

That's really interesting - I'm certainly going to read some more. There is something a bit "too much" about "The Good Soldier" - but that's a pretty impressive 1915 Booker list, by any standards! Obviously Ford has plenty of walk on parts in the lives of Hemingway and others - I couldn't help but thinking that Gatsby owes quite alot to The Good Soldier.