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The Life in the Fiction of Ford Madox Ford

The Life in the Fiction of Ford Madox Ford

Copyright Date: 1980
Pages: 370
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  • Book Info
    The Life in the Fiction of Ford Madox Ford
    Book Description:

    Author of over seventy books, including novels, poems, criticism, travel essays, and memoirs, Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939) led a troubled yet vibrant life that shaped and was shaped by his writing. Thomas Moser both identifies and celebrates this reciprocity in a blend of biography, psychology, and literary criticism.

    Originally published in 1981.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5620-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. Preface
    (pp. IX-XII)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. XIII-XIV)
    Thomas C. Moser
  5. A Chronological List of Ford’s Works
    (pp. XV-XVIII)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. XIX-3)
  7. CHAPTER ONE Death and Love in the First Twenty Years (1873-1894)
    (pp. 5-38)

    Except for his three years in military uniform, Ford was exclusively a literary man, and any solution to the Ford “prubblum” (Pound’s word)¹ will have to be found in his books. To an unusual degree, however, the world of Ford’s imagination and the events of his personal life interpenetrated; and so continuing reminders of the tortured movements of that life are necessary equipment for effective exploration of the works. Although Mizener quite understandably considers art the chief motive of Ford's life, I would put passion first. Of course, in Ford's case they are inseparable. Ford’s history is, like the subtitle...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Women and Men, I (1894-1908)
    (pp. 39-76)

    Despite Olive’s charming pictures¹ of the young Hueffers, things from the beginning did not go well in the vital matters of producing either fiction or children. Olive reports in the course of 1894 reading one Ford novel in manuscript, “The Wooing of the Wind,” and hearing of another, “The Sowing of the Oats.” (Clearly, the author ofThe Shifting of the Firewas still in a participial phase.) Both manuscripts needed extensive “working up”; neither became a book. Although Ford did publish his biography of Madox Brown in 1896, he had had, while writing it, to endure Edward Garnett’s harsh...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Women and Men, II (1909-1913)
    (pp. 77-121)

    As early as May 10, 1908, Olive had heard from Robert Garnett the “interesting news” of “Ford’s proposed Review,” and on September 9, from Edward, that theEnglish Reviewwould begin in November and would take at least one of her short stories. On February 10, 1909, she indicated misgivings: “To tea with Ford & stayed on till midnight listening to his new novel: & discussing all sorts of questions. . . . Am not now keen on appearing in the Review . . . (His secretaries & friends).” “Friends” no doubt included Violet Hunt, with whom Ford at the...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Impressionism, Agoraphobia, and The Good Soldier (1913-1914)
    (pp. 122-195)

    Ford may, or may not, have been reading Conrad’sChance—that last, most intricate instance of Mario vian impressionism—as he beganThe Good Soldier.But we know that he was reading James, since the book he wrote just beforeThe Good Soldierwas hisHenry James,begun immediately after the completion ofThe Young Lovellon July 7, in proof by September 2, though not published until January 1, 1914.¹

    The very last words in Ford’s book on James are“The Golden Bowl.”That novel echoes inThe Good Soldierso strikingly as to have inspired an ingenious if...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Toward Parade’s End (1914-1923)
    (pp. 196-213)

    According to our theory, then, Marwood’s determined rejection of Ford and Conrad’s apparent withdrawal from him in 1913 so violated Ford’s innate sense of blamelessness and so exacerbated his self-loathing that only one choice remained: to expunge Joseph Leopold Ford Hermann Madox Hueffer. By 1913 he had experienced much of the history of the typical, gifted, middle-aged, middleclass male suicide: early evidence of instability and disregard for the truth; rejection by father; early death of father; multiple marriages; heavy drinking; fluctuations in income; physical disability, especially involving shortness of breath; talk of self-destruction; a competitive or selfabsorbed spouse.² But by...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Parade’s End as Christmas Pantomime (1924-1928)
    (pp. 214-254)

    TheParade’sEnd tetralogy intends to show how Christopher Tietjens, the last of the Tories, learns to accept himself and live in the modern world. This self-awareness comes about through a series of painful experiences in love and war. InSome Do Not,Christopher, the saintly mealsack, not only agrees to take back his unfaithful bitch of a wife Sylvia, but also manages it so that no one except his best friend Vincent Macmaster even knows she ran off with another man. Simultaneously, Christopher and young, forthright Valentine Wannop fall in love; since, however, “some (that is, the best) do...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN The Double Novels (1928-1934)
    (pp. 255-277)

    The relative weakness ofLast Postwas an unhappy portent. With the separation from Stella in 1928 came a severe, but temporary, decline in the quality of Ford’s fiction.A Little Less Than GodsandWhen the Wicked Manare interesting chiefly for biographical reasons and for their connections with Ford’s last fictional successes,The Rash Actand its sequel,Henry for Hugh. A Little Less Than Godsis his fictional farewell to Joseph Conrad,When the Wicked Manhis most explicit experiment with the double motif he subsequently uses for bidding farewell to Marwood.

    The immediate source ofA...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT Coda (1935-1939)
    (pp. 278-296)

    Happily the cessation of fiction writing and the relative in feriority ofIt Was the NightingaletoReturn to Yesterdaydid not at all betoken the end to Ford’s final renaissance. Rather, his creative fire went wholly into four big works, which combine romantic reminiscence, travel writing, literary criticism, history, and prophecy. It is, of course, impossible to know why Ford had his last renewal and why he stopped producing novels. The triumph ofThe Good Soldierseems to have issued in part out of his belief that he would die soon. His heart attack in December 1930 and the...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 297-334)
  16. Index
    (pp. 335-349)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 350-350)