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This chapter introduces the concept of Ford Madox Ford's ‘positive fictions’, and offers a way of reading Ford's dedication to his grandfather as well as to his grandfather's circle (especially the Pre-Raphaelites) that feeds into the content and the visual style of these texts. It also reintroduces the ‘woman question’, focusing on four novels that reconstruct worlds of alternative systems which emanate from the fragmented consciousness of men such as Grimshaw. These novels are The ‘Half Moon’ (1909), Ladies Whose Bright Eyes (1911), The New Humpty Dumpty (1912) and The Young Lovell (1913). In some texts, Ford investigates the contemporary rage/fear in male reactions to women, together with the healing qualities of what Carl Jung termed the female archetypes. Jung's theories, and Robert Graves's writings, are used as part of an illuminatory test of Jung's assertion that ‘our world seems to be dis-infected of witches’, when the world is Ford's positive fictions. These fictions possess roots that mean the multiple perspectives central to modernism often regenerate as well as destroy.

in Fragmenting modernism
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Ford Madox Ford admired Ivan Turgenev, so it is not surprising that one comes across ideas borrowed, perhaps, from him in the later writer's work. In this case, though, there is a development at work; a development precipitated by World War I. Turgenev's self-confessed nihilist Bazarov expresses amazement at the tenacity of human belief in words – words that, in his example, can diminish and deaden a feeling of catastrophe. Were he to find himself instead in the volumes of Parade's End (or one of a number of other war novels), Bazarov's amazement would be tempered. Ford, post-war, has lost belief in words. He is often unsatisfied with the capacity of language to express the totality of thought or experience; speech constantly ‘gives out’, to be replaced by his most characteristic grammatical tool: ellipsis. Two quotations provide a framework for an exploration into how and why sight functions in the fragmentation of war. The first is from John Keegan's book, The Face of Battle; the second from Frederic Manning's novel, The Middle Parts of Fortune.

in Fragmenting modernism

In the debate concerning precisely what constitutes a medieval ‘romance’, the Siege of Melayne occupies a special position. This poem participates in the conventions both of romance and of hagiography. The focus of such cross-generic readings is usually the character of Archbishop Turpin who has ‘as much of the saint as of the soldier in his nature’. This chapter explicates the religious content of the Siege of Melayne, exploring how hagiographic, devotional, and eucharistic themes are used to depict a Christian community characterised by strength in the face of adversity, and wholeness in the face of efforts to fragment the community. The body of Turpin, the image of the crucified Christ, and the Host each represent the Corpus Christi, the body of Christ which stands for the community of Christian souls.

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
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This chapter presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book reflects a concern to locate the New Atlantis in reference to Francis Bacon's oeuvre specifically, and to the broader cultural and historical context in which it intervenes. It examines the significance of the New Atlantis's uses of literary forms and also its relation to Sylva Sylvarum. The book argues that Bensalem represents a thoroughly technological society, whose project for the mastery of nature places religion's function in an ambiguous position. It relates the politics of the New Atlantis more directly to the immediate context of Jacobean England. The book explores the colonial expansion and Jewish toleration. It provides an analysis of the complex formulation of gender in Bacon's text, arguing against the tendency of feminist criticism to view Bacon as the founding father of a thoroughly masculinised science.

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book concerns with pain, loss or death and throws into relief a darker side to women's writing in the 1990s. The 1990s proved to be an exciting period for women's writing in France. The book shows how Christiane Baroche's use of uncertainty avoids the fixing of identities and self-other relations in a none the less realist mode of writing. It includes essays on writers whose work began to gather interest in the preceding decade but who, in the 1990s, were still in the process of becoming firmly established, like Paule Constant, Sylvie Germain, Marie Redonnet and Leila Sebbar. The book charts the ways in which contemporary women writers are themselves in the process of shaping wider literary debates.

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
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Crossing the margins

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on the history of the Atlantic archipelago. It explores paradoxes in relation to different definitions of 'the margins', a spatial concept which has had much currency but which might increasingly be questioned on theoretical, geographical and political grounds. The book offers a different perspective on the notion of marginality by addressing 'Englishness' in relation to 'migrant' writing in prose concerned with India and England after Independence. It presents the broader critical implications of postcolonial theory through analysis of its application in a specific context. The book draws on a wide range of new poetry to question simplified margin/centre relations. It also focuses on the work of cultural studies and its responses to the relationship between ethnicity and second-generation Irish musicians from Sean Campbell.

in Across the margins
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Beyond the witch trials

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the experience of and attitudes towards witchcraft from both above and below, in an age when the beliefs and 'worldview' of the 'elite' and the 'people' are often thought to have irrevocably pulled away from one another. It suggests that in Sweden and the Netherlands, as in England, the ecclesiastical courts had given up on dealing with popular magic by the early eighteenth century. The book highlights the significant role the Italian Inquisition continued to play in policing 'superstition' during the period. It describes that the parish minister was instrumental in bringing charges against her for practising magic. The book shows that Benito Feijoo's unmasking of the fraud and delusion involved did not lead him to reject completely that some people, albeit a very small number, were truly possessed.

in Beyond the witch trials
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Isaiah Berlin writes in Four Essays on Liberty that ‘historians of ideas cannot avoid perceiving their material in terms of some kind of pattern’. Where modernism is credited with a pattern, and it usually is, it is more than likely that the concept of fragmentation is prominent in it. This book puts novelist, poet, editor and critic Ford Madox Ford in context, placing him in the context of literary modernism, in which, as editor of the English Review, author of The Good Soldier and transformer of Ezra Pound's verse, he performed a vital part. Indeed, in his magisterial biography of Ford, Max Saunders writes that ‘the period of literary modernism is “the Ford era” as much as it is Pound's, or T. S. Eliot's, or James Joyce's’; Ford was ‘at the centre of the three most innovative groups of writers this century’. In addition, the language of decline, collapse and fragmentation is commonly applied by historical analysts to events and developments of the early twentieth century.

in Fragmenting modernism
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The Great War of 1914–1918 was the first ‘modern’ war, involving more spheres of human experience than perhaps any previous conflict. Whole populations were caught up in it and exhibited myriad shades of reaction to it – including, naturally, opposition. This book concentrates on those individualistic British citizens whose motivation for opposition in thought or deed was grounded upon moral, humanistic or aesthetic precepts. In his Pacifism in Britain 1914–1945: The Defining of a Faith, the historian Martin Ceadel singles out what he terms ‘humanitarian pacifism’ as a valid form of anti-war feeling, stating that it is ‘no less a dogma’ than religious or political pacifism. The years of the Great War were the formative ones that helped to mould the Bloomsbury Group into the image which would be recast by the public imagination in succeeding generations. This book explores both the past itself and the personalities of bohemian Bloomsbury, from Bertrand Russell and Ottoline Morrell to Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Paul Nash, Ivor Gurney, Mabel St Clair Stobart, Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey.

in A war of individuals
Crossing the (English) language barrier

Ireland and Scotland are marginalised and minoritised, but the experience of Marilyn Reizbaum has provoked different reactions from writers in the two countries. There are very good historical reasons for Scotland and Ireland being averse to one another, to do with Empire and Union. This chapter explores the missing middle of the vernacular in Irish writing, drawing on Edna Longley's perceptive to remark about Tom Paulin's poetic project and the vexed issue of Ulster-Scots. It is ironic that at a time when Edwin Muir was arguing for a Yeatsian model of national literature for Scotland, Irish writers were pursuing a more local/regional line, but with one difference from Scottish writers. Irish writers appear to have adhered more to Muir's insistence on English as the proper language of literary renaissance and resistance than to the opposing view of Hugh MacDiarmid, who championed the vernacular.

in Across the margins