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Ford Madox Ford, the novel and the Great War
Author: Sara Haslam

This book is about Ford Madox Ford, a hero of the modernist literary revolution. Ford is a fascinating and fundamental figure of the time; not only because, as a friend and critic of Ezra Pound and Joseph Conrad, editor of the English Review and author of The Good Soldier, he shaped the development of literary modernism. But, as the grandson of Ford Madox Brown and son of a German music critic, he also manifested formative links with mainland European culture and the visual arts. In Ford there is the chance to explore continuity in artistic life at the turn of the last century, as well as the more commonly identified pattern of crisis in the time. The argument throughout the book is that modernism possesses more than one face. Setting Ford in his cultural and historical context, the opening chapter debates the concept of fragmentation in modernism; later chapters discuss the notion of the personal narrative, and war writing. Ford's literary technique is studied comparatively and plot summaries of his major books (The Good Soldier and Parade's End) are provided, as is a brief biography.

Sara Haslam

the novelist’s ability to see, and to remember, in order that a picture (which would then of course have to be compared with another example) is presented. The critical doctrine at work here is primarily regenerative, then, so long as memory allows; others do not agree, as the following debate illustrates. Trevor, in his foreword to Stang’s book, The Presence of Ford Madox Ford, states that ‘Ford shatters the surface of things and even out of the fragments creates an extra pattern of truth’.69 He uses violent imagery to reflect the crucial nature of the issue, and

in Fragmenting modernism
Sara Haslam

advisedly; the look is ‘mortifying’ because it sees to the depths of his asexual, dead, soul. I discuss this moment in The Good Soldier in Chapter 2. 3 See Chapter 5. 4 See the Introduction for discussion of this central modernist image as employed by Ford. 5 Ford Madox Ford, ‘Sologub and Artzibashef’, Outlook, 35 (26 June 1915), p. 830. 6 Saunders I, p. 382. 7 With Brigit Patmore, originally a friend of Violet Hunt, and married to Coventry Patmore’s grandson, Deighton. 8 Ford Madox Ford, The Young Lovell (London, Chatto & Windus, 1913), p. 4. 9 Caroline Gordon, The Good

in Fragmenting modernism
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Sara Haslam

Introduction The title of this book, Fragmenting Modernism, describes my dual intention in relation to its subject: novelist, poet, editor and critic Ford Madox Ford.1 Isaiah Berlin writes in Four Essays on Liberty that ‘historians of ideas cannot avoid perceiving their material in terms of some kind of pattern’.2 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.3 I put Ford in context in what follows, and this necessitates placing him in this movement, in which, as editor

in Fragmenting modernism
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Sara Haslam

used to communicate an alternative version of this novelistic task. The extent of the threat posed by women is explored, and the individual battle with sexual identity is further explained. Notes 1 D. H. Lawrence, ‘Why the Novel Matters’ in Anthony Beale (ed.), Selected Literary Criticism D. H. Lawrence (London, Heinemann, 1967). This essay was published posthumously in 1936. 2 Christopher Gillie, Movements in English Literature 1900–1940 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1975), p. 11. 3 Alan Judd, Ford Madox Ford (London, HarperCollins, 1990), p. 169. 4 See

in Fragmenting modernism
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Sara Haslam

I had destroyed life, and that I was exceedingly sinful [. . .]. [I]t was my misfortune to have from this gentle personality my first conviction – and this, my first conviction, was one of great sin, of a deep criminality.15 Despite the obvious significance of this passage (Thomas Moser quotes it in full in his autobiographical study of Ford’s fiction, The Life in the Fiction of Ford Madox Ford, as do Sondra Stang in her Reader and Max Saunders in his biography), especially to those of psychoanalytic intent, there seems to be very little in Ford’s description of

in Fragmenting modernism
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Sara Haslam

in A Call were further and more conclusively fragmented by the sustained bombardment that was the First World War. How did this international event extend already mutating literary techniques? How does the writing it provoked express and augment the fragmented nature of existence at the beginning of the twentieth century? Is sight still so significant to this fictional struggle? These questions, amongst others, will be addressed in the chapter that follows. Notes 1 Arthur Mizener, The Saddest Story: A Biography of Ford Madox Ford (New York, Carroll & Graf, 1985), p

in Fragmenting modernism
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Sara Haslam

that can be celebrated. The splintering nature of desire and of war is countered by fictional worlds that free and articulate the unconscious entirely, and Ford’s protagonists are allowed to be present at their investiture. Notes 1 Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 233. 2 Ford Madox Ford, It Was the Nightingale (1934) (New York, Ecco, 1984), p. 80. 3 Ezra Pound, ‘Affirmations . . .VI. Analysis of this Decade’, New Age, XVI (11 February 1915), p. 410. 4 Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (New York, Norton, 1995), p. 25. 5

in Fragmenting modernism
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Sara Haslam

Gay’s writing of the end of the Victorian era concentrates on The narrative push 27 purely personal geography, in contrast to Pick’s approach. ‘All cultures [. . .] place boundaries around the passions’, he suggests; ‘they construct powerful defences against murder and incest, to say nothing of derivative transgressions’.44 But, as he shows in his analysis, the personal map is being forced to change: what before was uncharted territory is now being talked about, by scientists, analysts and psychologists, and simultaneously, novelists such as Ford Madox Ford. H. G

in Fragmenting modernism
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John Marriott

existential despair it offered the modern subject an opportunity for renewal. 96 Jack London, for example, in the tradition of the urban traveller explored the abyss, recording his observations in The People of the Abyss . 97 And Ford Madox Ford, in the same journey of self-discovery, produced one of the first modernist texts – The Soul of London – which rendered impressionistically the urban landscape

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