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Last Post 3
After very serious delays, not altogether unexpected in the midst of a global pandemic, the third issue of Last Post is finally available and on its way to members of the Ford Madox Ford Society.
This issue includes a piece on Ford and C. H. Sisson, and one on Ford and the novelist Gilbert Cannan. There's the first part (of two) of a study of Parade's End's critical reception since the four volumes first appeared in the 1920s; contributions from our three regular columnists; and a review of Helen Chambers' Conrad's Reading.
Preparations for the fourth issue are already well-advanced.
The eminent literary theorist and Shakespeare scholar Catherine Belsey, Professor Emeritus at Swansea University, has died. She gave a keynote at the hugely enjoyable 2013 Ford Madox Ford conference in Swansea and her essay, ‘The Good Soldier: Ford’s Postmodernist Novel’, led off the collection, edited by Max Saunders and Sara Haslam, which was published to celebrate the centenary of The Good Soldier’s publication in 1915.
A new favourite?
Fordian horse-racing enthusiasts will surely have noticed a three-year-old colt named Ford Madox Brown (sire: Oasis Dream, Dam: Bruxcelina), a winner at Lingfield just before Christmas 2020. His owner is Mr Anthony Hogarth, so the partnership is an impeccably artistic one.
Recording Available of Jason Andrew’s online talk
There’s a recording of the recent online event, ‘Biala (1903-2000): The Rash Acts of Rescue and Escape’, a fascinating talk by Jason Andrew, curator of the Biala Estate, with Biala’s letters splendidly voiced by Julia Gleich. The link is: https://youtu.be/W8x21VbWqvc.
The talk was given under the auspices of the Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art, Inc., in New York. Our thanks to Executive Director Rachel Stern and the Fritz Ascher Society
New audiobook: Parade's End
A recent title from The Audio Book Producers is Ford’s Parade's End (35 hours 12 minutes) read by acclaimed actor Bill Nighy, who is also an honorary member of the Ford Society.
Available through the usual outlets:
On unreliable narrators
Richard Horton drew on Ford’s The Good Soldier to make his point about unreliable narrators: ‘Which is Dowell—deceitful or truthful? And here is the point regarding this COVID-19 syndemic.* As elation begins to colour our future, there may be a temptation to revise the story of the past year. To let sleeping dogs lie. To agree that no one could have predicted the consequences of this coronavirus. To look forward, not back. To forgive. To move on. This absolution, this desire for reconciliation, would be a colossal mistake.’
See ‘Offline: the danger of unreliable narrators’ (23 January 2021) in The Lancet:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd.
*A syndemic, or synergistic epidemic, refers to the idea that the damage caused by the virus is compounded by the presence of other conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Ford's Fifth Queen trilogy
Eamon Duffy’s ‘In defence of More, a man of principle’ (TLS, 13 November 2020), cites Ford’s Fifth Queen trilogy as ‘the high point of Victorian and Edwardian fictionalizations of the Tudor reformations’, though he remarks that, while Ford’s use of ‘a modernized version of Tudor diction has been praised’, twenty-first century readers ‘are likely to be daunted by its archaism’. He also comments that the trilogy ‘plays fast and loose with the facts of history, a freedom Ford justified on the grounds that “The accuracies I deal in are the accuracies of my impressions”’.