To view the programme and to download a registration form, visit our Future Events page
Ford Madox Ford was born on 17 December 1873 and, to mark his birthday and the end of a tumultous year, Ford Society Chair Sara Haslam has written a special piece for the Wordsworth Editions blog on the topic of Ford, Brexit and Trump.
Ford, who founded and edited the transatlantic review in Paris in the 1920s, was a passionate Europhile who also spent a great deal of his time in the USA and believed in the idea of an international 'Republic of Letters'.
You can read Sara's blog here: http://www.wordsworth-editions.com/blog/ford-madox-ford-brexit-and-trump
Happy Birthday, Ford!
We are appealing for contributions to our website!
We’re looking for notes and information of all sorts. We want people to engage with the website because it is, after all, or should be, a space for Society members and Ford enthusiasts of all sorts and degrees. We want, particularly, to gather together information which is currently being shared in social media posts, personal correspondence and the websites of groups and gatherings.
What sort of things are we after? Calls for papers, conferences, meetings of other literary societies. A lot of those people interested in Ford are also interested in Pound or Woolf or Aldington; in Mansfield, H. D., Yeats, Rebecca West; in Vernon Lee or James Joyce or Robert Graves. The points of connection or overlap or affinity are innumerable, so news about those other gatherings (physical or intellectual or both) would be very welcome.
Then mentions of Ford, or Ford-related items, in reviews of other books, in opinion pieces, in books or essays or articles, perhaps new or obscure, where they haven’t been picked up before or, when they have been noticed, not widely circulated. More generally, what Ashley Chantler, in the Newsletter, used to ask for, in addition to reviews: Notes, Queries and Trouvailles (happy finds: happiness is not, in the first instance, mandatory, just the finding). Any reference, large or small, a panoramic view of the Western Front or a finger laid upon a wrist, may be of interest to Fordians.
But we’re also looking for original contributions. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece (though that would be welcome) but, for instance, a brief explanation of why you value or particularly like a less well-known Ford book. The Good Soldier, Parade’s End, the autobiographies are pretty well covered (but knowing how you discovered these texts, what drew you to them and where they led you next would be fascinating). On the other hand, are you bullish about The Benefactor? Mad about Mister Bosphorus and the Muses? Ravished by Ring for Nancy? Provoked by The Portrait? We want to hear about it. And we’d like to hear about any other offers or ideas about subjects that might be of interest.
The following are examples of recent/past contributions to the site:
'The Turgenev/Flaubert Thing', by Paul Ottaviano
'Ford's The Good Soldier Wins The Cheltenham Booker 1915 at 2015 Festival', by Alan Judd
Review: 'Biala: Vision and Memory', by Martin Stannard
And here, as a reminder of past contributions to the Society Newsletter, is a link to the 2013 edition (see p. 16 onwards for the ‘Notes, Queries, Reviews, Trouvailles’ section).
Please send any contributions, suggestions, physical or digital details, to:
Rob Hawkes, email@example.com
or Paul Lewis, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am 51 years old. I am not an academic. But I have remained a literary buff all these years. When I was a starry eyed young man of 19, I read War and Peace. After high school my intellect blossomed a bit. And I did not just read it because I was under the academic hammer; I felt a freedom with my reading and growing intellect. In fact, I read it twice, in that 18-24 demographic. I was suitably blown away by it. Moreover, I was a child of the 1960s, and some of Tolstoy’s views concerning war and other such matters appealed to me.
We are told works like War and Peace and The Brothers Karamazov are the greatest novels, and even greatest works of literature period. And we are made to feel that Ivan Turgenev was sort of a junior partner in the firm of the big three nineteenth-century Russian novelists.
However, in recent years I have come to discover this may not be the case. “Fordies” may know where I am going with this. I do not know if it was Ford Madox Ford precisely who helped me with this revelation, but he certainly sealed it for me. I did not know there was a sort of intelligentsia, or perhaps “school”. This was the Turgenev/Flaubert “school”. I did not know of the significance of “Madame Bovary”; the place it held. Parenthetically, I heard a radio talk show where a science fiction author mentioned Madame Bovary in comparison to that genre. I did not know Madame Bovary was this crystalline example: Madame Bovary v “this”—Madame Bovary v “that”.
Ford lists groups of writers he is fond of in Portraits from Life: “. . . . Conrad-James-Crane-Hudson”, and elsewhere: “. . . Flaubert-Turgenev-Conrad-James.” Ford on the hyphen!! I was struck and impressed by how Ford uses the hyphen. In The March of Literature Ford lists his favorites this way: “. . . Russo-French-Paris-American”. Ford does not always use the hyphen, but I find it striking when he does. I want to emphasize, again, how neat I think it is – the way in which Ford lists these authors with the hyphen.
Was Ford alone in recognizing this latter list of authors? Was this Ford’s own tradition?
Moreover, I was stunned and impressed by how fond of Henry James Ford is! He refers to him as “the king” and the “the master”! The “king” of what? The “king” of the modern novel!! A European: speaking so highly of an American. Further, I never knew Turgenev was Henry James’ favorite author!! I do not like what I have heard about Henry James!!
And again, I was impressed by how fond of, and with what affection Ford speaks of the Constance Garnett translations of Turgenev. (See Memories and Impressions)
Furthermore, returning to Tolstoy, many of Ford’s English contemporaries were fond of Tolstoy. H.G. Wells was known to have devoured multiple volumes of Tolstoy as they appeared in translation. Maugham said that Balzac was the greatest novelist, but War and Peace the greatest novel. And, of course, John Galsworthy was very fond of Tolstoy; and he was very fond of War and Peace. That is space for a separate study: Tolstoy and Galsworthy. (Galsworthy was more Turgenev-Maupassant-Tolstoy). I saw somewhere Ford using phrases like “social reformer” in relation to authors like Tolstoy; and what type of author, apparently, Galsworthy was to become. Parenthetically, Joyce was also fond of Tolstoy.
In Memories and Impressions Ford refers to Carlyle and Tolstoy as “. . . intolerable moralists” (rather harsh). And I thought I read that he referred to them both as: “preachy”. But I could not track down the quote, which was frustrating. Allow me to digress, because I am not going to digress - Ford has some interesting and harsh, and probably controversial, words, like the above quote, for some nineteenth century figures, like Carlyle, and others from his own British isles, and some German figures. However, I am not going down that path. This would be a heavy enough subject for a graduate thesis. In ‘These Were Strong Men’, the essay appended to Portraits from Life, Ford uses phrases like: “. . . mid-Victorian . . . moralists”, “Victorian great men” or “. . . mid-Victorian Great Figure”. Let me be honest, I do not know what Ford means by “Victorian great men” or “Victorian Great Figure”, but I have a suspicion it cannot be good!!! I guess a major theme of this writing is Ford’s relationship with Tolstoy, and the other Russians.
You know that expression: “come to think of it”? Perhaps I did hear rumblings that not everyone was dazzled by Tolstoy and Dostoevsky like me! I know that many do not care for Tolstoy’s novel Resurrection. And perhaps I have heard some feel, at times, Dostoevsky resembled a Christian zealot!!
I think Ford liked Dostoevsky better than Tolstoy. Remember, interestingly and probably most significantly, Ford closes and devotes the very last page of The March of Literature to his discussion of Dostoevsky!!
Sara Haslam writes:
The projected edition of Ford's work was one modernist case study featured at this intensive and brilliantly collegial day conference organised by Tara Thomson. By way of keynotes, panels and a roundtable discussion delegates engaged with modernist editing projects already under way (Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, Dorothy Richardson and Wyndham Lewis) or, like Ford, in development (May Sinclair).
We were treated to a range of provocative papers on the challenges and opportunities of large-scale editorial projects, and an illuminating collection of approaches to the central questions: who and what are these projects for and how do we best realise the aims that are driving them?
Discussion points from the final roundtable on Ford, Woolf and Eliot included:
How do we strike the right balance between editorial duty to the author and the reader?
What, if anything, might happen to our rules of engagement if we focused more on the idea of 'editing modernism' and less on 'modernist editing'?
How do we decide which editions produced during, and then after, an author's lifetime are 'significant'?
Fordian ellipsis, and the spaces Woolf left between sentences in her MSS, emerged as good examples of the challenges facing those editing modernism as well as modernist texts.
Thanks Tara for the invitation to contribute to this collectively energising event!
Nathan Waddell delivered the morning keynote, on editing Wyndham Lewis. His blog on the conference is here: https://drnjwaddell.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/modernism-edited/
There are still places available at the Arnold Bennett Society's conference on 4 June 2016. Please download, complete and return this form if you wish to attend.
For more information, contact email@example.com
The Day’s Programme
An Introduction to Ford Madox Ford, edited by Ashley Chantler and Rob Hawkes, was published in December 2015 by Ashgate.
For students and readers new to the work of Ford Madox Ford, this volume provides a comprehensive introduction to one of the most complex, important and fascinating authors. Bringing together leading Ford scholars, the volume places Ford's work in the context of significant literary, artistic and historical events and movements. Individual essays consider Ford's theory of literary Impressionism and the impact of the First World War; illuminate The Good Soldier and Parade's End; engage with topics such as the city, gender, national identity and politics; discuss Ford as an autobiographer, poet, propagandist, sociologist, Edwardian and modernist; and show his importance as founding editor of the groundbreaking English Review and transatlantic review. The volume encourages detailed close reading of Ford's writing and illustrates the importance of engaging with secondary sources.
'With its broad view of Ford Madox Ford's many interests and accomplishments and in its illumination of his fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, this excellent collection offers readers a man of tremendous curiosity and intellectual vitality.' Joseph Wiesenfarth, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Notes on Contributors
Introduction: The Brilliant Ford Madox Ford
Ashley Chantler and Rob Hawkes
1. Ford’s Lives
2. Conrad and Ford; Ford and Conrad
3. Towards The Good Soldier: Ford’s Edwardian Fiction
4. Ford and Modernism
5. Ford’s Literary Impressionism
6. The Good Soldier
7. Ford Among the ‘Movements, Magazines and Manifestos’
8. In the ‘Twentieth-Century Fashion’: Ford and Modern Poetry
9. Ford and the First World War
10. Parade’s End
11. Ford and the City
12. Ford and Gender
13. Ford and National Identity
14. Ford and Politics
Guide to Further Reading
Ashley Chantler is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Chester, UK.
Rob Hawkes is Senior Lecturer in English at Teesside University, UK.
For more information and to order copies, please visit: https://www.routledge.com/An-Introduction-to-Ford-Madox-Ford/Chantler-Hawkes/p/book/9781472469083
A Report from Alan Judd:
The finalists allocated to this year’s Cheltenham Booker (1915) were P.G. Wodehouse’s Psmith, Journalist, presented by Robert McCrum, Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out, presented by Victoria Glendinning, Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage, presented by Selina Hastings, John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps, presented by Andrew Lownie and The Good Soldier, presented by me.
I had the easy sell. Wodehouse’s Psmith is disappointingly unfunny and boring, a confection of earlier newspaper pieces lacking the brilliant style and metaphor of his later work. The Voyage Out, Woolf’s first novel, is uneven, with passages of promise and insight but overall a sense that she wasn’t sure how to end her voyage or what to do with the characters she had created – despite the early introduction and disappointing disappearance of Mr. and Mrs. Dalloway. Of Human Bondage seemed to me the only serious contender for the prize that ought to be Ford’s, a great fat book with big themes, an evolving consciousness and a gallery of convincing minor characters. But, as Robert McCrum put it during the event, there is a dullness, a deadness, about Maugham’s prose that denies his novels the greatness you feel they could achieve (with the arguable exception of Liza of Lambeth). Perhaps he says too much; he sees all but says it all, often in cliché, leaving his characters no room to grow in our heads.
The Buchan I knew of old, an archetypal thriller and a rollicking Edwardian read provided you’re prepared to leave behind questions of coincidence, plausibility, character and the female half of the population. Probably good for national moral in 1915 but not a prize-winner.
On stage Robert McCrum had the courage to vote against his own, to much laughter. Victoria Glendinning made a spirited case for all that was good in the Woolf, while Selina Hastings made a predictably strong case for the Maugham. Andrew Lownie showed a real flair for salesmanship in his advocacy of the Buchan, winning over a worryingly significant minority of the audience.
The fact that the 500-plus audience had votes was the most nerve-wracking part of the event. Although the case for The Good Soldier was not hard to make – there was no question but that it was the most original, compelling and artistically achieved – how many of the audience would know it and might they be put off by my three-minute description? Fortunately, they had the good taste to give Ford an emphatic majority and my heart went out to the lady who put up her hand and said she was about to read it for the fourth time.
Books apart, panel and audience appreciated James Walton’s adept chairmanship and John Coldstream’s illuminating canter through other events in 1915 – the war, of course, other publications such as The Rainbow, the first meeting of the Womens’ Institute, changes in the Suffragette movement and, most memorably, the Times account of the barrister sent by his wife to buy dining chairs at an auction, and who returned having bought Stonehenge. I could see Ford doing that with his prize money, if he’d had any.
An interested audience member adds:
Paul Skinner and I were rooting quietly for Ford’s novel – and not so quietly when it was described by the Chair as an intellectual exercise rather than something that came from the heart. Alan calls his task an ‘easy sell’ above, but there was some robust opposition from the audience in support of Maugham. One intervention came from his grandson. Alan had used his 3 minutes to great effect, however. And McCrum gave him generous support from the podium, calling The Good Soldier an ‘outright masterpiece’ once Wodehouse had been voted out. Three cheers for Ford, The Good Soldier, and Alan for ensuring the best novel won!
Nora Tomlinson, who has recently died after a short illness, was one of the contributors to the Ford Madox Ford special number of the distinguished poetry magazine Agenda. That volume, guest edited by Max Saunders, attempted to stimulate interest in Ford’s activities as a major modernist writer, and included essays on many different aspects of his life and work. Nora’s contribution was a piece entitled ‘Ford’s Wartime Journalism’ and was devoted to the work that Ford had published in The Outlook in 1914-15. It was co-authored with Robert Green; but Nora later told me that it was largely her work.
At that time she had started work on her PhD at the Open University under the supervision of Dr. Robert Green and Professor Graham Martin – the subject of which was Ford’s achievement as an editor of two of the most influential of modernist magazines, The English Review and the transatlantic review. As part of her research she and her husband (Barry) went to Paris in 1991, looking for places associated with Ford whilst he was editing the transatlantic review. She was particularly interested in the small studio flat that Ford and Stella lived in at 65, boulevard Arago during 1923. Her doctoral research led her to conclude (in a way that she had not anticipated) that Ford may not have been quite the great editor that he was often credited as having been. She later returned to the subject of Ford’s editing in the introduction that she wrote on The English Review for the Modernist Journals Project’s website. She also gave a paper at the Ford conference at St. John’s College, Durham, in 2008 – where her subject was Ford’s impractical handling of the running of the finances of The English Review. She was awarded her PhD in 1996. Her interest in Ford had begun whilst a student of modernist literature at what was then known as Hatfield Polytechnic (now the University of Hertfordshire), where she obtained a M.A. in 1986.
However, Nora had already had a long experience in education, having been a Tutor in Arts at the Open University when that institution first opened for students in 1971. She had previously been an undergraduate at Westfield College, University of London; and whilst there met her future husband, who was at Imperial College, during a youth hostelling holiday. They married in Farnborough in 1961 and began a family. In 1965 they moved to Bedford, and finding that there was no child care available, Nora established - with others - Bedford’s first playgroup. Soon Nora found her real vocation as a teacher of adults and worked for the National Extension College; which led her on to working at the OU.
Nora worked at the OU for over 30 years, teaching English Literature, but also initially helping out with teaching the foundation course (known as A100). She wrote teaching material for Arts preparatory and foundation courses and for second and third level literature courses, including a unit on the Nineteenth Century Novel – George Eliot remained one of Nora’s favourite novelists. It is clear from speaking to a number of people at her funeral that Nora was particularly good at communicating with her students and engaging them in lively debates – stubbornly and provocatively declaring, for instance, that Wordsworth was ‘boring’; and many found her an inspiring and subversive teacher.
Nora had many interests; of which music, walking in Northumberland and gardening gave her a lot of happiness. She sang with the Bedford Choral Society and the Midland Festival Chorus; as well as playing a range of recorders from bass to descant with a recorder ensemble at the Bedford Retirement Education Centre. She will be much missed by all her friends.
And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
And out of the swing of the sea.
(G. M. Hopkins).
1) Tomlinson, Nora and Robert Green (1990). ‘Ford’s Wartime Journalism’, Agenda, vol. 27 no. 4/vol. 28, no. 1 (1989/1990), 139-147.
2) Tomlinson, Nora (1996). The Achievement of Ford Madox Ford as Editor, unpublished PhD thesis. See Open Research Online: http://oro.open.ac.uk/19038/1/pdf26.pdf
3) Tomlinson, Nora (2008). ‘Introduction’ (to the English Review online), Modernist Journals Project, Brown University: http://modjourn.org/render.php?id=mjp.2005.00.104&view=mjp_object
4) Tomlinson, Nora (2010). ‘‘An old man mad about writing’ but hopeless with money: Ford Madox Ford and the Finances of the English Review’, in Jason Harding, ed., Ford Madox Ford, Modernist Magazines and Editing, IFMFS 9 (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi), 143-151.
In 2012 Nora and Barry Tomlinson donated their collection of Ford materials to Durham University. These items are now available to students and researchers as part of the university’s special collections. The full list of items which may be viewed is as follows:
1896 Ford Madox Brown
1900 The Cinque Ports
1905 Hans Holbein
1907 The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
1911 Ancient Lights and Certain New Reflections
1911 The Critical Attitude
1913 Collected Poems
1923 Mister Bosphorus and the Muses
1924 Some Do Not . . .
1924 Joseph Conrad: A Personal Remembrance
1924 The Nature of a Crime (written in collaboration with Joseph Conrad)
1927 New Poems
1934 Henry For Hugh
1937 Great Trade Route
1938 The March of Literature
the transatlantic review – Jan-Dec 1924
The Soul of London Everyman, 1995
The Fifth Queen – Trilogy, first American edition.
The Bodley Head Ford Madox Ford, Vols 2 & 4
A Call Carcanet Press, 1988
The Good Soldier Penguin, 1982
The Good Soldier Everyman, 1991
The English Novel Carcanet Press, 1997
No Enemy Ecco Press, 1984
No Enemy Carcanet Press, 2002
Parade’s End Penguin, 1982
Return to Yesterday Liveright, 1972
The Rash Act Carcanet Press, 1982
It was the Nightingale Ecco Press, 1984
A History of our own Times Carcanet Press, 1989
Harvey, Ford Madox Ford 1873-1939, Princeton, 1962
Memories and Impressions, ed Killigrew, Penguin, 1979
The Ford Madox Ford Reader, ed, Stang, Carcanet Press, 1986
War Prose, ed. Saunders, Carcanet, 1999
Selected Poems, Carcanet Press, 1997
Books About Ford
Bowen, S, Drawn from Life, Virago, 1984
Green, R, Ford Madox Ford: Prose and Politics, CUP, 1981
Goldring, D, South Lodge, Constable, 1943
Hunt, V, The Flurried Years, Hurst and Blackett, 1926
Judd, A, Ford Madox Ford, Collins, 1990
Lindberg-Seyersted, B, ed., A Literary Friendship: Correspondence between Caroline Graham and Ford Madox Ford, University of Tennessee, 1999
MacShane, F, The Life and Work of Ford Madox Ford, RKP, 1965
MacShane, F, ed., Ford Madox Ford: The Critical Heritage, RKP, 1972
Mizener, A, The Saddest Story: A Biography of Ford Madox Ford, Bodley Head, 1972
Poli, B, Ford Madox Ford and The Transatlantic Review, Syracuse UP, 1967
Saunders, M, Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, OUP, 1996
Stang, S, Ford Madox Ford, Ungar, 1977
Stang, S, ed., The Presence of Ford Madox Ford, University of Pennsylvania, 1981
Stang, S and Cochran, K, eds., The Correspondence of Ford Madox Ford and Stella Bowen, Indiana University, 1993
Watch this space for the latest Ford Society news.
Registered Charity No. 1084040