Ford Madox Ford and the Misfit Moderns: Edwardian Fiction by R. Hawkes PDF

Ford Madox Ford and the Misfit Moderns: Edwardian Fiction by R. Hawkes PDF

By R. Hawkes

Ford Madox Ford is an important modernist author, but lots of his works don't comply with our assumptions approximately modernism. analyzing ways that he, along different 'misfit moderns', undermines 'stabilities' we think from novels and memoirs, this publication poses questions on the character of narrative and the excellence among modernism and modernity.

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Additional info for Ford Madox Ford and the Misfit Moderns: Edwardian Fiction and the First World War

Example text

18 Ford Madox Ford and the Misfit Moderns a calculating deceiver. Of course, critics have always disagreed about aspects of literary works. However, each of the opposed perspectives sketched above would appear to exclude the alternative view; Ford’s works cannot be both heavily plotted and plotless, for example. It is my contention that Ford’s destabilising narratives contain conflicting discursive forces which mean, in effect, that mutually exclusive readings can be supported by, and co-exist within, the texts.

Nobody talks. (Call 54–5) For Grimshaw, gossip is only a problem if it strays too far from the truth. Through complete openness and honesty as to his personal affairs, he claims to circumvent the threat posed by ‘invention’ on the part of other ‘people’, to the extent that he can prevent them from talking altogether. ’ (Call 54). Both characters, therefore, aspire in their own way to a condition that is uninteresting, unremarkable, and ‘unnoticeable’. To this end, as Grimshaw acknowledges, ‘it’s an advantage to have no vices in particular and to have committed no crimes’ (Call 55).

For Ford, ‘it is not sufficient to say: “Mr Jones was a gentleman who had a strong aversion to rabbit-pie”’; in order to justify Mr Jones’s action ‘you must sufficiently account for that dislike’ (CW 44–5). 18 It is, rather, to place his action in an explanatory context, by, for example, giving him ‘a German grandmother, since all Germans have a peculiar loathing for the rabbit’ (CW 45). In Levenson’s view, justification relies on the ‘extreme realist proposition that the success of prose fiction depends on its power to create “an illusion of reality”’,19 and he goes on to show how The Good Soldier relies heavily on conventional understandings of gender, class, nationality, and religion in order to explain character traits and render them intelligible to the reader: In his insistence upon justification, Ford locates himself in continuity with those Victorian realists whom he so often attacked.

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