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The Good Soldier
Edited by Bill Hutchings
Categories: 20th Century, War writings
Imprint: Carcanet Fiction
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (236 pages)
(Pub. Jan 1997)
'I don't know how many times in nearly forty years I have come back to this novel... every time to discover a new aspect to admire... In The Good Soldier Ford triumphantly found his true subject... the English "gentleman", the "black and merciless things" which lie behind that facade.'
Ford Madox Ford's best-loved novel, The Good Soldier, was originally to be called The Saddest Story. In Graham Greene's words, it is about 'the ravages wrought by a passionate man who had all the virtues but continence'.
For nine years, John Dowell and his wife have spent the summer season at a German spa town in the company of the respectable Ashburnhams. Behind the placid exterior of their lives lie the destructive passions of men and women. When Dowell's world breaks apart, he tells his story as intimately as to a silent listener across the fireplace of a country cottage.
Who in this world knows anything of any other heart -- or of his own?
The volume is part of The Millennium Ford project which aims to bring all the major writings of this great writer back into circulation. The Good Soldier is presented here by the Ford project editor, Dr Bill Hutchings, Lecturer in English at the University of Manchester.
Praise for Ford Madox Ford 'what Ford conveys above all is less his particular preference than his radical passion for the novel as an instrument and what can be done with it.'
C.H. Sisson 'It displays Ford's dedication to his art; it demonstrates, also, the possibilities of English prose in the hands of a master.'
Peter Ackroyd, The Sunday Times 'The Rash Act ought to be bought and read by all interested in the novel as an art form... The action takes place in the French South which Ford loved, but man no longer sustains the tradition of myth and history which that region once represented... Here in The Rash Act we have the death of morality and responsibility - a forbidding theme, but, in the paradox of art, it is made to serve a tapestry of rich colour and galloping vivacity.'
Anthony Burgess, Observer 'No Enemy is Ford Madox Ford's little-known First World War novel, musing and reflective, published for the first time in Britain by Carcanet and ably edited by Paul Skinner. Congratulations to them both.'
Alan Judd, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday 30th June 2002 'Of the various demands... that he show us the way in which a society works, that he show an understanding of the human heart, that he create characters in whose reality we believe and for whose fate we care, that he describe things and people so that we feel their physical presence, that he illuminate our moral consciousness, that he make us laugh and cry, that he delight us by his craftmanship, there is not one, it seems to me, that Ford does not completely satisfy.'
W. H. Auden
'Ford Madox Ford's Parad's End, arguably the most sophisticated British fiction to come out of that war. Carcanet's reissue of the first volume, Some Do Not (£18.95), is the first reliable text, reconstructing Ford's dramatic original ending. Brilliantly edited by Max Saunders and now to be filmed (scripted by Tom Stoppard), it deserves to be and will be better known.'
Alan Judd, Books of the Year 2010, The Spectator.'Of the various demands one can make of the novelist, that he show us the way in which a society works, that he show an understanding of the human heart, that he create characters whose reality we believe and for whose fate we care, that he describe things and people so that we feel their physical presence, that he illuminate our moral consciousness, that he make us laugh and cry, that he delight us by his craftsmanship, there is not one, it seems to me, that Ford does not completely satisfy. There are not many English novels which deserve to be called great: Parade's End is one of them.'
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