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The English Novel

Ford Madox Ford

Edited by C.H. Sisson

Cover Picture of The English Novel
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 857543 58 2
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Published: August 1997
215 x 135 x 10 mm
160 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback
  • Description
  • Editor
  • Reviews
  • Of all Ford Madox Ford's critical works, The English Novel (first published in 1930) is his most satisfying. He wrote it while travelling: memory plays a large part. It does not smell of the lamp or the library. Our guide-a major innovative novelist of the century-takes us on a tour of the key literary form of the age, from its birth to his own time.

    Ford understands the novel, its development and potential. His radical view of nineteenth-century fiction and his advocacy of Flaubert and Conrad are persuasive. His association with Conrad makes the passages on the author of Nostromo (to which he contributed) especially compelling.

    We are offered 'suggestions not dictates'. Ford espouses no orthodoxy: he urges a fresh reading of the best work in our tradition, with pointers in unexpected directions. Seventy years after it was written, The English Novel remains compulsively readable. A definite critic in his sure understanding of technique, Ford's taste and his perception of directions in literature are vivid and suggestive.

    The volume is part of The Millennium Ford which aims to bring all the major works of this writer back into circulation.
    C.H. Sisson
    Born in Bristol in 1914, C. H. Sisson was noted as a poet, novelist, essayist and an important translator. He was a great friend of the critic and writer Donald Davie, with whom he corresponded regularly. Sisson was a student at the University of Bristol where he read English and Philosophy. ... read more
    '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
    Praise for Ford Madox Ford '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.'
    W.H.Auden, 1961
    Praise for C.H. Sisson `His poems move in service of the loved landscapes of England and France; they sing (and growl) in love of argument, in love of seeing through, in love of the firm descriptions of moral self-disgust; they move in love of the old lost life by which the new life is condemned.'
    Donald Hall, New York Times Book Review
    'I think he is worth a place on the short shelf reserved for the finest twentieth-century poets, with Eliot and Rilke and MacDiarmid.'
    Robert Nye, the Scotsman
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