Ford Madox Ford (December 17, 1873 – June 26, 1939) was an English novelist, poet, critic and editor whose journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature. He is now best remembered for The Good Soldier (1915) and the Parade's End tetralogy.
Born Ford Hermann Hueffer, the son of Francis Hueffer, he was Ford Madox Hueffer before he finally settled on the name Ford Madox Ford in honor of his grandfather, the Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown, whose biography he had written.
Ford's literary life
One of his most famous works is The Good Soldier
(1915), a short novel set just before World War I
which chronicles the tragic
lives of two "perfect couples" using intricate flashbacks
. In a "Dedicatory Letter to Stella Ford” that prefaces the novel, Ford reports that a friend pronounced The Good Soldier
“the finest French novel
in the English language
Ford was involved in the British war propaganda after the outbreak of World War I. He worked for the War Propaganda Bureau managed by C. F. G. Masterman with other writers and scholars who were popular in those years, such as Arnold Bennett, G. K. Chesterton, John Galsworthy, Hilaire Belloc and Gilbert Murray. Ford wrote two propaganda books for Masterman, namely When Blood is Their Argument: An Analysis of Prussian Culture (1915), with the help of Richard Aldington, and Between St. Dennis and St. George: A Sketch of Three Civilizations (1915).
After writing the two propaganda books, Ford enlisted in the Welsh Regiment on 30 July 1915, and was sent to France, thus ending his cooperation with the War Propaganda Bureau. His combat experiences and his previous propaganda activities inspired his tetralogy Parade's End (1924-1928), set in England and on the Western Front before, during and after World War I.
Ford also wrote dozens of novels as well as essays, poetry, memoir and literary criticism, and collaborated with Joseph Conrad on two novels, The Inheritors (1901) and Romance (1903).
His novel Ladies Whose Bright Eyes (1911, extensively revised in 1935) is, in a sense, the reverse of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
Ford's promotion of literature
In 1908, he founded The English Review
, in which he published Thomas Hardy
, H. G. Wells
, Joseph Conrad
, Henry James
, John Galsworthy
and William Butler Yeats
, and gave debuts to Wyndham Lewis
, D. H. Lawrence
and Norman Douglas
. In the 1920s, he founded The Transatlantic Review
, a journal with great influence on modern literature
. Staying with the artistic community in the Latin Quarter of Paris, France
, he made friends with James Joyce
, Ernest Hemingway
, Gertrude Stein
, Ezra Pound
and Jean Rhys
, all of whom he would publish (Ford is the model for the character Braddocks in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises).
In a later sojourn in the United States, he was involved with Allen Tate
, Caroline Gordon
, Katherine Anne Porter
and Robert Lowell
(who was then a student). Despite his deep Victorian
roots, Ford was always a champion of new literature and literary experimentation. He had an affair with Jean Rhys
, which ended bitterly.
Ford spent the last years of his life teaching at Olivet College
, and died in Deauville
, at the age of 65.
- Ford went through several name changes. He was baptized Ford Hermann Hueffer, but later adopted his mother's name of Madox. Later he claimed he was Baron Hueffer von Aschendorf, but, after World War I, wanting to disavow his German background, he finally settled on Ford Madox Ford.
- The Shifting of the Fire, as H Ford Hueffer, Unwin, 1892.
- The Brown Owl, as H Ford Hueffer, Unwin, 1892.
- The Cinque Ports, Blackwood, 1900.
- The Inheritors: An Extravagant Story, Joseph Conrad and Ford M. Hueffer, Heinemann, 1901.
- Rossetti, Duckworth, .
- Romance, Joseph Conrad and Ford M. Hueffer, Smith Elder, 1903.
- The Benefactor, Langham, 1905.
- The Soul of London, Alston, 1905.
- The Heart of the Country, Duckworth, 1906.
- The Fifth Queen, Alston, 1906.
- Privy Seal, Alston, 1907.
- An English Girl, Methuen, 1907.
- The Fifth Queen Crowned, Nash, 1908.
- Mr Apollo, Methuen, 1908.
- The Half Moon, Nash, 1909.
- A Call, Chatto, 1910.
- The Portrait, Methuen, 1910.
- The Critical Attitude, as Ford Madox Hueffer, Duckworth 1911 (extensively revised in 1935).
- The Simple Life Limited, as Daniel Chaucer, Lane, 1911.
- Ladies Whose Bright Eyes, Constable, 1911 (extensively revised in 1935).
- The Panel, Constable, 1912.
- The New Humpty Dumpty, as Daniel Chaucer, Lane, 1912.
- Henry James, Secker, 1913.
- Mr Fleight, Latimer, 1913.
- The Young Lovell, Chatto, 1913.
- Between St Dennis and St George, Hodder, 1915.
- The Good Soldier, Lane, 1915.
- Zeppelin Nights, with Violet Hunt, Lane, 1915.
- The Marsden Case, Duckworth, 1923.
- Women and Men, Paris, 1923.
- Mr Bosphorous, Duckworth, 1923.
- The Nature of a Crime, with Joseph Conrad, Duckworth, 1924.
- Some Do Not..., Duckworth, 1924.
- No More Parades, Duckworth, 1925.
- A Man Could Stand Up, Duckworth, 1926.
- New York is Not America, Duckworth, 1927.
- New York Essays, Rudge, 1927.
- New Poems, Rudge, 1927.
- Last Post, Duckworth, 1928.
- A Little Less Than Gods, Duckworth, .
- No Enemy, Macaulay, 1929.
- The English Novel, Constable, 1930.
- When the Wicked Man, Cape, 1932.
- The Rash Act, Cape, 1933.
- It Was the Nightingale, Lippincott, 1933.
- Henry for Hugh, Lippincott, 1934.
- Provence, Unwin, 1935.
- Ladies Whose Bright Eyes(revised version), 1935
- Great Trade Route, OUP, 1937.
- Vive Le Roy, Unwin, 1937.
- The March of Literature, Dial, 1938.
- Selected Poems, Randall, 1971.
- Your Mirror to My Times, Holt, 1971.