Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Reading of Ford Madox Ford's "Parade's End" to begin April 1-

Not two long ago I read The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford for the first time.     I see The Good Soldier as among the very best novels ever written.    Ford had a huge literary output  (some 80 books) and helped numerous other now  canon status writers of the first half of the 20 century (including Joyce, Conrad, Hemingway and Pound).    I began to look for other works by Ford.    Everything lead to his four part work Parade's End.  Anthony Burgess has called  the work the best novel in the English Language.   (The work is artistically a whole.   It was published in four parts for business reasons.)    When pressed on this he said ok maybe it is second best behind The Good Soldier.   We know this is probably meant to be taken as hyperbolic but  it is without rival as a novel of WWI and the Imperial British Sensibility at the zenith of the empire.   The book is considered to be in part a great work of genius, though a flawed one.   I wanted to find out for myself.   I am inviting others to read  Parade's End starting around April 1, 2010.   There will be no time schedule or anything like that.   I do not see it as a read along just kind of people reading and posting on the book in around the same time frame.   I accept in the end no one may read along on this and that is ok.   I have my full time to devote to reading if I wish and I know others do not so my schedule cannot be followed by most.   I also know that many will not find the work to their taste.       I read the first chapter this morning and I really liked it but I could see others as seeing it as too mannered and elitist.    My hopes are very high for this book.   I plan to do at least one maybe two or three posts on each section.  If anyone does a post on the book I will link it here and if they like I would be happy to guest post it here.

I invite any and all to join in and go at their own pace and wishes.   Penguin Press has a nice edition of the work with a brilliant introduction by Max Saunders (foremost authority on Ford).   I hope to begin reading this about April 1, 2010.

Please let me know if you are interested in joining in

Mel u


Dwight said...

Ah, glad to see your post. I have the Carcanet Press paperback version...hopefully different versions won't cause problems. I may have to browse a bookstore to read Saunders' intro.

Hannah Stoneham said...

Dear Mel -

This sounds fascinating. i don't think I have time to join in - and I don't have the book - but I have recently been reading about Jean Rhys and so am very interested in FMF and his novels - I would love to know what you make of the book when you really get stuck into it.

Thanks for sharing


Jillian said...

your award on my blog :)

ds said...

The Good Soldier is a brilliant novel. Parade's End has moved to the Someday List. Sadly, "someday" cannot be April, but I will enjoy following along vicariously if that's okay. Best of luck!

Fred said...


I noticed your comment on Wuthering Heights about a relaxed reading of Ford's _Parade's End_. I like the idea as I don't think I could handle a scheduled read right now.

I have the four-in-one volume published by Everyman's Library with an intro by Malcolm Bradbury.

_The Good Soldier_ is one of my top ten favorites and after reading it, I went looking for anything else by him. I was surprised when I learned of his work with Joseph Conrad and had to get copies of their collaborations.