Good Soldier

ISBN-10: 1593082681
ISBN-13: 9781593082680
Edition: N/A
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Description: Handsome, wealthy, and a veteran of service in India, Captain Edward Ashburnham appears to be the ideal "good soldier" and the embodiment of English upper-class virtues. But for his creator, Ford Madox Ford, he also represents the corruption at  More...

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Book details

List price: $8.95
Publisher: Barnes & Noble, Incorporated
Publication date: 3/28/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 5.19" wide x 8.00" long x 0.64" tall
Weight: 0.484
Language: English

Handsome, wealthy, and a veteran of service in India, Captain Edward Ashburnham appears to be the ideal "good soldier" and the embodiment of English upper-class virtues. But for his creator, Ford Madox Ford, he also represents the corruption at society's core. Beneath Ashburnham's charming, polished exterior lurks a soul well-versed in the arts of deception, hypocrisy, and betrayal. Throughout the nine years of his friendship with an equally privileged American, John Dowell, Ashburnham has been having an affair with Dowell's wife, Florence. Unlike Dowell, Ashburnham's own wife, Leonora, is well aware of it. When "The Good Soldier" was first published in 1915, its pitiless portrait of an amoral society dedicated to its own pleasure and convinced of its own superiority outraged many readers. Stylistically daring, "The Good Soldier" is narrated, unreliably, by the naive Dowell, through whom Ford provides a level of bitter irony. Dowell's disjointed, stumbling storytelling not only subverts linear temporality to satisfying effect, it also reflects his struggle to accept a world without honor, order, or permanence. Called the best French novel in the English language, "The Good Soldier" is both tragic and darkly comic, and it established Ford as an important contributor to the development of literary modernism.

Born Ford Hermann Madox Hueffer in England in 1873, Ford Madox Ford came from a family of artists and writers that included his grandfather, the pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown, and his uncles Gabriel Dante Rossetti and William Michael Rossetti. Ford's early works were published under the name Ford Madox Hueffer, but in 1919 he legally changed his name to Ford Madox Ford due to legal complications that arose when he left his wife, Elsie Martindale, and their two daughters. He also used the pen names Daniel Chaucer and Fenil Haig. Ford's early works include The Brown Owl, a fairy tale, children's stories, romances, and The Fifth Queen, a historical trilogy about Katherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII. He also collaborated with Joseph Conrad, whom he first met in 1898, on three novels: The Nature of Crime, The Inheritors, and Romance. Ford is best known for his novels The Good Soldier, which he considered both his first serious effort at a novel and his best work, and Parade's End, a tetralogy set during World War I. Both of these books explore a theme that appears often in Ford's writing, that of a good man whose old-fashioned, gentlemanly code is in conflict with modern industrial society. Ford also published several volumes of autobiography and reminiscences, including Return to Yesterday and It Was the Nightengale, as well as numerous works of biography, history, poetry, essays, travel writing, and criticism of literature and art. Although Ford and Martindale never divorced, Ford had significant, long-term relationships with three other women, all of whom took his name; he had another daughter by one of them. He died in Deauville, France, in 1939.

Frank Kermode (1919–2010) was a British literary critic who taught English literature at University College London, the University of Cambridge, Columbia University, and Harvard University. His criticism was regularly featured in the London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books, and he was the author of many books including The Sense of an Ending; The Classic; The Genesis of Secrecy; and, most recently, Concerning E. M. Forster. Kermode was knighted in 1991.

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