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.
A professor of English literature and American studies who has published numerous critical works, Malcolm Bradbury is also a novelist whose protagonists are academics who make muddles of their personal and professional lives. He maintains that his main concern is to explore problems and dilemmas of liberalism and issues of moral responsibility. The targets of Bradbury's satires include intellectual pretension, cultural myopia, and official smugness. His protagonists are largely sympathetic, if comic, failures at mastering their own fates in a world of absurd rules and regulations. His major novels include Eating People Is Wrong (1959), Stepping Westward (1965), and The History Man (1975). This last, a novel of intellectual and political conflict at an English university in the late 1960s, was made into a successful television minidrama. More recent novels include Rates of Exchange (1983) and Cuts (1987).