A Reader's Guide to Unfamiliar Literature
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Categorization is odious. There is tremendous overlap among genres. These pigeonholes are offered only as a convenience.

Ford Madox Ford (1873 - 1939)

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Please consider recommending where to begin reading this author, or where not to. A few words about your experiences reading this author and why you make the recommendations you do will be helpful to other users. If you are the author or have studied this author extensively, please say so.

Marian March 1st, 2006 08:09 PM PST

Begin by understanding that Ford was an IMAGIST, a colleague of James Joyce and Gertrude Stein. Like their poems, his novels aim at precision of imagery and language--not linear accounts of events. He is said to have pioneered the flashback as a literary device. But don't panic! You are meant to be confused. The pieces will finally merge into a whole.

This is especially true of THE GOOD SOLDIER. You are listening to a traumatized person revisiting the past after making a shocking discovery; his thoughts wander and jump, and he seems to assume that you (the listener-reader) already have the big picture. And eventually you will have it.

THE GOOD SOLDIER is not an easy read, but it deserves to be called one of the top 20th-century novels and it's not too long. I suggest that you start there, and after that perhaps read a pre-WWI book for contrast, before you dive into the FIFTH QUEEN trilogy or the four-part PARADE'S END.

editor July 18th, 2006 08:06 AM PST

FYI, background on FMF titles: "Parade's End" is comprised of four volumes: "Some Do Not," "No More Parades," "A Man Could Stand Up," and "Last Post." "The Fifth Queen" is a trilogy, starting with "The Fifth Queen" and continuing through "Privy Seal" and "The Fifth Queen Crowned." "Antwerp" is an anti-war poem. "The English Novel" and "The March of Literature" are books of criticism. "Return to Yesterday" and "It was the Nightingale" are both autobiographies. "Hans Holbein" is a biography.


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Assembled from several on-line bios:

Born Ford Hermann Hueffer in 1873, son of music critic Franz Hueffer, grandson of Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown , and nephew of poet Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Raised in "literary-artistic milieu" (to say the least). Published first book at 18. Married early and unhappily; numerous involvements with women including the novelist Jean Rhys.

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