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									232                                   School of Doctoral Studies (European Union) Journal                            July




                     Analysis on Modernism and Literary
                               Impressionism


                                           Donatella Petri (MPhill)
                   Master of Philosophy and candidate to PhD in English Literature at the School
                      of Doctoral Studies, Isles Internationale Université (European Union)


                                   Professor Anna Richardson (PhD)
                Chair of Languages and Literature of the Department of Social Science at the School
                       of Doctoral Studies, Isles Internationale Université (European Union)




                                                         Abstract
      A comprehensive analysis of the structure and texture of the beginning of literary impressionism based on
      two works of Ford

      The plot of The Good Soldier is deceptively simple. It tells the story of two couples, one English and one
      American, who meet at a spa in Germany. Edward, the English male half, suffers from a heart condition,
      as does Florence, the female American. The two couples quickly form a friendship that endures for several
      years. Eventually, however, it is revealed that during this time, Florence and Edward have been carrying
      on an affair. Leonora, the English wife, knows about the affair all along, but the narrator of the novel -
      John Dowell, the American husband - does not find out until much later. It is only upon the death of both
      the adulterers that more about their affair is revealed, putting John in the unwitting position of a sort of
      detective.


      Key words: English Literature, Modernism, Literary Impressionism




                             School of Doctoral Studies (European Union) Journal - July, 2009 No. 1
2009                                     Analysis on Modernism and Literary Impressionism                                      233


       Analysis on Modernism and                                     Madox Ford’s works, as well as an array of standard
       Literary Impressionism                                        and recent scholarship on these two novels.

                                                                     The Good Soldier
           Structure and Texture in Ford’s The Good                     The Good Soldier, a book that is widely
       Soldier and Parade’s End                                      considered to be Ford’s masterpiece, is a
           As Graham Greene once wrote on the subject                stylistically unprecedented work of literature.
       of Ford Madox Ford, “No one in our century                    Ford himself, never shy of patting himself on the
       except James has been more attentive to the craft             back, readily admitted so much; he would later
       of letters. He was not only a designer; he was a              write of
       carpenter: you feel in his work the love of the tools
       and the love of the material” (Greene 1962, p. 8).                   “taking down one of [his] ten-year-old
       In what follows, we intend to explore the ways in                    books [and exclaiming] ‘Great Heavens,
       which Ford both designed and engineered what are                     did I write as well as that then?’ ... And
       perhaps his two greatest novels, The Good Soldier                    I will permit myself to say that I was
       and the works comprising Parade’s End. Through                       astounded at the work I must have put into
       a rigid analysis of both the formal and textual                      the construction of the book, at the intricate
       aspects of Ford’s work, we hope to expose those                      tangle of references and cross-references”
       qualities that contributed to Ford’s development                     (quoted in Smiley 2006).
       as one of the pioneering authors of Modernism
       and literary Impressionism.                                       While The Good Soldier was not to be the last
           We will begin with an analysis of the sprawling           of Ford’s great accomplishments, it is certainly
       text of The Good Soldier, which is characterized              one of his most coherent on both a structural and
       by its inventive use of the flashback device.                 textural level.
       Structurally, the work makes use of a non-                        The plot of The Good Soldier is deceptively
       chronological order of events, which are relayed              simple. It tells the story of two couples, one English
       to us by an unreliable narrator. We will investigate          and one American, who meet at a spa in Germany.
       these formal devices, showing how the structure of            Edward, the English male half, suffers from a heart
       the novel is meant to mirror the chaotic events that          condition, as does Florence, the female American.
       are depicted throughout the course of the book.               The two couples quickly form a friendship that
           We will then turn our attention to what is                endures for several years. Eventually, however,
       arguably Ford’s finest achievement, the tetralogy             it is revealed that during this time, Florence and
       Parade’s End. We will explore the ways in which               Edward have been carrying on an affair. Leonora,
       the main characters of this book are linked with the          the English wife, knows about the affair all along,
       unreliable narrator of The Good Soldier. We will              but the narrator of the novel – John Dowell, the
       also examine the ways in which the character’s                American husband – does not find out until much
       psychological development influences the texture              later. It is only upon the death of both the adulterers
       of the work. This is a key point, because in no               that more about their affair is revealed, putting
       other work did Ford manage to show the intricate              John in the unwitting position of a sort of detective.
       workings of the human consciousness as he did                 Although he would have preferred not to know
       in Parade’s End. We will conclude by showing                  about his wife’s infidelity with his dear friend, the
       the ways that Ford Madox Ford’s unique literary               facts come to him continuously throughout the
       Impressionism has left a distinctive mark – not               novel, which is structured as a series of seemingly
       only on Modernism, but also on the evolution of               endless digressions, effectively mirroring the way
       literature in general.                                        in which memory works; as Dowell tells us at the
           Throughout our analysis, we will make use                 beginning of the novel:
       of the authoritative Bodley Head edition of Ford


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234                                    School of Doctoral Studies (European Union) Journal                                    July


            Is all this digression or isn’t it digression?          Owing to her heart condition, Florence claims that
            Again I don’t know. You, the listener, sit              she is unable to engage in sexual activity with her
            opposite me. But you are so silent. You                 husband. He is thus turned in to a sort of servant
            don’t tell me anything. I am, at any rate,              who is forced, unwittingly, in to catering to his
            trying to get you to see what sort of life it           wife’s every need. She also carries on at least
            was I led with Florence and what Florence               two love affairs – despite her supposed inability
            was like. Well, she was bright; and she                 to make love.
            danced. She seemed to dance over the floors                 One of the idiosyncratic elements of Dowell’s
            of castles and over seas and over and over              narration is the fact that his voice sounds far
            the salons of modistes and over the plages              from American; in fact, the book is narrated in a
            of the Riviera – like a gay tremulous beam,             definitively early 20th century British idiom. Smiley
            reflected from water upon a ceiling. And                (2006) has argued that this fits the theme of The
            my function in life was to keep that bright             Good Soldier quite well, however, as the book’s
            thing in existence. And it was almost as                ultimate subject is not America at the turn of the
            difficult as trying to catch with your hand             century, but England. Dowell, as an expatriate,
            that dancing reflection. And the task lasted            quickly comes to find favor with the upper class
            for years (Ford 1962, p. 24).                           Edwardian lifestyle of the English in the early 20th
                                                                    century. At the same time, he is conflicted about
          Like Florence, the prose of Ford’s narrator               its high standards and attention to detail – he finds
      seems to dance throughout the novel – much                    very rare roast beef to be nauseating, brandy to
      like the colors seem to dance across a canvas by              be disagreeable, and is repelled by cold baths.
      Monet. Now that Florence is gone permanently                  What is most repellent to Dowell about Edwardian
      from his life, it becomes Dowell’s task to preserve           values, it later comes to be revealed, is the fact that
      her memory – to make her immortal – through                   the social decorum seems to serve as a means for
      his narrative, just as in life it was his job to keep         preventing people from really getting to know one
      her alive. It is through this artful, impressionistic         another; hence all the secrets that the close friends
      structuring of events – and its disregard of                  of the central narrative are able to keep with one
      chronology – that the novel builds its suspense               another, secrets that Leonora is openly aware of,
      and drama, which has kept generations of readers              but are still a mystery to the uninitiated American.
      engaged from the beginning to the end. Every                  In the words of Mizener:
      single utterance made by the narrator or other
      characters, no matter how insignificant they might                    There was certainly, in the Edwardian
      seem at first, later acquires significance as the plot                world Ford was contemplating, some
      unravels.                                                             radical discontinuity between what Dowell
          Owing to the highly textured narrative, it is                     calls the “natural inclinations” of people’s
      worth examining John Dowell in fuller detail,                         unconscious selves and the trained habits of
      as he is the medium through which the narrative                       their conscious selves that made them “good
      is generated. As far as narrators go, Dowell is                       people” and that made their society “the
      incredibly naïve. He comes from a well-to-do                          proudest and the safest of all the beautiful
      Philadelphia family, and apparently has very few                      and safe things that God has permitted the
      ambitions in life other than to marry Florence –                      mind of men to frame.” Perhaps there always
      this, despite the fact that she comes across as an                    has been such a discontinuity; perhaps there
      incredibly demanding spouse who is resistant to                       always will be. Perhaps the more beautifully
      physical intimacy with her husband. Emotionally,                      ordered and successfully disciplined the
      Florence is distant and unwilling to share her                        “parade” of civilization becomes, the more
      deepest feelings with Dowell, yet he loves her in                     destructive of men’s natural inclinations it
      spite of all these apparent flaws in her character.                   also becomes” (Mizener 1985, p. 276-277).


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           This struggle between the Edwardian virtues of             the turmoil of the transitional era during which
       old and the Modernism of the new world would                   the story takes place (the early 20th century.) The
       later come to the forefront in Ford’s Parade’s End             lack of intimacy in the lives of both husband and
       tetralogy.                                                     wife has been aptly characterized by Smiley as
           If Dowell has any virtues at all that shine through        follows:
       throughout the course of the narrative, it is his
       earnestness and the fact that he is quite disarming.
       Unlike the notoriously egotistical author behind                      It is clear as the novel proceeds that not only
       the work, Dowell continuously expresses his self-                     do Edward and Leonora have no idea what
       doubts and shortcomings. He is never self-serving                     intimacy is, they also have no way of finding
       throughout the course of his narrative; in general,                   out: for one thing, they don’t read novels,
       he is overly generous to those who perhaps do not                     and for another, Leonora consults priests and
       always deserve it. In such a rambling narrative, it                   nuns for marital advice, and what they have
       is not possible to be “reliable” in reporting facts;                  to offer are third-hand clichés such as “men
       Dowell’s very unreliability – as both a person and                    are like that.” Edward consults no one, and
       a narrator – contribute much to the rich texture of                   there seems to be no structure in his life that
       The Good Soldier. Furthermore, his portraits of                       would permit such consultation. Other men
       Edward, Florence, Leonora, and other characters                       of his social class tell dirty stories, perhaps
       provide an apt literary equivalent to painterly                       as a form of sharing information, but these
       Impressionism in their personal, if not scattered,                    make Edward uncomfortable. Thus, when
       style of rendering.                                                   Edward begins to feel out of sympathy with
           Rather than letting his emotions regarding                        Leonora some three or four years into their
       his wife’s untimely demise get the best of him,                       marriage, he is ripe for exploitation, and he
       Dowell portrays Leonora and Edward as being                           ends up making a costly liaison and losing
       endowed with respectability, as well as character                     about 40 percent of the principal value of his
       and grace. The few flaws that Edward is endowed                       estate. Over the next 10 years Leonora takes
       with appear to be related to his intelligence and                     over management of the estate and brings it
       his education – he is otherwise portrayed as a                        back to its original value, but the balance of
       generous individual. As a respected magistrate                        their relationship is fatally undermined by
       and landlord in England, he is endowed with a                         her control and his untrustworthiness.
       high degree of morality. He is responsible and
       upright. At the same time, perhaps owing to his
       lack of intelligence, Edward is portrayed as being                 What Leonora and Edward’s marriage has in
       sentimental. This turns out to be a major flaw, in             common with that of Florence and John is that both
       that others often see him as being weak or frail in            marriages feature emasculated men. It is implied,
       his character. This also makes him, like Dowell, a             via the narration of John, that both men have
       weak character in comparison to his wife, who, like            been complacent in their emasculation, however.
       Florence, is strong and determined in character.               While Dowell’s emasculation remains something
           Dowell often portrays Leonora as being “cold”.             of a mystery throughout the course of The Good
       We learn, for instance, that Leonora and Edward                Soldier, Edward seems to have participated in his
       have not spoken in private for over a dozen years,             emasculation in that he has received no education
       despite their show of warmth and affection to one              in life in anything other than following protocol –
       another in public. While it would have been easy               hence, he becomes the “good soldier” of the title.
       to make of Edward and Leonora caricatures –                    While Edward’s emasculation can be attributed to
       indeed, their “types” are rife in English literature –         his stupidity, the fact that John allows himself to be
       Ford addresses their inner lives seriously, digesting          treated harshly by his wife can only be attributed to
       their inherent emptiness as being symptomatic of               a general laziness or lethargy, which is symbolized


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236                                     School of Doctoral Studies (European Union) Journal                                      July


      by the fact that he shows no real interest in steering                 was almost as if she were trying to convey to
      his life in any particular direction, as he himself                    Florence, through me, that she would seriously
      admits.                                                                harm my wife if Florence went to something
          Because he seems to be aware of the fact that                      that was an extreme (Ford 1962, p. 67-68).
      he has been emasculated, John has grown to accept
      his status in the relationship. Edward, on the other              It is through his liaison with Florence that
      hand, is never able to fully accept his position –             Leonora eventually loses all respect for her
      probably, it is implied, because he is unable to               husband Dowell describes Leonora as thus:
      fully understand why things are as they are. He
      thus resorts to a series of affairs, which his wife                    Leonora, as I have said, was the perfectly
      is openly aware of. Leonora seems to believe that                      normal woman. I mean to say that in
      once they are in a more financially stable position,                   normal circumstances her desires were
      he will regain his interest in her.                                    those of the woman who is needed by
          One of the more intriguing aspects of the                          society. She desired children, decorum, an
      plot of The Good Soldier is the fact that John                         establishment; she desired to avoid waste,
      remains devoted to his wife throughout – while                         she desired to keep up appearances. She
      he simultaneously portrays her as being a rather                       was utterly and entirely normal even in
      shallow, vile creature. Despite her strong intellect,                  her utterly undeniable beauty. But I don’t
      she clearly wants to be catered to. Her sole desire                    mean to say she acted perfectly normally
      is to be the center of attention, and she will do                      in the perfectly abnormal situation. All the
      whatever is necessary to attain it. Morally, she                       world was mad around her and she herself,
      is a rather abject figure, and yet John loves her                      agonized, took on the complexion of a mad
      and refuses to criticize her – despite the fact that,                  woman; of a woman very wicked; of the
      through his narration, he shows how she, in fact,                      villain of the piece. What would you have?
      is hardly a likeable human being. While she may                        Steel is a normal, hard, polished substance.
      conceal her intentions behind her intellectual                         But, if you put it in a hot fire it will become
      demeanor, Florence is little more than a crude                         red, soft, and not to be handled. If you put
      social climber, when you get down to it.                               it in a fire still more hot it will drip away. It
          It quickly becomes apparent that, beyond the                       was like that with Leonora (Ford 1962).
      veneer of friendship, Leonora does not actually
      like Florence. This is revealed early on in the                   Dowell thus upholds Leonora’s femininity as
      novel, in the guise of a disagreement over religion.           “normal,” in that she is all too willing to submit
      When Florence crudely insults the Catholic faith,              to her traditional role in the dominant Edwardian
      to which Leonora belongs, Leonora takes John                   establishment – something that is repugnant to his
      aside. John attempts to defend his wife, but                   unconventional wife, Florence. Unlike Florence,
      Leonora will have none of it:                                  Leonora has no need for greater power or influence
                                                                     over her husband’s life – or anyone else’s, for
            ‘It’s hardly as much as that. I mean, that I must        that matter. She instead seeks only to keep up
            claim the liberty of a free American citizen to          appearances and maintain the proper social
            think what I please about your co-religionists.          decorum, no matter what may be happening in her
            And I suppose that Florence must have liberty to         personal life, behind the scenes. She is perfectly
            think what she pleases and to say what politeness        happy to play the role that society has allotted to
            allows her to say.’                                      her. She desires to have children and become a
            ‘She had better,’ Leonora answered, ‘not say one         part of the establishment – the former of which she
            single word against my people or my faith.’              and her husband are unable to manage, a fact that
            It struck me at the time, that there was an unusual,     brings them both a great deal of unhappiness.
            an almost threatening, hardness in her voice. It            What lends the narrative an additional layer of


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       texture is Ford’s reliance on paradox throughout.             military career, he suddenly states, “It would
       Despite his devotion to his wife, Dowell                      have done him a great deal of good to get killed.”
       occasionally questions why he stayed with her                 At the same time, once we reach the end of the
       throughout the duration of their marriage, lapsing            novel and are able to see how profoundly tragic
       out of his denial to momentarily acknowledge the              Edward’s demise is, it begins to make more sense.
       lovelessness of their relationship:                           As a “good soldier,” it in fact would have been
                                                                     much better for Edward to have met a heroic end,
             For peace I never had with Florence, and I              rather than the pathetic legacy he manages to leave
             hardly believe that I cared for her in the way          behind at the end of the novel. Thus, the title is
             of love after a year or two of it. She became           loaded with an ironic dimension, the sharpness
             for me a rare and fragile object, something             of which contributes much to the richness of the
             burdensome, but very frail. Why it was as if            narrative’s psychological discourse.
             I had been given a thin-shelled pullet’s egg                We have in The Good Soldier a novel whose
             to carry on my palm from Equatorial Africa              stylistic richness is rooted in its complex set of
             to Hoboken. Yes, she became for me, as it               references and cross-references that enable both
             were, the subject of a bet – the trophy of an           complementary and contradictory meanings to
             athlete’s achievement, a parsley crown that             emerge in nearly every sentence, thus giving the
             is the symbol of his chastity, his soberness,           reader an endless web of meanings to interpret.
             and of his inflexible will. Of intrinsic value          In the course of the novel, Ford very carefully
             as a wife, I think she had none at all for me.          constructs a complex plot that intertwines its
             I fancy I was not even proud of the way she             characters’ precious psychological states with
             dressed (Ford 1962, p. 86-97).                          events, chance, and muddled intentions. What
                                                                     emerges is a very complex picture of modern life.
           Through his portrayal of Leonora and                          It should be noted that Ford originally wanted
       Florence, it quickly becomes apparent that Dowell             to call his book The Saddest Story. But the book
       views women as being both strong creatures and                was not to be published until shortly after the
       completely inhuman in their behavior. He sees in              outbreak of the First World War, during which
       both women, especially his wife, the desire and               time the publisher decided that the reading public
       capacity for change. This frightens him, as women             probably did not want another “sad story.” The
       serve as the very fabric upon which society is                fact that the novel was ultimately called The Good
       built. While Leonora initially upholds herself in a           Soldier, however, adds another layer of intrigue
       “normal” fashion early in the novel, as catastrophe           that the novel would have been lacking with the
       looms, her pristine façade begins to crack and                fairly banal title that Ford chose. What is more, in
       fade, leading to the catastrophic conclusion of               its subtlety, the title The Good Soldier gives us a
       events in the novel. She essentially becomes mad,             glimpse into the social dimension that Ford’s main
       and Dowell affiliates her madness with an innate              characters inhabit. It is not only stupidity that
       evil or “wickedness.” He is again unable to fully             Edward and the other characters face; it is mostly a
       reconcile the fact that not only his personal life            moral issue that each in turn must combat in order
       has changed, but also an entire way of life – that            to win or lose the battle of life, as it is depicted in
       is, Edwardian England – has become a relic of                 the novel. As Smiley (2006) has written of The
       the past. This is symbolized by the dissolution of            Good Soldier,
       the female characters in the novel, both of which
       ultimately transgress their allotted roles in society                [The characters] are representatives of
       through their actions.                                               a system that fails them and fails in their
           While John’s portrayal of Edward is largely                      failure. It is the subtler side of Dickens’s
       sympathetic, there are occasional strange                            Circumlocution Office, of Thackeray’s
       outbursts, such as, when summarizing Edward’s                        Vanity Fair. In Dickens’s and Thackeray’s


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            day, the landed gentry could still be                   outside of Mountby. The second part of the book
            attacked. By Ford’s time, all the social                takes place five years later in the dining room of
            and cultural arrangements of feudal Europe              Sylvia and Christopher’s apartment in Grays Inn.
            were imploding in the first world war.                  This part of the book takes place in the course of a
            Ford was astute enough to depict both the               single afternoon. The third part of Some Do Not…
            inevitability of the implosion and its sadness          occurs continuously with that of the second part,
            - the world of Jane Austen a hundred years              only it takes place on the street between Grays Inn
            on, depopulated, lonely and dark.                       and the War Office, at the War Office, and back at
                                                                    Sylvia and Christopher’s apartment.
          A further level of intrigue is added to the novel             Each part of Some Do Not… consists of a myriad
      once one becomes cognizant of the fact that Dowell            of vignettes or occurrences. In this respect, the
      is apparently unaware of the larger significance of           novel has been compared by the likes of Mizener
      the events that he is narrating in The Good Soldier           to a well-structured play (Mizener 1985, p. 495).
      (Cousineau 2004, p. 86). Even in his portrayal of             In the first part, for instance, the first vignette
      his dear friend Edward, whom he clearly pities,               occurs on the train. A vignette that takes place at
      he is ultimately unable to decide whether Edward              Lobscheid then follows it. It is here where Sylvia
      is a true hero or an utter, contemptible failure.             Tietjens joins Father Consett and her mother. The
      What makes Dowell so human is the fact that he is             third vignette in the first part takes place at the inn
      unable to draw a conclusion to the textured mass              where Macmaster and Christopher are lodging. In
      of thoughts that comprise the narrative, of which             the fourth vignette, Macmaster and Christopher
      this strand is perhaps emblematic:                            have breakfast at the Duchemins’ residence. The
          I don’t know. And there is nothing to guide us.           fifth vignette takes place at the Wannops’ luncheon.
      And if everything is so nebulous about a matter so            In the final vignette of the first part, Christopher
      elementary as the morals of sex, what is there to             and Valentine take their long ride that culminates
      guide us in the more subtle morality of all other             with their having an accident. The other two parts
      personal contacts, associations, and activities? Or           of the book boast a similar structure.
      are we meant to act on impulse alone? It is all a                 Unlike The Good Soldier, which is narrated
      darkness (Ford 1962, p. 14).                                  in the first person, Some Do Not…’s narration
          It is ultimately up to the reader, then, to decide        occurs in the third person. Despite this vital shift
      the level of irony that goes into the title The Good          in authorial narration, the voice of the narrator is
      Soldier.                                                      still strong throughout the novel. In the words of
                                                                    Mizener,

      Parade’s End                                                          Like [Henry] James, Ford never frees his
                                                                            characters’ minds entirely from the control
          In terms of structure, Some Do Not…, the first                    of the narrator; both when he is writing
      novel in the Parade’s End tetralogy, is deceptively                   as the omniscient narrator and when he is
      simple, in comparison to that of The Good Soldier.                    following the movement of a character’s
      The book utilizes a chronological arrangement of                      consciousness, he writes as a third person.
      events that is only slightly modified. Structurally,                  This third person is not – except very
      the book can be reduced to three parts. The first                     occasionally in Some Do Not… -- objective
      part of the book takes place in Rye in June of                        and impersonal; he is vividly present to us
      1912. Roughly, it occurs from the opening of                          as a personality, as an ironic, judging mind.
      the book where Christopher and Macmaster are                          It is Ford’s desire to let us hear his voice
      introduced on the train up until the point when the                   that makes him summarize the thoughts
      all night right of Valentine and Christopher comes                    of his characters in the third person rather
      to an end when they run into General Campion                          than present them to us directly. By this


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              means he is able to show us the events as               that Rossetti, in real life, studied under Ford’s
              a character perceives them and at the same              grandfather, Ford Madox Brown.
              time to show us the narrator’s judgment                     But it is not just thoughts about his monograph
              of the characters’ thoughts and feelings                that occupy Macmaster in this first scene.
              (Mizener 1985, p. 496).                                 Woven into his literary meditations are thoughts
                                                                      on the success that he will meet with, should
           As the tetralogy progresses, the narrative                 this monograph be positively received by the
       style begins to shift to a focus on the nature                 establishment of the day. He also fantasizes about
       of consciousness itself, rather than the more                  how the fame will win him the attention of a good-
       traditional mode of omniscient narration – thus                natured beautiful woman, who he will settle down
       putting it more in line with Ford’s earlier work (i.e.         with. This thought triggers yet another thought
       The Good Soldier). In line with Freud’s discovery              – the fact that he has a tendency to chase after
       of the unconscious, Ford began to structure the                big-bosomed, lewd creatures of the female sex.
       novels that follow according to the multiplicity               He credits his friend Christopher for saving him
       of consciousness; in this respect, nothing is ever             from the more dire consequences of such affairs.
       as simple as it seems, and the books in Parade’s               Ironically, however, Christopher has gotten himself
       End begin to grow more and more complicated as                 into quite a messy situation with a woman who has
       the narrative agency strains to incorporate an ever            become pregnant by another man, yet is desperate
       evolving strand of consciousness. Of course, one               to get married.
       can find both tendencies – that of the traditional                 Indeed, the richly textured first part of Some
       omniscient narrator and that of the more modern                Do Not… is emblematic of the ways in which the
       “man of many thoughts” – in Some Do Not…                       unconscious mind constantly shifts the thoughts
       Ford’s narrative agency is thus flexible enough to             of the conscious mind. While Macmaster’s mind
       include a breadth of modes, making Parade’s End                is primarily occupied with thoughts about his
       a truly Modernist work.                                        monograph, he cannot help but turn his thoughts
           This dual process is illustrated quite literally in        to the relationship between Christopher and
       the beginning of Some Do Not… in the train ride                Sylvia. Sylvia’s trapping of Christopher elicits a
       to Rye. Macmaster is working on a monograph                    recollection of the scene that took place earlier that
       on Rossetti, the esteemed neoclassical artist of the           day when Christopher received a letter stating that
       19th century. Christopher Tietjens does not care               Sylvia had left her lover and intended to return to
       for Rossetti, although it is not revealed why. It              him. It is then revealed that Sylvia is pregnant, yet
       is inferred, however, that Christopher finds faults            Christopher must now face the crisis of whether or
       aplenty in the very discursive realm that Rossetti             not to return to Sylvia when he is not sure if the
       is in many ways a relic of – the very realm that               child is his.
       Macmaster very much desires to become a part of.                   It is thus that the texture of Some Do Not… is
       In the words of Macmaster:                                     built – on the interweaving of the conscious and
           Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti, the subject of             unconscious minds of its principle characters.
       this little monograph, must be accorded the name               Despite his intellectual pretensions, it quickly
       of one who has profoundly influenced the outward               becomes apparent in the course of the book
       aspects, the human contacts, and all those things              that Macmaster is not very sophisticated. Thus,
       that go to make up the life of our higher civilization         he frequently becomes a victim of his own
       as we live it to-day… (Ford 1963a, p. 20).                     unconscious thoughts. Again, the importance of
           This represents everything that Tietjens secretly          what Ford termed the “under self” emerges in
       resents of the society that he finds himself in. It is         the course of this novel; the strongest characters
       thus that one of the major themes of Parade’s End              all have a keen awareness of their under selves.
       is established – the contact between the traditional           Valentine, who is perhaps the most intelligent
       and the Modern. It is perhaps no coincidence                   and sophisticated character besides Christopher


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      in Some Do Not…, is strongly aware of both her                        The determining responses of Ford’s
      conscious self and her “under self” throughout:                       characters almost always take place in this
                                                                            way, below the level of consciousness,
            She heard herself saying, almost with a                         so that their conscious conception of
            sob, so that she was evidently in a state of                    themselves is always more or less at odds
            emotion:                                                        with the intentions of their subconscious
            “Look here! I disapprove of this whole                          selves. The result is a psychic conflict that
            thing…”                                                         goes on continually in Christopher and
            At Miss Wanostrocht’s perturbed expression                      Valentine and Sylvia and even, occasionally,
            she said to herself:                                            in minor characters like Vincent Macmaster
            “What on earth am I saying all this for? You’d                  and General Campion, who, while he sits
            think I was trying to cut loose from this school!               writing his letter to the Secretary of State
            Am I?” (Ford 1963a)                                             for War “with increasing satisfaction,”
                                                                            finds that “a mind that he was not using
          Her under self is indeed attempting to break                      said: ‘What the devil am I going to do with
      free. This is revealed by the fact that she has                       that fellow?’ Or: ‘How the devil is that
      already sought out Christopher and promised                           girl’s name to be kept out of this mess?’ ”
      herself that she would commit to him for the rest                     (Mizener 1985, p. 498-499)
      of her life. Her conscious mind, however, does
      not acknowledge the fact that she has made this                   In many ways, the conflict between the
      decision until much later in the narrative. It is             characters’ conscious and unconscious lives in
      not until she joins Christopher at Grays Inn that             Parade’s End mirrors the same process that occurs
      she is able to unite her conscious and unconscious            in The Good Soldier – albeit on a much more
      feelings and fully acknowledge the decision she               extreme level. It should be observed, however,
      has in fact made. This is when her conscious mind             that Ford does not reduce his characters’ inner
      speaks to her:                                                lives to a mere duality, wherein the conscious life
                                                                    is “good” and the unconscious life is “bad” or vice
            This man… had once proposed love to her                 versa. The story for each of the characters in the
            and then had gone away without a word                   tetralogy is a lot more complicated than that.
            and… had never so much as sent her a                        That being said, Ford’s own moral convictions
            picture-postcard! Gauche! Haughty! Was                  as a Tory frequently figure in Parade’s End. Ford
            there any other word for him? There could               ultimately feels that the conscious mind should
            not be. Then she ought to feel humiliated.              dominate one’s personality, as the conscious self
            But she did not… Joy radiated from his                  is the social, responsible entity in each human.
            homespuns when you walked beside him.                   This resonates with Christopher’s belief that one’s
            It welled out; it enveloped you… Like the               feelings must always be sacrificed for the good of
            warmth from an electric heater, only that               the collective entity.
            did not make you want to cry and say your                        It is when one’s unconscious desires come
            prayers – the haughty oaf (Ford 1963a, p.               into conflict with what has been determined as good
            149).                                                   and true by the rest of society that a psychological
                                                                    crisis often occurs in the characters. Ford’s
          Thus, in the universe of Parade’s End, the                implication that a successful resolution to such
      unconscious desires of Ford’s characters are quite            conflicts involves becoming a “Tory radical” via
      frequently at odds with their conscious desires.              the adaptation of an entire new mode of being that
      As a result, paradox once again becomes a chief               consists of social conventions that allow one to live
      motivating contributor to the texture of the novels;          by the principles of society while simultaneously
      in the words of Mizener,                                      satisfying their under selves. While Christopher


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                                                                            go home he could be sitting talking to her
       clearly values the collective entity, he also asserts
                                                                            for whole afternoons…
       that that entity must never be betrayed from above
                                                                                That in effect was love. It struck him
       (Ford 1963, p. 149; Mizener 1985, p. 499).
                                                                            as astonishing. The word was so little in
           Besides the conflict between the characters’                     his vocabulary… He had been the Younger
       conscious selves and under selves, one of the main                   Son…
       themes of Parade’s End is the torturous process                          Now: what the Hell was he? A sort
       that Christopher Tietjens must go through in                         of Hamlet of the Trenches? No, by God
       order to completely free himself of the Edwardian                    he was not… He was perfectly ready for
       conventions he has grown up with and thus adapt                      action. Ready to command a battalion. He
       to the Modern era. The conventions of Edwardian                      was presumably a lover. They did things
       society, Ford argues through the course of his novel,                like commanding battalions. And worse!
       no longer embody the principles that it purports to                      He ought to write her a letter. What
       uphold. Anyone, such as Christopher early in the                     in the world would she think of this
       tetralogy, who attempts to live by such standards                    gentleman who had once made improper
       is thus setting themselves up for doom and failure.                  proposals to her; balked; said “So long!”
       Christopher eventually realizes that, in order                       or perhaps not even “So long!” And then
       to survive, he will have to completely reject his                    walked off. With never a letter! Not even
       socially ordained role of the Edwardian Younger                      a picture postcard! For two years! A sort
       Son. Eventually, Christopher discovers that his                      of Hamlet all right! Or swine!
                                                                                Well, then, he ought to write her a
       unconscious self – his “under self” – decided to
                                                                            letter. He ought to say: “This is to tell
       reject that role long before his conscious mind
                                                                            you that I propose to live with you as
       chooses to reject it. It is this process that we see
                                                                            soon as this show is over. You will be
       unfurl throughout the course of the tetralogy, and                   prepared immediately on cessation of
       that lends the series its textural momentum.                         active hostilities to put yourself at my
           The first sign that Ford allows us to see of this                disposal; Please. Signe, Xtopher Tietjens,
       coming-into-being of Christopher is the fact that                    Acting O.C. 9th Glams.” A proper military
       he is clearly ambitious. At the same time, despite                   communication (Ford 1963a, p. 132-133).
       the fact that Christopher is a member of the ruling
       class and thus expected to lend money to anyone
       who asks for it, he resents the fact that he is asked             The astute reader will pick up on the fact that
       to lend two hundred fifty pounds to Colonel                   Christopher’s consciousness is being rendered here
       Partridge. But the ultimate act of Christopher’s              not as an internal monologue, but as an internal
       severing himself from the values of the past comes            dialogue. This is illustrative of the conflict that
       at the moment when he decides to give up his                  brews within Christopher throughout – it is a
       comfy governmental post in London in order to                 spectacular dramatization of consciousness that
       go into the antiques business in the country, while           few writers would be capable of in the early 20th
       simultaneously leaving his wife Sylvia in order to            century. But Ford does not stop there – he adds
       live with Valentine Wannop. This is the outcome               several levels of irony to Christopher’s internal
       of a veritable crisis of consciousness in Christopher         discourse in the form of such phrases as “a proper
       Tietjens, a crisis that adds a significant level of           military communication” in regards to an insistent
       texture to the four novels. The ongoing struggle              love letter he is imaginarily composing. The
       with Tietjens’s consciousness is expertly rendered            utilization of a multi-layered internal dialogue
       in such energetic passages as follows:                        gives us a good idea of how Christopher’s mind
                                                                     actually works. It is a great dramatization of one
                                                                     man’s internal struggles with himself, against the
                The beastly Huns! They stood between                 conventions of his time, using the language of
             him and Valentine Wannop. If they would                 those very conventions. Through such an internal


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                                                                           No brain could stand more. Fragments
      dialogue, Christopher is able to come to an ultimate
                                                                           of scenes of fighting, voices, names, went
      realization of his veritable unconscious motives.
                                                                           before his eyes and ears.
          Arguably, it was not until A Man Could Stand
                                                                                   […]
      Up – the third novel in the tetralogy – that Ford                             He exclaimed to himself: “By
      finally mastered the narrative process of the                        heavens! Is this epilepsy?” He prayed:
      interior dialogue, bringing its full implications to                 “Blessed saints, get me spared that!” He
      bear in the story. Some Do Not…’s structure is                       exclaimed: “No, it isn’t! … I’ve complete
      ultimately based on scenes, despite the narrative                    control of my mind. My uppermost mind”
      rigor to which Ford applies himself (as described                    (Ford 1963b).
      above.) No More Parades, the second novel in
      the series, takes place nearly completely in the                 Thus, in No More Parades, we witness a
      minds of Sylvia and Christopher. Their states of             radical shift from the scene-based structure of the
      mind, however, are more often described, rather              first novel in the tetralogy to a narrative that is
      than represented. It is rare that Ford dramatizes            built more on the inner processes of its characters’
      their consciousnesses in a complete way in No                lives. At the same time, No More Parades boasts
      More Parades, and when he does, it is ultimately             the same three part structure as the previous
      at moments of great dramatic tension, such as                novel. As in Some Do Not…, each part consists
      that experienced by Sylvia in a moment of hatred             of a series of fairly straightforward vignettes that
      towards Christopher:                                         contribute to the overall momentum of the novel.
                                                                   Each vignette consists of action happening in the
            There occurred to her irreverent mind                  present, or else action that has been recollected
            a sentence of one of the Duchess of                    from the past. It is also similar structurally to
            Marlborough’s letters to Queen Anne. The               Some Do Not… in that the story is, for the most
            duchess had visited the general during                 part, told in a chronological manner. At the same
            one of his campaigns in Flanders. “My                  time, the dense layering of flashbacks, as that
            Lord,” she wrote, “did me the honour three             which occurs in the course of The Good Soldier,
            times in his boots!” … The sort of thing               also emerges as a device in Parade’s End; Ford
            she would remember… She would – she
                                                                   accomplishes this by spending much of his time
            would – have tried it on the sergeant-major,
                                                                   inside the mind of Christopher Tietjens. Memory
            just to see Tietjens’ face, for the sergeant-
                                                                   tends to work in a spontaneous way, as the work of
            major would not have understood… And
                                                                   Marcel Proust has also shown us. Thus, defying
            who cared if he did!… He was bibulously
            skirting round the same idea…                          the chronological ordering of No More Parades,
                     But the tumult increased to                   the third chapter of the first part takes place nearly
            an incredible volume… She screamed                     entirely inside Christopher’s mind and takes place
            blasphemies that she was hardly aware of               at the end of the evening when he hears that Sylvia
            knowing. She had to scream against the                 is in Rouen. This allows Christopher to put in
            noise; she was no more responsible for the             order his memories of meeting and getting to know
            blasphemy than if she had lost her identity            Sylvia in the style of a military report – again, the
            under an anaesthetic… She was one of the               dense layering of multiple literary styles elicits a
            crowd! (Ford 1963b)                                    sense of irony, for which Ford has become known.
                                                                   At the same time, Ford’s intention here is to defy
         Christopher experiences a similar moment                  the conventions of chronology by giving us an
      when the conscious side of his mind loses control            emotional history of Christopher’s relations with
      during his interview with the General:                       Sylvia. Christopher’s feelings surrounding Sylvia
                                                                   become intertwined with his emotions surrounding
            Panic came over Tietjens. He knew it                   his job at the base. Together, the feelings conspire
            would be his last panic of that interview.             to make real changes in Christopher mind and life,


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                                                                                    He took a sip from the glass of
       a process that happens right before our eyes in the
                                                                           rum and water… He had determined not
       course of this exemplary narrative:
                                                                           to touch his grog. But his throat had
                                                                           gone completely dry… Why should his
             The one thing that stood out sharply in
                                                                           throat be dry?… And why was he in this
             Tietjens’ mind… when at last, with a stiff
                                                                           extraordinary state?… It was because the
             glass of rum punch, his officer’s pocket-
                                                                           idea had suddenly occurred to him that his
             book complete with pencil… he sat in his
                                                                           parting from his wife set him free for his
             flea-bag with six army blankets over him
                                                                           girl… The idea had till then never entered
             – the one thing that stood out as sharply
                                                                           his head.
             as Staff tabs was that that ass Levin was
                                                                                                        He said to
             rather pathetic… On the frozen hillside,
                                                                           himself: We must go methodically into
             he… had grabbed at Tietjens’ elbow,
                                                                           this!…
             while he brought out breathlessly puzzled
                                                                                    “Better put it into writing,” he
             sentences…
                                                                           said.
                      There rested a singular mosaic
                                                                                                        Well then. He
             of extraordinary, bright-coloured and
                                                                           clutched at his pocket-book and wrote in
             melodramatic statements, for Levin…
                                                                           large pencilled characters:
             brought out monstrosities of news about
                                                                                    “When I married Miss
             Sylvia’s activities, without any sequence…
                                                                           Satterthwaite…”
                      And as Tietjens, seated on his
                                                                                    He exclaimed:
             hams, his knees up, pulled the soft
                                                                                    “God, what a sweat I am in!”…
             wooliness of his flea-bag under his chin…
                                                                                      It was no good going on writing.
             it seemed to him that this affair was like
                                                                           He was no writer, and this writing gave
             coming back after two months and trying
                                                                           no sort of psychological pointers… (Ford,
             to get the hang of battalion orders…
                                                                           quoted in Mizener 1985, p. 503-504)
                      So, on that black hillside… what
             struck out for Tietjens was that… the
             mysterious “rows” to which in his fear                     The second part of No More Parades takes place
             Levin had been continually referring had               largely in the mind of Sylvia. Such a derangement
             been successive letters from Sylvia to the             of chronology, as featured in the passage above,
             harried general [Campion]… Tietjens set
                                                                    features even more prominently in this part of the
             himself coolly to recapitulate every aspect
                                                                    book, inferring that Sylvia’s mind is a lot more
             of his separation from his wife…
                                                                    scattered than that of Christopher. As the present
                                         The doctor’s
             batman, from the other side of the hut,                day of Part I comes to a close, it is taken up again
             said:                                                  at the beginning of Part II – thus giving the novel
                      “Poor ----------- O Nine                      its chronological level of structure. As Christopher
             Morgan!…” in a sing-song mocking                       rides off to see Sylvia (end of Part I), Sylvia sees
             voice… They might talk till half-past three.           Christopher arriving at the hotel (beginning of
                      But that was troublesome to a                 Part II). When she sees Perowne, Sylvia’s mind
             gentleman seeking to recapture what                    goes off on her memories of the affair she had with
             exactly were his relations with his wife.              him half a decade earlier in a provincial French
                      Before the doctor’s batman had                town. This vignette comes to an end when Sylvia,
             interrupted him by speaking startlingly of             amidst her reflections, suddenly realizes that
             O Nine Morgan [a deceased man whose                    Christopher may in fact be involved in another
             death haunts Christopher throughout the                affair in the small French town they are currently
             novel], Tietjens had got as far as what                in – Rouen. The chronological present time of the
             follows with his recapitulation: The lady,             novel then skips to that evening at dinner, where
             Mrs. Tietjens…                                         Sylvia joins Christopher and Sergeant-Major


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      Cowley. Throughout the course of the dinner,                 questioned as to what went on the previous night
      Sylvia’s mind becomes preoccupied with events                that he spent in Sylvia’s room. In such a fashion,
      that transpired the previous day, when she went for          the violent activities that night are revealed to us.
      tea at Lady Sachse’s residence. Sylvia then goes             It is at this point that Christopher is sent to the front
      into an internal dialogue, similar to Christopher’s          lines – an event that will surely result in his death.
      above, with Father Consett in heaven.                        Christopher’s mind at this point comes closest to a
         No More Parades then attains yet another                  breakdown than at any other point in the tetralogy.
      discursive layer of texture when Sylvia allows               Part III comes to a close when Campion inspects
      Christopher to read a series of letters that she             the cook-house of Christopher.
      has withheld from him up to this point. Among                     Unlike the more sprawling text of the first
      these is a letter from Mark Tietjens that Sylvia             novel in the series (not to mention The Good
      has already read; as Christopher reads the letter,           Soldier), Ford is successful in restraining his
      Sylvia simultaneously recites it in her head from            narrative to focus on the mindsets of his two major
      memory, a text that is then inserted as part of her          characters, Christopher and Sylvia. In this, he
      narration, allowing us – the readers – to read it            simultaneously narrows the scope of the novel in
      as well. Mizener (1985, p. 505) summarizes the               terms of space and time. All of the action of the
      event as follows:                                            novel takes place in two locations: the army base
                                                                   and Rouen. In temporal terms, the first part of No
            What we have here, then, is Sylvia’s                   More Parades takes place in the course of a single
            recollection of Mark’s sardonic description            evening and the following morning. The second
            of Sylvia’s efforts to persuade Mark to                part takes place on the same day in the hour or two
            withhold an income Christopher has in fact             preceding dinnertime. The third part takes place
            refused to take from Mark. Mark had felt               the following morning, within the course of a few
            Christopher should take the income but had             hours. Everything else that occurs outside of this
            not been able to make him; Sylvia thought              chronological temporal structure exists in the form
            Christopher had taken it and wanted Mark to            of remembrances in the minds of the two main
            take it back. As Sylvia recalls Mark’s letter,         characters – Christopher and Sylvia. They are
            we hear Mark’s own words about Sylvia                  the narrative agency, the consciousnesses through
            (and Valentine) and at the same time listen            which all action in the novel is allowed to take
            to Sylvia’s response to them. “Hearing”                place. Thus, it is the meaning of each occurrence
            the letter repeat itself in her memory, we             in No More Parades that takes precedence over the
            contemplate with her Christopher reading it            event itself; such a tightly woven structure enables
            to himself and – knowing well Christopher’s            Ford to fully explore the significance behind each
            feelings about the money, about Sylvia, and            event, and thus give us a richer insight into the
            about Valentine – we imagine his response to           inner lives of the characters.
            it. Thus three minds, all intimately familiar               A Man Could Stand Up, the third novel in the
            to us [by now], are brought before us, vivid           series, is perhaps the fullest expression of the
            with their own styles and voices, in response          theme of one consciousness at war with itself –
            to the same matter. Part II ends with Sylvia           an event that mirrors the actual war happening
            and Tietjens dancing to a phonograph: they             in the external world of the novel. In the course
            will go up to Sylvia’s bedroom shortly to              of the novel, both Christopher and Valentine are
            discuss their situation.                               finally able to “win” the battle with themselves,
                                                                   ultimately freeing themselves from the Edwardian
          The third part of No More Parades returns us             conventions of the past and fully adapting
      to the mind of Christopher. As this section opens,           themselves to the ways of the Modern era. Once
      Christopher is just waking up when Levin and                 again, we find the author taking his re-arrangements
      General Campion enter his tent. Christopher is               of events to a new extreme, departing even further


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       from the conventions of chronology than he did in                  Last Post, the final novel of the series, is in
       his previous novel.                                            many ways the most radical, as it takes place in the
           The narrative of A Man Could Stand Up begins               time span of just a few hours and all of the action
       on Armistice Day in 1918. In the beginning, the                occurs at the cottage of Valentine and Christopher.
       narrative is concerned with the mind of Valentine              The story is set sometime between the years of
       Wannop. As the novel begins, Valentine is on the               1926 and 1929, and Christopher is now in his early
       phone with Edith Ethel Duchemin, who is now                    forties. Sylvia has decided to free Christopher and
       married to Macmaster. She informs Edith that                   allow him to marry Valentine. Christopher arrives
       Christopher is back in London and in need of help.             at the bedside of Mark just in time to see him
       At this point, Valentine comes to the conclusion               die. The narrative of Last Post is almost entirely
       that the Edwardian values of her parents that she              comprised of interior monologues. We alternately
       has been ingrained with since childhood do not                 explore the mindscapes of Mark, Marie Leonie,
       function well in a postwar universe. She must                  Sylvia, and Valentine. Ford’s intention in focusing
       discard these values in order to move forward –                mainly on the minds of Mark and Marie Leonie is
       which means admitting to herself that she has been             to provide a sort of parallel to the relationship of
       hopelessly in love with Christopher ever since the             Christopher and Valentine. This completely shifts
       two of them parted (at the end of the first novel.)            the dichotomy that was set up in the first three
       At this point, she decides to seek out Christopher             books of the series; Christopher no longer figures
       and commit to him.                                             as the central character – that distinction now
           The second part of A Man Could Stand Up                    goes to Mark, with the female counterpart given
       begins several months prior and occupies itself                to Marie Leonie, and Valentine and Sylvia finding
       with the mind of Christopher. It takes place during            themselves cast aside. In many ways, Mark is
       the great battle during the course of which the                nearly identical to Tietjens – he is perhaps Tietjens
       Allies were very nearly defeated by Ludendorff.                minus the martyr complex that occasionally mars
       Similar to Edith in the previous chapter, it is at this        the actions of the latter. At the same time, Mark
       moment that Christopher frees himself of his Tory              is unlike Christopher in that he refuses – up to
       Younger Son obligations by vowing to give up his               the point of his death – to reject the Edwardian
       job in the Imperial Department of Statistics, giving           values of the old world in order to embrace those
       up his loyalty to Sylvia, and moving to the country            of Modernity. Thus, by elaborating on the inner
       to settle down with Valentine Wannop and sell                  workings of Mark’s mind, Ford employs a clever
       antiques. While this part bears no chronological               narrative device whereby he actually expounds
       relation to the first part of the novel, it very nearly        on aspects of Christopher’s personality that the
       parallels the first part in meaning. Again, Ford has           reader would not be able to gouge were he to have
       gone even further in extrapolating the meaning of              remained inside Christopher’s mind. By the time
       events rather than the events themselves.                      one finishes this masterful work, the battle begun
           In the third part of the novel, the minds of               in the first novel has reached a poignant climax.
       Valentine and Christopher are alternately explored                 The interior monologue of Marie Leonie, on
       through the course of a meeting between the two                the other hand, imbues the novel with a decidedly
       at Grays Inn. Without even intending to do so, the             Francophone air that is startlingly new in the
       two gradually come to a precise understanding of               tetralogy. While her tastes are very bourgeois,
       one another and discover that they hold the same               despite the fact that she previously worked as a
       views in common. Another telephone call occurs.                chorus girl before her liaison with Mark, the real
       It is at this point that Wannop attempts to prevent            purpose that Marie Leonie serves is to add a level
       the union of Valentine and Christopher, and in the             of criticism to the texture of the novel, as she is
       process, inadvertently reveals that Valentine’s sole           highly disapproving of both Christopher and
       intention in coming to Grays Inn was to become                 Valentine. What makes Marie Leonie’s position in
       his mistress.                                                  Last Post awkward, however, is the fact that she is


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      not directly linked with any of the characters in the         trilogy, the books in fact represent a closed circle:
      previous books – her appearance is sudden, and                they start off with Tietjens and his loved ones as
      thus, disruptive. This has been a point of contention         Edwardians and closes with them having evolved
      for critics over the years, many of who feel that             into Modern beings. At the same time, Last Post
      Marie Leonie’s sudden appearance unsettles the                does not really serve as a conclusion to the series
      otherwise perfect structure of Parade’s End.                  – it is more like a coda to the trilogy.
          At the same time, Last Post allows Christopher                Owing to the crafty texture one finds in
      to sort out many of the conflicts that emerged in             Parade’s End, it is in fact at times difficult for
      the previous novels. After taking a cottage with              the casual reader to figure out “what happens”
      Valentine in Fittleworth, he persuades Mark                   (except, of course, in Last Post, when the events
      and Marie Leonie to join them. In Last Post,                  form the foreground of the novel.) The novel is
      Christopher is finally able to organize his antique           instead meant to dramatize the consciousness
      business. This is not to say that Christopher is able         of its characters while exploring the underlying
      to fully resolve everything and that problems do              meaning behind each event, rather than focusing
      not persist throughout the novel – for this would             on the event itself. The events that come to
      be untrue to life, more in tune with the fairy tales          the surface in each of the novels are those that
      that Ford penned early on in his career. Rather,              arise incidentally in the consciousnesses of the
      Last Post comes to an end with Christopher and                characters that the narrative focuses on at any
      Valentine leading a frugal, obscure life that puts            given point. This means that each of the novels
      them in tune with the Modern era. About the other             in the tetralogy is rife with contradictions. These
      characters, we know very little about their future.           contradictions, however, do not disturb our reading
      We must instead use our imaginations. Will Sylvia,            of the books, because we come to realize that such
      for example, marry Campion? In such conditions,               contradictions are true to life. The structures of
      Ford implies, nothing is ever certain, and it is this         the novels, in fact, are designed so as to reveal the
      uncertainty that ultimately defines us and keeps us           very structurelessness of life and thought. It is
      bound together as humans in the ongoing struggle              only when the artist applies order – whether that
      for survival.                                                 order is chronological or otherwise – to life that
          It should be noted that Ford later came to                the work of art (or literature) emerges. This puts
      despise Last Post so intensely that the work is not           Ford’s process in line with Nietzsche’s conception
      included in the Bodley Head edition of Parade’s               of the Apollonian and Dionysian modes of
      End. Many critics, including Graham Greene,                   literature. In Parade’s End, Dionysus is evoked
      conceded with Ford’s opinion that this work is not            through the “wild” consciousnesses of Ford’s main
      of very high quality. Ford insisted that Parade’s             characters; it is only through Ford, the author, and
      End should be instead viewed as a trilogy, and                his rendering of these consciousnesses, that the
      that Last Post was little more than a mistake that            Apollonian mode of order is imposed on them.
      should have never seen the light of day. Others,                  To conclude, it seems clear that the novels
      such as Mizener (1985, p. 508) believe that Last              of Parade’s End form the most cohesive
      Post in fact serves as an appropriate ending to               expression of what would come to be termed
      Parade’s End. It does exactly what Ford said that             literary Impressionism. Like the same movement
      he set out to do – that is, to reveal what happens            in painting, Ford’s Impressionism sought to
      to Tietjens. Perhaps this is why Ford grew to                 understand the structure and meaning underlying
      dislike it so much – he would have much rather                the events that form the basis of each of his
      left it a mystery in the end. The focus in Last Post,         novels. Rather than merely describing the events
      however, is not on the meaning of these events,               themselves, as so many authors working in a more
      but on the events themselves – a fact that unsettles          traditional vein have been content to do over the
      the rigorous structure that Ford had set up in the            years, Parade’s End takes the fluctuations and
      previous books of the tetralogy. After all, seen as a         constant contradictions of consciousness itself


                              School of Doctoral Studies (European Union) Journal - July, 2009 No. 1
2009                                      Analysis on Modernism and Literary Impressionism                                     247


       as its ultimate subject, and renders these tics and                   dialogic conception of writing the novel
       flows in a finely textured prose that has its parallels               emerged as the form par excellence for the
       in the paintings of Monet and Van Gogh, where                         exploration of psychological bafflement,
       the ultimate meaning counts for more than what is                     social fragmentation, and historical change
       actually being depicted.                                              (Gasiorek 2004, p. 206).

       Conclusion                                                         Thus, the ultimate subject of Ford’s novels is
                                                                      the nature of perception itself – its fluctuations,
           In reading two of Ford Madox Ford’s greatest               contradictions, and conflicts with the surrounding
       literary creations, we come to find that, in addition          culture and the norms that it imposes on the
       to being a gifted storyteller, Ford was also a gifted          individual. This opens up the philosophical
       practitioner of the art and craft of writing. His              conflict between freedom and determinism – a
       finely textured literary output gives rise to one of           subject that will have to be explored in fuller detail
       the finest examples of Impressionism that we have              elsewhere.
       in literature.                                                     What distinguishes Ford’s Impressionism as a
           As we have seen in our analysis of The Good                literary device is the fact that he combined it with
       Soldier and the novels comprising Parade’s End,                a critical consciousness that, together, gave rise to
       Ford deploys Impressionistic narrative techniques              a uniquely Modernist conception of the universe.
       as a means of rendering human complexity in all                This is perhaps most evident in the Parade’s End
       its torturous glory. Impressionism, as a narrative             novels, where consciousness itself becomes the
       device, reveals a lot not just about the individual,           main subject – as well as the narrative agency.
       but about others, as well. In short, Ford’s                    The ultimate Modernist masterpiece is that which
       Impressionism was deployed in order to give                    contains its own internal criticism; as we have
       readers an idea of what it was like to be human at             shown in our discussion of the Parade’s End
       a particular time and place. In this respect, Ford’s           tetralogy, it is safe to say that these works, taken
       novels can be seen on the same pedestal as Joyce’s             together, would fit this definition.
       Ulysses. In the words of Gasiorek:                                 Ford’s novels also had a social motivation –
                                                                      that is, he wished to keep track of the historical
              Impressionism responded to what Ford                    changes that were occurring in England and the
              saw as the inescapably subjective nature                rest of the world as he was busy writing. This is
              of human perception; it also provided a                 where Ford’s Impressionism crossed roads with
              technique for the mirroring of the socio-               his skepticism. Cultural dislocation could only be
              cultural changes associated with modernity.             dissected, for Ford, through his highly structured,
              Impressionism, in short, had a historical               textured works. The skepticism we find in Ford,
              as well as a cognitive dimension: it sought             as expressed through his characters, once again
              to portray the mental processes by which                adds a critical dimension to his works – his novels
              knowledge is gained and to represent                    thus become a vehicle for social criticism, as well
              the difficulties inherent in any attempt to             as aesthetic criticism.
              comprehend contemporary life. These two                     War became a catalyst for much of Ford’s
              aims ratified a questioning, open-ended,                writing in both The Good Soldier and Parade’s
              modernist fictional mode. Impressionism’s               End, even when it is not explicitly referred to by
              hostility to didacticism and moralism could             name. But it is because of war that Ford’s literary
              be seen in the techniques it deployed to                Impressionism makes sense – as Impressionism
              enter imaginatively into human dilemmas                 and Modernism were both rooted in fragmentation,
              and to depict them in all their bewildering             they were meant to mirror the fragmentation that
              complexity, leaving readers to make their               was occurring in the world in the early years of
              own interpretations and judgments. In this              the 20th century. This impression of life artists


                              D. Petri, A. Richardson - Analysis on Modernism and Literary Impressionism
248                                    School of Doctoral Studies (European Union) Journal                              July


      undoubtedly gleamed from the First World War
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                           D. Petri, A. Richardson - Analysis on Modernism and Literary Impressionism

								
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