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Homage to Marginality

Tony Tanner, 7 February 1980

Joseph Conrad: The Three Lives 
by Frederick Karl.
Faber, 1008 pp., £12.50, May 1980, 0 571 11386 9
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... and psychological, of the writing career; its peaks and its decline; the tortuous involvement with FordMadox Ford; the family troubles and endless illnesses; the belated arrival of real fame just at a time when a younger generation of writers was ...

Lost Empire

D.J. Enright, 16 October 1980

Earthly Powers 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 650 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 09 143910 8
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... Toomey’s real-life colleagues in the arts get a bad press. H.G. Wells is ‘a satyromaniac’, FordMadox Ford has bad breath and a dirty mind, Norman Douglas is ‘filthy’ and ‘boy shagging’, T.S. Eliot is wrong about the Tarot pack and ...


Mary-Kay Wilmers: The Menopause, 10 October 1991

... used to call ‘the grade A crumpet’ until at last senility takes hold. (In James’s phrase, FordMadox Ford, himself neither young nor pretty, had the grade A crumpet ‘coming at him like kamikazes’.) Germaine Greer may ...

In the Spirit of Mayhew

Frank Kermode: Rohinton Mistry, 25 April 2002

Family Matters 
by Rohinton Mistry.
Faber, 487 pp., £16.99, April 2002, 0 571 19427 3
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... aware of the new techniques, new styles of ‘treatment’, currently being explored by Conrad and FordMadox Ford, and aware also of the new rules of the game as promulgated by Henry James with his passion for ‘doing’. Bennett greatly admired ...

Point of View

Frank Kermode: Atonement by Ian McEwan, 4 October 2001

by Ian McEwan.
Cape, 372 pp., £16.99, September 2001, 0 224 06252 2
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... that one is tempted to imagine that the best readers of this book might be Henry James and FordMadox Ford. It is, in perhaps the only possible way, a philosophical novel, pitting the imagination against what it has to imagine if we are to ...

So Amused

Sarah Rigby: Fay Weldon, 11 July 2002

Auto da Fay 
by Fay Weldon.
Flamingo, 366 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 9780007109920
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... when Fay is 12, regales the girls with tales of her prewar meetings in London with figures such as FordMadox Ford, Ezra Pound (who apparently had a habit of playing her piano with his nose when drunk), H.G. Wells and E. Nesbit, who, Weldon’s ...

‘If I Could Only Draw Like That’

P.N. Furbank, 24 November 1994

The Gentle Art of Making Enemies 
by James McNeill Whistler.
Heinemann, 338 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 434 20166 9
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James McNeill Whistler: Beyond the Myth 
by Ronald Anderson and Anne Koval.
Murray, 544 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 7195 5027 0
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... lies (or ‘mythology’). But then, the objection suggests itself, Whistler was not quite a FordMadox Ford and did not positively demand to be believed. When he denied that he, a distinguished Southerner, could have been born in the horrid ...


Mary-Kay Wilmers: Karl Miller Remembered, 9 October 2014

... a point of view and an attitude and – as his pieces did – their own way of saying things (of FordMadox Ford, Clive James wrote in the Listener, ‘the grade A crumpet came at him like kamikazes’). He said he would publish anything as long ...


Frank Kermode, 2 April 1981

God’s Fifth Column: A Biography of the Age, 1890-1940 
by William Gerhardie, Michael Holroyd and Robert Skidelsky.
Hodder, 360 pp., £11.95, March 1981, 0 340 26340 7
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by William Gerhardie.
Penguin, 184 pp., £1.75, February 1981, 0 14 000391 6
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... to have time to achieve an understanding of what he was really up to. In some ways he resembles FordMadox Ford, though Ford was much more prolific, indeed embarrassingly ...

Time and the Sea

Fredric Jameson, 16 April 2020

... many obstacles as in The Shadow-Line but reaches a different and more wondrous conclusion (Francis Ford Coppola borrowed it for Apocalypse Now, his film version of Heart of Darkness). Touching shore at long last in the dark, Marlow wakes from the sleep of exhaustion to a silent dawn: I opened my eyes … and then I saw the ...

Leave off saying I want you to be savages

Sandra Gilbert: D.H. Lawrence, 19 March 1998

D.H. Lawrence: Dying Game 1922-30 
by David Ellis.
Cambridge, 814 pp., £25, January 1998, 0 521 25421 3
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... the ‘authentic projects’ delineating the ‘unvoiced’ life of the working classes that FordMadox Ford and others wanted from him – he was hardly the bored sophisticate that Eliot affected to be. Of his own early relationship with ...

Ejected Gentleman

Norman Page, 7 May 1987

John Galsworthy’s Life and Art: An Alien’s Fortress 
by James Gindin.
Macmillan, 616 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 333 40812 8
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... the end of his life that he had ‘never been part and parcel of the England he has loved’; told FordMadox Ford (if the latter, so often untrustworthy, is to be believed) that he had never been ‘absolutely in the inner circle’ of ...

Condy’s Fluid

P.N. Furbank, 25 October 1990

A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture 
by Samuel Hynes.
Bodley Head, 514 pp., £20, October 1990, 0 370 30451 9
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Killing in Verse and Prose, and Other Essays 
by Paul Fussell.
Bellew, 294 pp., £9.95, October 1990, 0 947792 55 4
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... history’: he offers such notions about history almost as if he were actually endorsing them. FordMadox Ford was never more Fordian than when he wrote in the manuscript of No Enemy in 1919: If, before the war, one had any function it was that ...

A Lot of Travail

Michael Wood: T.S. Eliot’s Letters, 3 December 2009

The Letters of T.S. Eliot, Vol. II: 1923-25 
edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton.
Faber, 878 pp., £35, November 2009, 978 0 571 14081 7
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... Land, he said, was ‘neither a success nor a failure – simply a struggle’, and he teased FordMadox Ford by telling him he thought there were ‘about thirty good lines in The Waste Land, can you find them?’ The poem has 434 lines. ...


Jenny Diski: Happiness, 23 September 2010

... once tried this thought out on a panel on a TV book show when we were talking about a biography of FordMadox Ford. There was general agreement that his had been a tragic life, evidenced by catastrophic love affairs, difficulty in writing and ...

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