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Grandiose Moments

Frank Kermode, 6 February 1997

Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, Vol. II 
by Max Saunders.
Oxford, 696 pp., £35, September 1996, 0 19 212608 3
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... biographers. In 1971 Arthur Mizener’s The Saddest Story seemed adequately exhaustive, but now Max Saunders comes along with two vast volumes, even more thorough and more than doubling the page count. Alan Judd, faithful to Ford’s own lack of respect for academic pieties, brought out his footnoteless but still valuable life of Ford in 1990. ...


Ian Hamilton, 20 June 1996

Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life 
by Max Saunders.
Oxford, 632 pp., £35, February 1996, 0 19 211789 0
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... cash-flow. There was always a Ford scandal on the go. Chief among these, in the period covered by Max Saunders’s first volume, was his liaison with the writer Violet Hunt, with whom he lived as man and wife – or wife and man – after deserting Elsie Martindale, the legal spouse he had newsworthily eloped with in his youth. Elsie, a Roman ...

Lemon and Pink

David Trotter: The Sorrows of Young Ford, 1 June 2000

Return to Yesterday 
by Ford Madox Ford, edited by Bill Hutchings.
Carcanet, 330 pp., £14.95, August 1999, 1 85754 397 1
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War Prose 
by Ford Madox Ford, edited by Max Saunders.
Carcanet, 276 pp., £14.95, August 1999, 1 85754 396 3
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... effect that the gulf separating one world from the other was not as wide as he sometimes made out. Max Saunders, the author of an indispensable two-volume biography of Ford which treats the war as the natural division in his career, has pulled together a rich variety of reflections on conflict and its aftermath. These are, as it were, notes for the war ...

At the Hayward

Marina Warner: Tracey Emin, 25 August 2011

... and Anaïs Nin. In Self-Impression, his remarkable study of Victorian and Edwardian autobiography, Max Saunders discusses the vogue for fake memoirs, a genre he calls ‘autobiografiction’, that is books in which the ‘I’ is an adopted alter ego, performed with complete convincingness.* Saunders is interested in ...

I now, I then

Thomas Keymer: Life-Writing, 17 August 2017

AHistory of English Autobiography 
edited by Adam Smyth.
Cambridge, 437 pp., £64.99, June 2016, 978 1 107 07841 3
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... an alternative to earlier autonomous individualism, and in a penetrating chapter on Henry James, Max Saunders explores how James’s memoir-writing affected his novel-writing: his recognition that ‘really, universally, relations stop nowhere, and the exquisite problem of the artist is eternally but to draw … the circle within which they shall ...

Kill the tuna can

Christopher Tayler: George Saunders, 8 June 2006

The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil and In Persuasion Nation 
by George Saunders.
Bloomsbury, 358 pp., £10.99, June 2006, 0 7475 8221 1
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... George Saunders – whose semi-official website carries a reminder that the man who played Addison DeWitt in All about Eve was called George SANDERS – was born in Chicago in 1958. A schoolteacher got him interested in literature, but having been exposed at an impressionable age to the novels of Ayn Rand he ended up studying geophysical engineering: ‘I didn’t want to be one of those life-sucking parasitic artists,’ he recalled last year ...

Bad Dads

Zachary Leader, 6 April 1995

In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of a Lost War 
by Tobias Wolff.
Bloomsbury, 210 pp., £12.99, November 1994, 0 7475 1919 6
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Tallien: A Brief Romance 
by Frederic Tuten.
Marion Boyars, 152 pp., £9.95, November 1994, 0 7145 2990 7
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Roommates: My Grandfather’s Story 
by Max Apple.
Little, Brown, 241 pp., £12.99, November 1994, 0 316 91241 7
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... second. Who can blame him? His father was a conman and impostor: Arthur Samuels Wolff, aka Arthur Saunders Wolff III, aka Saunders Answell-Wolff III, the ‘Duke’ of Tobias’s brother Geoffrey’s memoir, The Duke of Deception (1979). As the memoirs of both Wolff brothers show, the father spent his life shedding past ...

Wild Hearts

Peter Wollen, 6 April 1995

Virginia Woolf 
by James King.
Hamish Hamilton, 699 pp., £25, September 1994, 0 241 13063 8
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... Vanessa Bell, Frederick and Jessie Etchells, himself, Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Helen Saunders and some others – at the Galerie Barbazanges in Paris, which was located on the ground floor of Poiret’s imposing residence at 109 rue Faubourg St-Honoré, next door to the Martine interior design workshop which served as the model for Omega. The ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!, 3 January 2019

... that thing in the corner a rhubarb forcer?’12 May. Finish reading Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. There’s nothing I can think of to compare it with except Max Porter’s Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, both of them novels about bereavement, with Saunders’s book largely set ...

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