NauenThen

Biala

January 11, 2018

Tags: Biala, Ford Madox Ford, Tibor de Nagy

I first took notice of the painter Biala, first name Janice I once heard, in connection with Ford Madox Ford, but she is terrific in her own right. What a pleasure to see the well-chosen show at Tibor de Nagy yesterday. Several small paintings of bouquets, a few large landscapes, this Bonnard-esque interior-exterior. Her work is self-confident in the way of someone with nothing to prove.

Tibor de Nagy's principal, Andy Arnot, said Biala was Ford's literary executor. I wonder what happened to his daughters. Did they have any connection to his estate later in life? I wonder how I can find out more than their birth & death dates.

But that's mostly idle curiosity, (more…)

Parade's End

September 17, 2017

Tags: Ford Madox Ford

I read a passing reference to "The Last Post" & immediately picked up my favorite and much-read book, Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End.

"Mrs. Satterthwaite interested herself — it was the only interest she had — in handsome, thin, and horribly disreputable young men."

"[Sylvia's] very oval, regular face had an expression of virginal lack of interest such as used to be worn by fashionable Paris courtesans a decade before that time."

Either you like sentences like these & want more (800 pages more, in fact) or you don't & you close Parade's End after the first 2 pages.

World War I poetry

August 5, 2014

Tags: World War I, Ford Madox Ford, Apollinaire

So much remarkable poetry came out of World War I, much of it still as modern as Schoenberg. Modern in language, modern in attitude.

When you see millions of the mouthless dead
Across your dreams in pale battalions go,
Say not soft things as other men have said,
That you'll remember. For you need not so.
Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know
It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?
Nor tears. Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.
Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.
Say only this, "They are dead." Then add thereto,
"Yet many a better one has died before."
Then, scanning all the o'ercrowded mass, should you
Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,
It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.
Great death has made all his for evermore.

—Charles Hamilton Sorley, 1895-1915, killed at Loos

World War I centenary

July 2, 2014

Tags: World War I, Ford Madox Ford, Apollinaire

No discussion of WWI is complete without noting that it was a war fought by all strata of society, including the educated and rich. One reason many of us still feel so connected to this war is that we have so much eloquent writing by participants, including one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, Ford Madox Ford's tetralogy Parade's End.

So many artists died or served: French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, English poet Wilfred Owen ("Dulce et Decorum Est"), Hemingway, Vera Brittain (Testament of Youth), Robert Graves (Goodbye to All That), JRR Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, A. A. Milne, Somerset Maugham, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Henry Moore, Wyndham Lewis, E. M. Forster, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Edmund Wilson, John Dos Passos, e. e. cummings, South Dakota painter Harvey Dunn, Georges Braque, Fernand Leger, Jean Cocteau, Otto Dix, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, Walter Gropius. The list is impossibly long.

Apollinaire (who was trepanned; (more…)

British e-literature

August 30, 2013

Tags: Ford Madox Ford, World War I, Jonathan Skinner

Joyce, Pound, FMF, random dude (some rich guy, says Johnny)
My favorite novel is Parade's End, by Ford Madox Ford. I re-read it every couple of years and about it occasionally. Even though we own 3 copies, Johnny got the Everyman edition out of the library, with an intro by Malcom Bradbury. He mentions several WWI novels, most of which I'd never heard of, among them Futility by William Gerhardie, Disenchantment by C.E. Montague, R.H. Mottram's Spanish Farm trilogy, Death of a Hero by Richard Aldington, Middle Parts of Fortune by Frederic Manning (originally published in 1929 by "Private 19022," so incendiary was it), and (more…)