• Aka—Ford Hermann Hueffer, Ford Madox Hueffer
• Birth—December 17, 1873
• Where—Merton, Surrey, England, UK
• Death—June 26, 1939
• Where—Deauville, France
Ford Madox Ford was an English novelist, poet, critic and editor whose journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature.
He is best remembered for The Good Soldier (1915) and the Parade's End tetralogy.* The Good Soldier is frequently included among the great literature of the past century, including the Modern Library 100 Best Novels, The Observer's "100 Greatest Novels of All Time" and The Guardian's "1000 novels everyone must read."
Born Ford Hermann Hueffer, the son of Francis Hueffer, he was Ford Madox Hueffer before he finally—in 1919, at a time when German connotations proved unpopular—settled on the name Ford Madox Ford in honour of his grandfather, the Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown, whose biography he had written.
The Good Soldier (1915), a novel set just before World War I which chronicles the tragic lives of two "perfect couples" using intricate flashbacks. In a "Dedicatory Letter to Stella Ford” that prefaces the novel, Ford reports that a friend pronounced The Good Soldier “the finest French novel in the English language!”
Ford was involved in the British war propaganda after the outbreak of World War I. He worked for the War Propaganda Bureau managed by C. F. G. Masterman with other writers and scholars who were popular in those years, such as Arnold Bennett, G. K. Chesterton, John Galsworthy, Hilaire Belloc and Gilbert Murray. Ford wrote two propaganda books for Masterman, namely When Blood is Their Argument: An Analysis of Prussian Culture (1915), with the help of Richard Aldington, and Between St. Dennis and St. George: A Sketch of Three Civilizations (1915).
After writing the two propaganda books, Ford enlisted in the Welsh Regiment on 30 July 1915, and was sent to France, thus ending his cooperation with the War Propaganda Bureau. His combat experiences and his previous propaganda activities inspired his tetralogy Parade's End (1924–1928), set in England and on the Western Front before, during and after World War I.
Ford also wrote dozens of novels as well as essays, poetry, memoir and literary criticism, and collaborated with Joseph Conrad on two novels, The Inheritors (1901) and Romance (1903).
His novel Ladies Whose Bright Eyes (1911, extensively revised in 1935) is, in a sense, the reverse of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
In 1908, Ford founded The English Review, in which he published Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, Joseph Conrad, Henry James, John Galsworthy and William Butler Yeats, and gave debuts to Wyndham Lewis, D. H. Lawrence and Norman Douglas.
In 1924, he founded The Transatlantic Review, a journal with great influence on modern literature. Staying with the artistic community in the Latin Quarter of Paris, France, he made friends with James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and Jean Rhys, all of whom he would publish.
In a later sojourn in the United States, he was involved with Allen Tate, Caroline Gordon, Katherine Anne Porter and Robert Lowell (who was then a student).
Ford spent the last years of his life teaching at Olivet College in Michigan, and died in Deauville, France, at the age of 65.
• Despite his deep Victorian roots, Ford was always a champion of new literature and literary experimentation.
• Ford is the model for the character Braddocks in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Known in his role as critic for the statement, "Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you."
• He had an affair with Jean Rhys (author of The Wide Sargasso Sea — a "prequel" to Jane Eyre), which ended bitterly.
• Ford went through several name changes. He was baptized Ford Hermann Hueffer, but later adopted his mother's name of Madox. Later he claimed he was Baron Hueffer von Aschendorf, but, after World War I, wanting to disavow his German background, he finally settled on Ford Madox Ford. (From Wikipedia.)
* Parade's End consists of four novels, now bound together: Some Do Not... (1924); No More Parades (1925); A Man Could Stand Up (1926); and The Last Post (1928).
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