Trained for Genius: The Life and Writings of Ford Madox Ford

Trained for Genius: The Life and Writings of Ford Madox Ford

Trained for Genius: The Life and Writings of Ford Madox Ford

Trained for Genius: The Life and Writings of Ford Madox Ford

Excerpt

Some words of preliminary explanation are required before offering this biographical sketch to an indulgent public. It is the fourth book which has so far appeared dealing with the career and personality of Ford Madox Ford. The first two were written by women who shared his life over a period of years; the third, South Lodge, written by myself, took the form of personal memories, amplified by a mass of material which came into my hands in 1942, on the death of Violet Hunt. The present volume is in no sense a repetition of South Lodge, nor does it contain any quotations from its predecessor. The idea of writing Ford's life was indirectly put into my head by a letter I received from his second daughter and my purpose was, with her assistance--which was in the first stages generously forth-coming--to compile a detached and coherent record of her father's career. I was not, at this period, aware who was Ford's literary executor, nor had I any information as to the terms of his will. Rumours had reached England that a biography of Ford, by one of his American admirers, was in course of preparation. While recognising that only some American literary colleague could write With authority about Ford's closing years, I could not imagine how any American could adequately cover the remainder of his life, all the material concerning which was to be found in England. Two points appeared to be established. First, that the literary executor, whoever he or she might prove to be, had no objection in principle to a biography being written; second, that if the American work eventually materialised, there was no reason why it should clash with mine. I accordingly went ahead with my project and succeeded in arranging a contract with my publishers. Later, I discovered that Ford had made Miss Janice Ford Biala his literary executrix and, as soon as I had her address in New York, I wrote to tell her what I had . . .

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