Critical Writings of Ford Madox Ford

Critical Writings of Ford Madox Ford

Critical Writings of Ford Madox Ford

Critical Writings of Ford Madox Ford

Excerpt

There is a certain poetic justice in the fact that this collection of an English novelist's critical writings is appearing for the first time in the State of Nebraska, for from about 1923 until his death in 1939, Ford Madox Ford continuously asserted that the best writing in English of those years was being produced not by the inhabitants of the older literary centres like London, New York, and Boston, but by men and women who were born west of the Hudson River. The names of Ernest Hemingway, Carl Sandburg, John Dos Passos, James Farrell, Glenway Wescott, Theodore Dreiser, Ring Lardner, Sherwood Anderson, Sinclair Lewis, and Scott Fitzgerald, all of whom came from the Middle West, suggest that Ford was not far wrong in his literary judgment.

Early in his career Ford had become acquainted with two American writers, Stephen Crane and Henry James, both of whom were then living in England, and during the course of his first trip to the United States in 1906, he met Nebraska's Willa Cather, who at the time was working for McClure Magazine in New York. After his return to England and his assumption of the editorship of The English Review, he encountered a number of other Mid-Western writers, among them Ezra Pound of Idaho, T. S. Eliot of Missouri, and John Gould Fletcher of Arkansas. It was not until 1924, however, when he became editor of The Transatlantic Review in Paris, that he became convinced of the dominance over Anglo-Saxon literature of writing emanating from the Middle West and South. Through his friendship with American writers like Katherine Anne Porter, Caroline Gordon, and Allen Tate, at the end of his life he even took a position as artist-in-residence at a small college in Michigan.

But lest this emphasis seem chauvinistic--and therefore not in keeping with Ford's own belief in an international republic of letters--it would be well to consider his standards as a literary . . .

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