Intersecting Life and Literature: Narrative Technique of Ford Madox Ford

By:
Prof. G. Dawn Craner
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The British author, Ford Madox Ford, pointed out time and again that he felt technique to be more important than subject matter. Ford asserted that a novel should be read, not simply to discover the outcome of a story, but rather to sustain a literary experience. To explain, he compared the reading of a novel to the eating of a meal:
"You eat a tiny portion of each of the seven courses of a dinner, not to arrive at repletion, but in order to taste certain flavors in sequence and to be moved by the almost infinite trains of association that will arise in your brain as the tongue communicates to it those savours (Vogue 130).
In collaboration with Joseph Conrad, Ford decided that the goal of a writer should be to leave behind him a creative record of his own time. He thought that the business of a novel was to present life's impressions in exactly the manner in which a persona might think back on them, without the author's appearing in the book personally. The story should be told through a narrator "who must be limited by probability as to what he can know of the affair he is adumbrating (Regents Critics 68)."
Ford's masterpiece in which he best displayed his notions on narrative technique, was his novel, The Good Soldier. The book provides a fascinating departure from most reports by narrators. First, the story is narrated in a "time-shift" order (Ford's term for stream-of-consciousness narration); second, the story is narrated by a persona whose version of what happened becomes less and less credible as the book progresses.
This presentation will discuss and analyze Ford's philosophy of narrative technique, and will demonstrate that technique as it was used in his book, The Good Soldier.


Keywords: Narrative, Ford Madox Ford, Good Soldier, The
Stream: Constructing Art Worlds
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. G. Dawn Craner

Associate Professor, Communication Department, Boise State University
USA

As an Associate Professor of Communication, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA, G. Dawn Craner teaches courses in Communication Arts and Performance and Interpersonal Communication. Prof. Craner holds a Master of Arts Degree from Purdue University (Lafayette, Indiana, USA) and a Bachelor of Arts from Utah State University (Logan, Utah, USA). Her research interests are textual analysis and cultural studies. In addition, she scripts and directs performances of Readers Theater; does consulting/training for government, professional, and business organizations; and motivational speaking to local, state, regional, and national audiences. She was nominated as a Boise State University Foundation Scholar Teacher of the Year, and has been a recipient of teaching and research grants.

Ref: A06P0118