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This article is taken from PN Review 182, Volume 34 Number 6, July - August 2008.

Ford + Biala: A Fateful Meeting Jason Andrew

There must be young men and women, of genius even, who are unsuited to gain their early living at normal occupations, or whose feelings will not let them do so. For these New York is the best place in America... but it is not a good place because it does not arrange itself to suit their necessities. Until it does so it must be content to see such young men and women drift... into expatriation. For them there is... Paris.
Ford Madox Ford, New York is Not America1


When the young American painter, Janice Biala, met the great English novelist Ford Madox Ford, she was twenty-six and he was fifty-seven. They met in Paris on May Day, 1930, at one of Ford's regular Thursday afternoon salons. She had arrived from New York just five days prior, travelling at the invitation of her best friend Eileen Lake, an aspiring poet.

Lured to the gathering at Ford's with the promise of meeting Ezra Pound, whom she much admired, Biala instead found herself alongside Ford, the incorrigible romancer. Ford, legendary and proud, perched himself on the edge of the long divan, and in the dim light the pair 'seem to be alone...' recalled Ford in his collection of poems dedicated to Biala.2 Their meeting was the kind of spontaneous fiction for which Ford was famous - the principal character being himself.

Biala hoped that France would offer a new life ...


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