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This article is taken from PN Review 4, Volume 4 Number 4, July - September 1978.

Ford Madox Ford: Saltavit et Placuit C.H. Sisson

FORD WAS born in 1873. He was Ford Hermann Hueffer, according to his birth certificate. He later gave himself the name of Ford Madox Hueffer, out of compliment to his maternal grandfather, the painter Ford Madox Brown. After the war of 1914-18, he became Ford Madox Ford, apparently wishing to dissociate himself further from the German connection. His father had been born in Münster, and became the musical critic of The Times, as well as the correspondent of French and German papers; he wrote a book about the Troubadours and was a friend of Mistral. He died when Ford was sixteen and Ford, with his mother and brother, went to live at Ford Madox Brown's establishment near Regent's Park. The Pre-Raphaelites reigned over his adolescence. They are everywhere in his books of reminiscences. It was from this milieu he published his first three books, at the age of nineteen, his fourth at the age of twenty, and his fifth at the age of twenty-one. When he died, in 1939, he had published between seventy and eighty books. You may say he was a writer.

There is room for a certain variety in seventy or eighty books. There is also room for some that can be forgotten. Some of Ford's need never be read, but the number of pages he covered-and the way he covered them-is part of his achievement. If six or eight books give you the best of Ford, they do not give you him entirely, ...


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