27–29 September 2012
Institute of English Studies, University of London
2012 proved to be an annus mirabilis for Ford and Fordians. The Good Soldier was published twice: Martin Stannard’s second Norton Critical Edition was followed by Max Saunders’s Oxford University Press edition. OUP also issued in paperback Max’s two-volume Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life. Rodopi published the eleventh volume of International Ford Madox Ford Studies: Ford Madox Ford and America, edited by Sara Haslam and Seamus O’Malley (see the IFMFS page). Other publications engaging with Ford include Rob Hawkes’s Ford Madox Ford and the Misfit Moderns: Edwardian Fiction and the First World War, Nathan Waddell’s Modernist Nowheres: Politics and Utopia in Early Modernist Writing 1900–1920 (both Palgrave Macmillan), and Julian Barnes’s Through the Window: Seventeen Essays (and One Short Story) (Vintage).
In August–September, there was the brilliant five-part production – ‘one of the finest things the BBC has ever made’ (The Independent) – of Tom Stoppard’s adaptation ofParade’s End, directed by Susanna White, and the insightful, sensitive and at times moving Who on Earth Was Ford Madox Ford? A Culture Show Special, written, produced and directed by Rupert Edwards. A DVD of the television series has been released (it includes a ‘Behind the Scenes’ documentary), Dirk Brossé’s soundtrack is available digitally and on CD, and Faber has published Stoppard’s script (with an Introduction by the author and ‘bonus scenes’).
If all that was not enough, in September there was ‘Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End: Modernism and the First World War’, a three-day conference at the Institute of English Studies. Speakers and delegates came from around the world to discuss and celebrate Ford’s First World War modernist masterpiece.
Twenty-six very impressive papers were presented:
- Christos Hadjiyannis (Institute of English Studies) – ‘Ford Madox Ford, T. E. Hulme and the First World War’.
- Rob Spence (Edge Hill University) – ‘Ford and Lewis: The Attraction of Opposites’.
- John Attridge (University of New South Wales) – ‘Englishness and Taciturnity in Parade’s End and Andre Maurois’s Les Silences du Colonel Bramble’.
- Seamus O’Malley (City University of New York) – ‘All That is Solid Turns to Mud: Parade’s End and the Liquidity of Landed Relations’.
- Austin Riede (North Georgia College and State University) – ‘“Cleaned, sand-dried bones”: Christopher Tietjens, Vera Brittain and the Anodyne of War’.
- Dominique Lemarchal (Université d’Angers) – ‘When I is Others: Parade’s End and the Impossibility of Autobiography’.
- John Benjamin Murphy (University of Virginia) – ‘“The ’ind legs of the elephink”: Pantomime, Prophecy and Tosh in Parade’s End’.
- Sara Haslam (Open University) – ‘“Hops, cannon, kettles and chimney backs”, or From Conversation to Humiliation: Parade’s End and the Eighteenth Century’.
- Christopher MacGowan (College of William and Mary) – ‘William Carlos Williams and Parade’s End’.
- Alec Marsh (Muhlenberg College) – ‘“Rossetti”, “Better Far” and Overcoming the Pre-Raphaelite Inheritance inSome Do Not … and The Good Soldier’.
- Joseph Wiesenfarth (University of Wisconsin-Madison) – ‘Death in the Wasteland: Ford, Wells and Waugh’.
- Michael Charlesworth (University of Texas at Austin) – ‘The View from Montagne Noir: Ford’s Panoramic Metaphor in No More Parades, No Enemy and It Was the Nightingale Compared to Works by J. R. R. Tolkien’.
- Liz Hodges (Merton College, University of Oxford) – ‘Sight and Scale in Parade’s End’.
- Alexandra Becquet (Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3) – ‘Structure and Memory in Parade’s End: (De)Composing the War’.
- Barbara Farnworth (University of Rhode Island) – ‘The Self-Analysis of Christopher Tietjens’.
- Erin Kay Penner (Rothermere American Institute) – ‘Swearing by Ford’.
- Paul Skinner (Independent Scholar) – ‘Tietjens Walking, Ford Talking’.
- Sarah Kingston (University of Rhode Island/University of New Haven) – ‘“Sick bodies are of no use to the King”: Insomnia in British Literature of WWI’.
- Karolyn Steffens (University of Wisconsin-Madison) – ‘Freud Madox Ford: Parade’s End, Impressionism, and Psychoanalytic Trauma Theory’.
- Max Saunders (King’s College London) – ‘Sexuality, Sadism and Suppression in Parade’s End’.
- Tom Vandevelde (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) – ‘“Are you going to mind the noise?”: Mapping the Soundscapes of Parade’s End’.
- Nathan Waddell (University of Nottingham) – ‘Ford Madox Ford’s Musical War’.
- Angus Wrenn (London School of Economics) – ‘The World-Ash and Groby Old Tree: Wagner and the Hueffers’.
- Eve Sorum (University of Massachusetts-Boston) – ‘Empathy, Trauma, and the Space of War in Parade’s End’.
- Meghan Hammond (New York University) – ‘Modernist Empathy in Ford’s Last Post’.
- Gene M. Moore (Universiteit van Amsterdam) – ‘Impressionism as Therapy’.
After lunch on the Thursday, the keynote address, on ‘War and Division in Parade’s End’, was delivered by Professor Adam Piette (University of Sheffield), who began with a fine close reading of the Vorticist opening of No More Parades to develop ideas about pseudo-couples, male friendship, homo-duplex, voices and paranoia, emasculation, the domestic, and violence. In the evening, there was a public event attended by over one hundred people: a Q&A with special guests Susanna White and Rupert Edwards. Both talked about their admiration of Ford’s writing, the various demands of turning text to screen, and their working processes. They also let the audience in on a few secrets.
The Q&A was followed by a wine reception (sponsored by Carcanet Press, Oxford University Press and the Open University) and the launch of Carcanet’s four-volume critical edition of Parade’s End edited by Max Saunders (Some Do Not ...), Joseph Wiesenfarth (No More Parades), Sara Haslam (A Man Could Stand Up –), and Paul Skinner (Last Post). On the Saturday, the editors hosted a round-table discussion about the volumes.
Thanks to Max Saunders, delegates were treated to a screening of the three-part 1964 BBC adaptation of Parade’s End. A young Judi Dench presented a spirited, plucky Valentine but was outshone by Ronald Hines as Tietjens, who brought out the inner tensions of the character, and a scene with Sylvia (Jeanne Moody), in which she seemed to orgasm when thinking about her control over her husband, was remarkable.
On the Friday afternoon, the results of the ‘silent auction’ were announced. The family of Dr Jenny Plastow (friend, Fordian, and founding member of the Society) had kindly donated Jenny’s Ford-related books. The Society, whose funds have been significantly swelled, is sincerely grateful.
On the Friday evening, Society members gathered at Olivelli for the conference dinner, at which Joseph Wiesenfarth was presented a thank-you gift for his work over the years as US Treasurer. At the AGM on the Saturday, Seamus O’Malley accepted the nomination for the role.
Thanks to everyone who helped us over the three days, particularly the panel chairs John Attridge, Alexandra Becquet, Dominique Lemarchal, Seamus O’Malley, Gene Moore, Paul Skinner, Joseph Wiesenfarth, and Angus Wrenn. Special thanks must go to Charlotte Jones for running the bookstall and to Jon Millington at the IES for his help before, during and after the conference. Finally, thanks are due to everyone who attended and made the three days so enjoyable.
Ashley Chantler and Rob Hawkes, conference organisers
This report was first published on the Ford Madox Ford Society Website: