Journal article 881 views 194 downloads
Anglo-German Dilemmas in The Good Soldier, or: Europe on the Brink in 1913
International Ford Madox Ford Studies, Volume: 14, Issue: 1, Pages: 223 - 240
Swansea University Author: Julian Preece
PDF | Accepted ManuscriptDownload (371.49KB)
The Good Soldier, which was written either side of the outbreak of World War One in August 1914, becomes a political novel through its portrayal of the diminishing understanding between individuals and their affiliated identities, especially those provided by nation and religion. The narrator John D...
|Published in:||International Ford Madox Ford Studies|
No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!
The Good Soldier, which was written either side of the outbreak of World War One in August 1914, becomes a political novel through its portrayal of the diminishing understanding between individuals and their affiliated identities, especially those provided by nation and religion. The narrator John Dowell sees the world in terms of binary oppositions, such as those between British and Irish, Catholic and Protestant, while collapsing a number of these in his own person through his self-advertised Anglo-American and, though he keeps it much quieter, German-American heritage. The novel contains too elements of Ford’s critique of Wilhelmine Germany, expressed in contemporaneous literary journalism and books such as The Undesirable Alien (1913) and If Blood is their Argument (1915), in which he blamed Prussia for usurping the gentle spirit of the southern German Catholics. While Nancy Rufford is read as a new version of Goethe’s Mignon, the degenerate colonial aristocrat Edward Ashburnham is the villain who can no longer assume society exists for his benefit and it soon crumbles on top of him. At the end of the novel the Irish Leonora has broken free, while Dowell and Rufford sit in the shell of Ashburnham’s country seat, multiple ciphers for the end of British and German imperial culture.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences