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|Title:||Ford Madox Ford and the Jamesian Influence|
|Author(s):||Rentz, Kathryn Curle|
|Department / Program:||English|
|Degree Granting Institution:||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Abstract:||While Ford Madox Ford encountered many attractive figures in his career, and while Joseph Conrad, with whom he sometimes collaborated, was his closest literary friend and advisor, it was Henry James who exerted the most pervasive influence on Ford as a novelist. Though James never responded very warmly to the younger writer, he became one of the most prominent figures in Ford's memoirs. More critically, James became the strongest influence on Ford's art. To illuminate Ford's development and achievement as a novelist, this study examines what Ford borrowed from James, describes how he used these features, and offers reasons why he used them as he did.
Chapter One investigates Ford's attraction to James as a person; it then explores Ford's interest in James's art, posing biographical/psychological reasons for Ford's finding the Master's fiction so congenial to his own experience and talent. Chapter Two examines Ford's The Inheritors, a significant step in Ford's progress toward serious fiction. James and Conrad both seem to have influenced the work heavily, and their different legacies to Ford are identified in this chapter. Demonstrating that James became the more influential mentor, Chapter Three examines The Benefactor and An English Girl. Both Jamesian pastiches suggest Ford's tendency at this point to imitate rather than renovate Jamesian material. Yet Ford's own voice was developing in these pieces, as a look at his novella The Nature of a Crime and his book of essays on English life, The Spirit of the People, reveals. A Call, the subject of Chapter Four, is a major technical and thematic advance toward Ford's best work; significantly, it is also Ford's most Jamesian work to date. As Chapter Five suggests, a comprehensive confrontation with James's art, a part of which was the writing of Henry James, helped shape The Good Soldier. With this novel Ford became, at last, his own master. Many of Ford's most innovative experiments with fiction were performed in Parade's End, discussed in the final chapter; yet these often seem to have taken their departure from James. While the tetralogy is the most confident expression of Ford's particular temperament, it testifies to the abiding presence of James in Ford's artistic identity.
Studying Ford in terms of the Jamesian influence provides new ways of reading and assessing his novels, and affords a glimpse into his unusual artistic sensibility.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986.
|Date Available in IDEALS:||2014-12-15|