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Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford

Parade's End (original 1925; edition 2001)

by Ford Madox Ford, Robie Macauley (Introduction)

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889179,938 (3.78)119
Title:Parade's End
Authors:Ford Madox Ford
Other authors:Robie Macauley (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2001), Paperback, 864 pages
Collections:listsofbests to get
Tags:unowned, listsofbests, modern library 100

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Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford (1925)

  1. 00
    The Sword of Honour Trilogy by Evelyn Waugh (thorold)
    thorold: Two rather different writers each identifying his particular war as the end of everything that was good and decent and Toryish about the England of his youth.

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A brilliant British aristocrat officer's life during WWI without delving into the battles of war but instead the battles between him and his love interests. Very well written and engaging. One becomes immersed in this world. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
Although Ford did not attend University like some other well known authors of the time. His writing style is typical of that era and is intellectually a match for those educated to a higher level. It is stated that Parade's End is based on Ford's own experiences at war. The novel is made up of four books: Some Do Not; No More Parades; A Man Could Stand Up and The Last Post.

The books are quite difficult to read due to the 'padding'. By 'padding' I mean that there is lot of detail on the main characters thoughts and musings. I was pleased to have seen the TV adaptation before reading this novel. I think I may have struggled to keep up otherwise. Especially, as it took me nearly two months to read. This was due to time constraints and is not a reflection of the novel. If the story just stuck to action then it would have been at least half in size, but the poorer for it.

Christopher, married to a woman who could be described as the 'devil incarnate'. So malicious and vindictive was she towards him. She went on what could almost be called a rampage to discredit and ruin him. Yet, he had married her taking on her child not knowing if it was his. He would not divorce her out of principle, he would not discredit his wife. Of course, divorce was not the done thing and would have reflected badly on him. Sylvia Tietjens was a Catholic and divorce was against her religion, she would never have agreed to it. This is the basis of the novel and what follows unfolds in the story . Christopher may be naive but he is a good sort, yet he suffers more than anyone. It is a tale of its time but is packed with social, political and moral issues. If you have the time to invest in reading this tome, it is worth your while. Enjoy! ( )
  booketta | Apr 10, 2014 |
I picked this up because it is described as an epic tale of the impact of WW I on an upper class British family and I was hoping for a combination of Downton Abbey and The Forsyte Saga. But the book uses an interesting style in telling the story - a bit of stream of consciousness narrative from a few of the main characters. Although there are points in this book where the style works brilliantly, too often the characters are thinking about mundane things - 'will anyone notice the rip in my shirt?' 'Are the scones cooked enough?' And that style might be fine for a book like Mrs. Dalloway where it's only the events of a day, but this book focuses on the Great War and the impact it has on one family. There are much bigger events going on - people getting killed or maimed, families totally devastated - and the style of telling these stories seemed too random or haphazard. This book is long - 38 hours in audio - and you would think that all that time with these characters would make you have strong feelings for or against them, but I finished the book with a feeling of ambivalence - not really caring about any of the people in this book. ( )
  jmoncton | Nov 27, 2013 |
Although it did get a BBC dramatisation a year or two ago, and it will presumably get a boost from the World War One centenary industry in 2014, this does somehow seem to have become the most neglected of the great British war novels. Unfairly, of course, because it is clearly one of the great modern novels in English. Or is it one of the great Edwardian novels? It's a tricky book to categorise: thoroughly experimental in its form, but utterly conservative in its themes. Or remarkably advanced in its subject-matter and amazingly traditional in its language... you can almost read it any way you choose.

What I expected when I started reading this was something a bit like what Evelyn Waugh does in Brideshead and the war trilogy, an account of the brutality of war smashing up everything that was decent and English and gentlemanly and plunging us all into the Age of Hooper. The frequent image of Tietjens as "the last Tory" leads us in this direction, but you probably oversimplify what Ford is trying to do if you read it like that.

Tietjens is never identified with the pre-War generation, or even with the Victorian age: Ford always locates him spiritually in 17th-century England. Ford frequently tells us that in an ideal world, Tietjens should have been a saintly Anglican poet-priest like George Herbert at Bemerton. But Herbert didn't exactly spend his life in bucolic tranquillity: he was an MP before he became a parson. The England of his day was fizzing with every possible kind of political and theological dissent, and erupted into revolution and civil war only a few years after Herbert's death. (And, of course, the first use of the term "Tory" in English politics was much later, in the 1660s.)

So we obviously shouldn't take what Ford says about Englishness entirely at face value. The opening section of the tetralogy shows us an England that is hideously smug and self-satisfied, with the Suffragettes (and the appallingly self-centred Sylvia) the only people prepared to give it a poke and stir it into some sort of life. ( )
  thorold | Nov 12, 2013 |
April 2013 Book Club Read - and what a read it was! As much as it was difficult to read (and I believe due to the language of the times) It was just as enjoyable - A sense of accomplishment was definitely felt after the completion of this adventure. ( )
  booklovers2 | Jun 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Parades End has been called the last Victorian novel. And I suppose it is. So much that is Victorian is in this book, and yet… there is something of the lost generation in here also. It is in my mind a transitional novel, the last hurrah of the Victorian and a first tentative peek at the modern. Or more properly perhaps, the first description of the Modern by a Victorian: “No more hope, no more glory, not for the nation, not for the world I dare say, no more parades.”

Those who have read The Good Soldier will recognize some familiar themes, but in Parade’ End will enjoy Ford at his most expansive. Why Ford has fallen so out of favor, and this novel in particular has been all but forgotten, is one of those peculiarities of taste and time.

Ford himself once said, “Only two classes of books are of universal appeal; the very best and the very worst.” It is certain that Parade’s End belongs in the former class. Certainly it will again be “rediscovered” by some generation of writers. It’s quality and execution demand it.
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The two young men - they were of the English public official class - sat in the perfectly appointed railway carriage.
There will be no more parades.
'That's women!' he said with the apparently imbecile enigmaticality of the old and hardened. 'Some do!' He spat into the grass; said: 'Ah!' then added: 'Some do not!'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141186615, Paperback)

In creating his acclaimed masterpiece Parade's End, Ford Madox Ford "wanted the Novelist in fact to appear in his really proud position as historian of his own time . . . The 'subject' was the world as it culminated in the war." Published in four parts between 1924 and 1928, his extraordinary novel centers on Christopher Tietjens, an officer and gentleman-"the last English Tory"-and follows him from the secure, orderly world of Edwardian England into the chaotic madness of the First World War. Against the backdrop of a world at war, Ford recounts the complex sexual warfare between Tietjens and his faithless wife Sylvia. A work of truly amazing subtlety and profundity, Parade's End affirms Graham Greene's prediction: "There is no novelist of this century more likely to live than Ford Madox Ford."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:36 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"First published as four separate novels, Parade's End explores the world of the English ruling class as it descends into the chaos of war. Christopher Tietjens is an officer from a wealthy family who finds himself torn between his unfaithful socialite wife, Sylvia, and his suffragette mistress, Valentine."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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