Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End
Chapter 6 opens with a brief discussion of Musil’s The Man Without Qualities, whose setting in an infinitely protracted 1913 denies the inevitability of the First World War. Musil’s narrative and modal “sideshadowing”—lighting up of possible but untaken roads—then act as a foil to Ford’s twitchier experiments in formal and technical sideshadowing. Where other critics see his Parade’s End tetralogy as a failed attempt at modernism in the declarative mood, this chapter maintains that the work achieves a powerfully anti-totalizing modernism in the subjunctive mood. The work’s formal heterogeneity—its amalgam of nineteenth-century marriage plot, realist social history, and transient modernisms—finds a diegetic counterpart in the Encyclopedia Britannica, which Parade’s End transvalues from failed monument to resource. The encyclopedia’s mistakes and inconsistencies, this chapter argues, make it especially fit to portray the world comprehensively yet without an epic coherentism the war had made seem less credible than ever.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.