Parade's End Epub º Hardcover

Parade's End ➥ [Ebook] ➠ Parade's End By Ford Madox Ford ➯ – The dramatic fact about this great novel is that it was almost universally misread when it first appeared Published at intervals in separate parts it was thought to be another war novel a good enough The dramatic fact about this great novel is that it was almost universally misread when it first appeared Published at intervals in separate parts it was thought to be another war novel a good enough account of a soldiers disillusioning experiences in the vein of Under Fire or What Price Glory or The Enormous Room As Robie Macauley remarks in his brilliant introduction A little afterward some of us went to war ourselves and later coming back took Ford's novels down from the shelfIt seemed impossible that we could have been so wrongWe are a little older now andhave been living a little longer with the great enveloping tragedy Ford set out to describe Perhaps in this edition we can take a second look at the Tietjens story and discover that it is less about the incident of a single war than about a whole era about our own world than hisWhen the Tietjens story begins just before World War I everything is excellent comfortable predictable Tietjens and his friend Macmaster are disclosed rising in a luxurious train They are of the class that administered the world Under their care were manners the arts diplomacy imperial trade and the reputation of prominent men They do not realize that their train has got on the wrong lineActually it is not running from London to Rye as they think but from the past into the future The development of Christopher Tietjens's personality in the course of this journey is one of the most elaborate and singular accomplishments of modern writing His character is synonymous with the character of an ordered bounded and harmonious past This means the England of the gentry and farms of the small Tory landowner Tietjens is humane in his relationships feudal in his outlook Christian in his beliefs a classicist by education a Tory in politics He was in fact the last English ToryTietjens's steadfastness is of heroic dimension It is the world that changes That is the secret of his endless persecution though he is an amiable man by his friends his fellow officers his superiors but most particularly and significantly by his wife Sylvia beautiful arrogant reckless and morally chaotic the symbol of the new times The portrayal of Sylvia is as remarkable as that of Christopher Her persecution of him is compulsive because to he he stands as a reproach But he grows stronger under the assault In the end he survives but wt hthe final; searing understanding that there is no place anywhere in the modern world for Christopher Tietjens Parade's End was Ford's own choice of title although the novel has never before been printed in one volume It seems appropriate With an immense sense of tragedy Ford saw the long and splendid procession of the Western nations coming to an end and Tietjens is the ghostly voice of the adjutant at the final disbanding He says There will be no Hope no Glory Not for the nation Not for the world I daresay There will be no parades.

10 thoughts on “Parade's End

  1. Warwick Warwick says:

    Starting Parade's End is a little like reading an ethnologist's report from some alien world All the characters in this vision of pre 1914 England seem to be moved by obscure impulses and constraints; and in many ways they appear unfamiliar than let's say characters of a century earlier as described by someone like Austen The feeling passes but it is no accident part of Ford's argument is that the First World War spelled the end not just for a generation of young men but for a whole mindset a way of behaving and of being English that is now utterly gone and cannot be recovered Standing as the prime example is the central figure of Christopher Tietjens who like everyone here is a strikingly original creation A brilliant man working at an uninspiring government post he is tired of the modern world and feels at home in the eighteenth century which he thinks of as ‘the only century that never went mad’ ‘Until the French Revolution; and that was either not mad or not eighteenth century’ Christopher is no dashing hero – he is physically awkward and not very attractive compared somewhere in book four to ‘a lumbering character from Molière’ ‘elaborate of phrase and character but protuberant in odd places’He is though staunchly English in the most traditional sense – ‘the last Tory’ a man who considers it ‘the highest achievement and justification of English manners’ when he notices two people ‘talking with polite animation and listening with minute attention’ Reserve and privacy are his watchwords ‘He would literally rather be dead than an open book’This odd not especially likeable character forms the apex of an emotional triangle which on one level Parade's End explores across four books The other two players are his wife Sylvia – she is unremittingly awful to him but he considers it ungentlemanly for a man to divorce a woman – and the smart spiky suffragette Valentine Wannop who appears to be Christopher's opposite in every way and yet is clearly as perfect for him as he is for herSylvia Tietjens is one of the most breathtakingly horrible fictional characters I can remember encountering She is mesmerisingly unpleasant At first I worried that she would be one of those sexily fatal femmes that male authors love to come up with; but she is a lot than that to me Ford gives us long exposure to her thought processes and background so that her vindictiveness becomes gradually textured with psychological nuance She is described once or twice as ‘Sadic’ but there is also something masochistic going on as is made clear with a couple of hints to trauma in her past – take for instance this passage of extraordinary insight where she remembers an abusive encounter with one of her loversThe miserable memory would come ghost like at any time anywhere She would see Drake's face dark against the white things; she would feel the thin night gown ripping off her shoulder; but most of all she would seem in darkness that excluded the light of any room in which she might be to be transfused by the mental agony that there she had felt the longing for the brute who had mangled her the dreadful pain of the mind The odd thing was that the sight of Drake himself whom she had seen several times since the outbreak of the war left her completely without emotion She had no aversion but no longing for him She had nevertheless longing but she knew it was longing merely to experience again that dreadful feeling And not with DrakeWith great skill Ford allows us to understand that Sylvia's many affairs – what are referred to wonderfully as her ‘high handed divagations from fidelity’ – are just one facet of a tendency morbidly to sexualise everything This comes back as all things do in Parade's End to the war which for Sylvia is – an astonishing word to use – an ‘agapemone’ or zone of free love Indeed it's not just about sex it's about sexual abuse ‘You went to war when you desired to rape innumerable women It was what war was for’ And laterThese horrors these infinities of pain this atrocious condition of the world had been brought about in order that men should indulge themselves in orgies of promiscuity That in the end was at the bottom of male honour of male virtue observance of treaties upholding of the flag An immense warlock's carnival of appetites lusts ebrietiesWhat a statement And what a difference here as everywhere with Valentine Wannop for whom the war is primarily a ‘mental torture’—Immense miles and miles of anguish in darkened mindsI fell in love with Valentine and I found the shy constrained romance between her and Christopher extremely moving The section where they ride together through the moors and become lost in fog all while conducting a long flirtatious game of one upmanship about Latin poetry is one of the best things I've read in years Valentine is ‘the best Latinist in England’ we learn much later and Christopher feels that special pleasure which very intelligent people feel when they are in conversation with someone who is in a position to correct them‘It's alto not caelo“Uvidus ex alto desilientis” How could Ovid have written ex caelo? The “c” after the “x” sets your teeth on edge’Christopher is deeply charmed – as is she by his general sense of bluff rough gruffliness and his inability to do anything but what is right no matter how much personal pain this may cause him Or indeed her The two of them know they cannot – should not by all important convention – be together and so their courtship such as it is is confused restrained clipped polite; and the passionate for itIt passed without any mention of the word ‘love’; it passed in impulses; warmths; rigors of the skin Yet with every word they had said to each other they had confessed their love When Christopher finally decides that the war has done away with the conventions he was used to and that therefore he will damn well allow himself to have an affair if it will make him and Valentine happy there is something both moving and hilarious in the blunt way he propositions her before returning to the Front never previously having exchanged a single word of affection ‘Will you be my mistress to night? I am going out to morrow at 830 from Waterloo’ Overall Ford's treatment of sexual desire and sexual jealousy is extraordinary – no wonder Julian Barnes in the introduction to the Penguin edition floats the idea that he's the English Flaubert although this is a slightly weird comparison Sylvia may hate Christopher but she also loves him of course – some of her conflicted reflections on the relationship are exuisiteWhen he had said ‘I'd have liked you to have said it’ using the past he had said his valedictory her agony had been half of it because one day he would say farewell to her like that with the inflexion of a verb As just occasionally using the word ‘we’ – and perhaps without intention – he had let her know that he loved herAs should be clear from the uotations the writing is superb throughout – but also dense and often uite challenging Deep psychological insight is funnelled into long complex internal monologues which in some cases especially I thought in the last book bear comparison with those of Molly Bloom or of Beckett's narrators The result is deliberately confusing with a throwaway comment in one book not explained until three hundred pages and two books later; or contradicted by another character's recollection of the same incident so that you're never sure whose ‘version’ of the truth if any is the right oneLanguage itself and here again Ford seems part of the modernist project is unstable and often breaks down ‘What is language for? What the hell is language for?’ one character demands ‘We go round and round’ The ellipsis gradually becomes the primary punctuation mark and the prose becomes increasingly aposiopetic – as can be seen even in the titles of two of the four books Some Do Not and A Man Could Stand Up— At the same time Ford can also write with eye catching economy When one character hears something nearby Ford writes magisteriallyNoises existedStructurally too the work shows great craftsmanship All in all it covers a fairly wide timeframe from 1911 to the mid 1920s; but only a few tiny moments are illuminated like shafts of light in a vast tunnel Book two covers less than forty eight hours and book three might be even shorter – the majority of it happens during a single evening The overall effect then is stroboscopic a series of sudden flashes separated by years with much remaining dark to us as readers disclosed only confusedly through memoriesBook four I should point out is not universally liked Graham Greene famously cut it out of his copy and referred to the work as a trilogy and Virginia Woolf hated it I have to admit I can't see why it provokes such strong feelings; it takes an obliue approach to the central characters sure but that's not unexpected – and it contains some of the best and funniest prose of the series I also think the four act structure makes sense – one of the recurring terms of Parade's End is ‘parallelogram’ for whatever reason and I think the fourth book is needed to complete the parallelogram of novels They make up a thick wonderful multitudinous work – a powerful character study an analysis of sexuality a contextualisation of the war and a truly great romanceall of which leaves you feeling at the end that this alien world is your own world after all that you are as alien as any of them and that they are as richly human as you

  2. Violet wells Violet wells says:

    I was expecting a masterpiece; what I got was a neurotic obese windbag of a novel VS Pritchett always an astute critic remarked that confusion was always Ford’s mainspring as a novelist This novel is so hysterically confused it reads like a diary of someone chronicling his own nervous breakdown At one point in the novel a character forms the thought that her companion is still droning on with an idea she thought they had got past I can’t say how many times I thought this same idea while reading this novel I had already seen the BBC production of this before reading it and the first thing that needs to be said is what a fabulous job Tom Stoppard did in editing and extracting every last drop of what’s good in this book and weeding out all the prodigious irritating excesses including the entire last section An obvious example of Stoppard’s masterful alchemy is how he hones down exchanges between characters which in the novel usually drag on for pages and pages into a handful of critical lines Another example is how much sympathetic he is to the character of Sylvia than Ford was When Tolstoy began Anna Karenina he disapproved of the adulterous woman and set himself the task of dramatizing this disapproval of his Had he continued with this irksome puritanical stance he deployed in The Kreutzer Sonata it’s likely Anna Karenina would have been a dud as a novel However Tolstoy came to love Anna and it was the empathy he felt with her that contributed massively to the novel being a masterpiece Ford Maddox Ford begins with a similar premise – except he doesn’t fall in love with his adulterous woman He like his hero remains a puritan throughout the novel She’s the villain the harbinger of everything Ford doesn’t like about the new world disorder At times it’s as if Ford is blaming the promiscuity of restless women for the insane mess the world has become Not even Stoppard could alchemize this facet of the novel which is why the last two episodes of the TV adaptation fell flat for me In the novel we’re called upon to boo Sylvia every time she enters the stage and cheer the docile schoolgirl male honouring suffragette who is her rival for Christopher’s affections The less said about the suffragette the better Graham Greene refers to Sylvia as “surely the most possessed evil character in the modern novel” What a load of hogwash that statement is Sylvia betrays a husband who shows no interest in her a husband who is emotionally retarded Ford’s determination to make me dislike Sylvia had the subtlety of a right wing newspaper maligning the leader of a left wing political party in every single editorial Somehow and brilliantly Stoppard alchemized Sylvia into the most credible and admirable character in the book though I’m not sure Ford would have approved of this outcome Ford’s ostensibly grandiose vision of Britain at the time of the first world war contains much that has become rather hackneyed And a lot of his notions have turned out to be untrue It wasn’t really the end of the old social order He pokes lots of fun at the ruling classes There’s a lot of schoolboy humour in this novel – and maybe how much you enjoy it will depend to some extent on how prone you are to giggling Like Waugh at the end of Brideshead he seems to romantically and nostalgically lament the decline of the feudal world of the 18th century But like Waugh he got it wrong That world wasn’t vanishing into the mists of time Just take a look at the members of the Tory party who were responsible for the referendum Same old old boys club However Ford does throw something interesting into the mix – and this is his obsession with frustrated sexual feeling Every character in this novel is sexually neurotic It’s like Ford had just read Freud and believed obsessively but without much clarity that he was on to something Unfortunately to a large extent Ford comes across as a latter day Oliver Cromwell in this regard No coincidence Sylvia is a Catholic I didn’t understand what he was getting at with his sex obsession but at least it was interesting Julian Barnes praises the structure of this book and it’s true this is its most interesting element – the surface of gossip lies and misunderstandings which defines the social order at the expense of truth But his declaration that “Few novelists have better understood and conveyed the overworkings of the hysterical brain the underworkings of the damaged brain after his first spell at the front Tietjens returns with partial memory loss the slippings and slidings of the mind at the end of its tether with all its breakings in and breakings off” is sheer hyperbole for me Ford dramatizes a confused mind by resorting to endless spatterings of ellipses on every page a crude almost schoolboyish techniue for creating the interruption of mental processes It’s worth remembering this was written long after both Mrs Dalloway and The Waves in neither of which does Woolf resort to cheap ellipses to show a mind in turmoil At the end of the day I’d say there are about a hundred pages of this novel worth reading; that leaves 800Five stars though for Tom Stoppard who for me has proved himself to be a superior artist to Ford Maddox Ford And perhaps Greene and Barnes’ elevated evaluation of this novel have helped explain to me why I’ve never been able to get excited by either of them as novelists

  3. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    It has been on my mind to read Parade’s end since I was in my late teens still at school doing my English Literature A Level I think I have said before that I am slow At that time I certainly read The Good Soldier almost certainly because our teacher Mrs P mentioned it in the context probably of To the Lighthouse on account of it’s use of stream of consciousnessI don’t know yet if it was worth the wait but I feel that Parade’s End is the kind of book that you can turn round after finishing and start again on the first pageOne reason for this is that the book’s structure parallels the experience of serving in WWI it opens conventionally enough upper class marital crisis in late Edwardian England a full body immersion in the s of a different time two gentlemen – the central character Christopher Tietjens and his pal Macmaster knock off work from a ministry dealing with statistics to take the train down to Rye to play some golf where they are interrupted by an eruption of Suffragettes and why not followed in time by Tietjens travelling with one of the suffragettes on a horse and buggy through a foggy night not uite getting lost just to the north of Romney Marsh and on the verge of turning the novel into a love triangle when a car turns out of a concealed drive driven by Tietjens’ godfather and motors directly into the horse Ah ha exclaims the reader – this be that Symbolism that be all the rage – it’s WWI machine versus flesh As the horse so to the manAt this the fog immediately clears and we skip a great chunk of the war to find Tietjens on leave in recovery from shell shock – this in part based on the author’s war time experiences It is as though this late Edwardian upper class marriage crisis novel has been cut through by a bullet or was caught up in a shell explosion and ripped apart or even hit by a car maybe from now on we experience something disjointed and dislocated we are disorientated maybe even stressed we jump from the steam of consciousness of one character to another there are few markers as to when we are in time perhaps the only time markers of relevance are if war is ongoing or not the narrative will shift abruptly after the initial section the book becomes very concentrated we are in what feels like real time as a character’s thoughts sprawl out – sometimes while they have a conversation with somebody else a hundred pages of text might be about an hour in the character's livesThe series of novels are bound up in ideas about the passing of time and the violent transition from one era to anotherThat all sounds very serious but I feel there is a strong element of parody and play making too The surname Tietjens suggests something like Little titties – not a family then to take entirely seriously the family home is the fictional great house of Groby in Cleveland then in the North Riding of Yorkshire Christopher and his elder Brother Mark conceive of themselves as archetypal North Country men Sheffield or Barnsley are already dangerously southern and suspect and soft Theirs’ is that profound patriotism that expresses itself by staying away from the homeland and apparently rarely if ever going there – in addition as we are told several times they are the descendants of one of William of Orange’s men who replaced some Catholic bigwig Their northcountryness is an elective affinity Instead they live in London and both brothers darkly suspect the other of having been corrupted by life in the south the countryside we experience is that of a curve from Kent in to Sussex – a region where Ford Madox Ford knocked around championing the writing of Joseph Conrad and HG Wells practising Free Love whenever he had the chance This is a novel where the coast and moors by Redcar are freuently on the mind but never shown but where we are shown is barely on character’s minds and has only limited resonances for several of themChristopher Tietjens is radical Tory at one moment anti Empire in the style of the Tories in 1713 a Francophile a man who claims that only one worthwhile book has been written in English since the eighteenth century so certainly not a stand in for the author He is a radical in his way and the last Tory in the sense that his politics are those of before the French Revolution he sees society as essentially Feudal all though explicitly his family wealth from from coal mines and he is precisely aware of coal prices at the market and mine head he might approve of ‘Oligarchy tempered by riot’ as a constitutional principle he certainly finds elections and the vote a bit of a sham Physically it appears that Boris Johnson has modelled himself on this Christopher Tietjens a shambolic messy looking personThe war that he experiences is also a parody it is not about fighting – and this is not the WWI novel to read if you want to see someone’s entrails spill out over the page – this war is about the traditions and style of the army getting the paperwork done checking that soldiers brush their teeth and that their feet are fit for service it’s about politics and transportation and who owes who what money The army too like the individuals we see is in shock from the war and desperately clinging to regulations that impair fighting efficiency presumably because if they let go of them there might be no order or structure what so everAbove all I had the curious feeling that this novel is an adaptation of The Idiot into English with a WWI setting like Prince Myshkin Mousy Tietjens Titty is in a love triangle both aspire to Christian lives Tietjens wishes to become an Anglican saint and is I think twice compared with JC There are references in the text to the metaphysical poet George Herbert and Gilbert White in the form of his The Natural History of Selborne both of whom appear as potential role models for Tietjens both of which he avoids partly out of stubbornness partly from love or the desire for the chance of non divine love The Idiot is I felt indirectly referred to by brother Mark in the text in his thoughts about Russian aristocrats giving away their wealth and lands then sitting by the side of the road and begging – but maybe Tolstoyians or Anarchists were what he had in mind Again though I think the point is that a big Tit in the army previously working in Government on statistics who aspires to be an Anglican saint while approving of the extermination of defective newborn children in the interests of sound eugenics is a parody recognisably of Tory England for whom God is an Englishman and Blake’s Jerusalem arranged by Parry contains no criticism of the Patria The carnival of characters around the still and speechless figure of Mark Tietjens in the penultimate chapter of the entire series a strong splash of Dostoevsky I feltThe book is also a visual one Sylvia Tietjens and Lady Macmasters both appear as Pre Raphaelite beauties but also Belle dames sans Mercy straight out of Keats they are out of time and old fashioned already at the beginning of the book they are in contrast to the fractured landscapes of WWI battlefields While the book begins with the horse killed by a car and ends with the appropriately Biblical falling of a Cedar of Sardinia a transplant like the Tietjens which brings down with it part of the great house itself – while a few times through the book we are reminded of an Italian saying that the man who sleeps under trees will need to see a doctor oftenI wonder if it inspired The strange death of Liberal England It is uite wonderful and chewy

  4. Judy Judy says:

    I decided to start reading this great First World War novel after seeing the start of the BBC adaptation but then became caught up by the book and fell behind with watching the TV version It's a hard book to describe the tale of an upper class English family falling apart in and around the war In particular it is the tale of the 'Last Tory' Christopher Tietjens the two women in his life wife Sylvia and true love Valentine and his struggle to stay true to his stubborn traditions as the world changes around himThe writing is demanding largely told in stream of consciousness style and jumping to and fro By the end of book three I felt it was it was a magnificent novel some parts are better than others with the battlefield scenes tending to be especially strong but the whole experience is overwhelming However I thought the novel which was originally published in four parts over a number of years falls off badly in book four which Graham Greene hated and cut out of his edition Another problem is that there is a lot of casual racism and in particular anti Semitism at first I wasn't sure if the author was satirising these attitudes but there is no indication of him disagreeing with them Of course I realise that the novel was written in the 1920s and attitudes have changed but the build up of unthinking throwaway remarks detracts from the book's powerI had only read 'The Good Soldier' by Madox Ford before this which I loved I don't think 'Parade's End' is uite as great but it is still one of the best novels I've read in a long time though I must knock one star off for the last book

  5. Mark Mark says:

    This is a wonderfully rewarding read although at times the story seems impenetrable but stay with it as the book will become a personal favourite that repays freuent revisitsThe beguiling irresistible and utterly compelling Sylvia Tietjens is described ' immensely tall slight reddish very fair hair in great bandeaux right over her ears Her very oval regular face had an expression of virginal lack of interest such as used to be worn by fashionable Paris courtesans a decade before that time”A beautiful sensual womanSylvia has enjoyed a colourful past and learned the hard way that surrendering to impulse is damaging and disastrous and knows through bitter experience the yearning of flaming passion and desire 'that dreadful feeling' that always leads to awkwardness and unexpected repercussions It is Sylvia's colourful story that injects the volume with mischief and unexpected twists and turns She is the unconventional heroine of this multi layered convoluted story A troubled Catholic and a reckless adulteress Sylvia was already pregnant when she married Christopher Tjetjeans and the child probably wasn’t his but as a man of complete honesty and integrity he does the decent thing of course Sylvia is completely self obsessed and all knowing for example she 'knew she was displaying indolent and gracious beauty' as she entered the room but she has an affected insouciance designed to deter but which has the opposite effect as men of all ages and social classes are entranced by her beauty ' She had purposely increased her air of scornful insolence That was because she felt that her hold over men increased to the measure of her coldness Someone she knew had once said of a dangerous woman that when she entered the room every woman kept her husband on the leash It was Sylvia's pleasure to think that before she went out of that room all women in it realised with mortification that they needn't''To know everything about a person is to be bored bored bored' she protests She treats all men with disdain ' Taking up with a man was like reading a book you had read when you had forgotten that you had read it You had not been for ten minutes in any sort of intimacy with a man before you said But I've read all this beforeMen are like putty in her hands entranced at first sight captivated within moments of their first encounter ' She could she flattered herself tell the amount of empressment which a man would develop about herself at the first glance the amount and the uality too'Julian Barnes has written a definitive introduction to the Penguin Classics edition 2012 in which he says 'For Graham Greene Sylvia Tietjeans is surely the most possesssed evil character in the modern novel A wife who is bored promiscuous and up to datetied to a husband who is omniscient chaste and antiue; there's a marriage made in hell' Certainly Sylvia does not suffer fools gladly; she can be mean at times sadistically cruel with a lacerating tongue and utterly self centredSylvia reluctantly admits 'She was by that time tired of men or imagined that she was' as the men in her acuaintance never fulfilled expectations' So she remains filled with an inexpressible love for her emotionally repressed husbandParade’s End – made up of four novels published between 1924 and 1928 – explores post Freudian female sexual desire and Sylvia Tietjens represents the unfettered repressed but now viewed as zany women unleashed by the 'Boom Bust ' decade rationalising their intemperate conflicting but passionate desiresStanding naked before her husband Sylvia darkly exclaims “Higher than the beasts lower than the angels stuck between the two in our idiots’ Eden God I’m so bored of it all Guarding or granting permission to a temple no decent butcher would give to his offal tray I’d rather be a cow in a field”Promiscuity and serial adultery lacks the intimacy for which she is searching and doesn't fill the aching void in her soul revealed in her stream of consciousness admission 'Blessed Virgin mother of God make him take me before midnightHe's my husband it is not a sin'

  6. Bloodorange Bloodorange says:

    Ever since reading Constellation of Genius by Kevin Jackson I was fascinated by the fact that Ford Madox Ford was to lift the phrase from The L Word a major hub; I even considered rereading the book to draft a graph showing all of his intellectual connections While he didn’t sleep with everyone who mattered he clearly knew in person or by correspondence everyone worth knowing in the modernist writing circles I already knew and wasn’t floored by The Good Soldier I knew of the troublesome ménage involving Ford his ‘wife’ Stella Bowen and a then newcomer Jean Rhys So when I watched BBC version of Parade’s End and read Warwick’s review of the novel I knew I have to give Ford another chanceI approached Parade’s End with some apprehension having read reviews that stressed how confusing it is I knew what to expect of a modernist novel I like the period but the sheer number of such remarks coming from people who had the literacy and the stamina to go through it was intimidating Unnecessarily so; it is a wonderful novel and even though it took me three months to read due to its impractical bulk I rarely have the time to read at home the events of the previous chapters were fresh in my memory and when I came back to the retelling of a scene from a different character's PoV I didn’t find it difficult to follow Another thing the reviews and the introduction pointed out was that the last part of the novel is markedly weaker than the previous three it was deemed so by the critics even left out in some editions but my experience was different It wasn’t as vivid as other parts perhaps but definitely not worse than books I IIIThe subject matter let’s say this is another novel for grown up people It is largely set during World War I; the loss of freedom is manifested in one’s inability to “stand up” one of the books is entitled “A Man Could Stand Up” which refers to one character’s wish to “stand up on a hill” and not be shot at but the focus is not on “physical suffering” but rather “mental torture Immense miles and miles of anguish in darkened minds That remained Men might stand up on hill but the mental torture could not be expelled Reading Parade’s End I learned two things about WWI that were completely new to me – one was how emotionally disturbing distracting it was for soldiers to keep contact with their family lawyers keep track of their affairs during wartime thanks to improved comunicationIt's that they won't let us alone Never Not one of us If they'd let us alone we could fight But neverNo one It's not only the beastly papers of the battalion though I'm no good with papers Never was and never shall beBut it's the people at home One's own people God help us you'd think that when a poor devil was in the trenches they'd let him aloneDamn it I've had solicitors' letters about family uarrels when I was in hospital Imagine that Imagine it I don't mean tradesmen's dunnings But one's own people I haven't even got a bad wife as McKechnie has and they say you have The other – that the men who went to war often because they were shamed and emotionally blackmailed by the society and even their loved ones were on their return treated with suspicion and freuently hostility “after the war was over the civilian population would contrive to attach determined discredit to every man who had been to the front as a fighting soldier”Yet the war seems to be simply a manifestation of worldwide catastrophe rather than the catastrophe itself The message to me seems to be against the simple interpretation that the British society changed as a result of WWI; the end of Old England was not due to the war Rather the war gave people – chaotic evil selfish people the chance to shatter whatever harmony was left in the world the novel is narrated from the PoVs of uality mostly The post WWI order is one of modernist chaos uncertainty and despair in which the protagonist Christopher Tietjens strives to function with his new family Christopher is a Job like figure whose socialite wife turns his life into a nightmare probably in order to exert some kind of emotional power over him and who is routinely betrayed by everyone and let down by debtors A large part of the novel’s appeal lies to me in the examination of what it meant to be a pre WWI gentleman Gentlemen remarks Tietjens bitterly dwell in a celestial sphere untainted by financial affairsGentlemen don't earn money Gentlemen as a matter of fact don't do anything They exist Perfuming the air like Madonna lilies Money comes into them as air through petals and foliage Thus the world is made better and brighter And of course thus political life can be kept cleanSo you can't make moneyThe representation of upper class’ morality is fascinating characters seem very preoccupied with the issue of who fathered who and make most outrageous guesses; protecting oneself against STDs is what a gentleman does so as not to cast a bad light on his sphere – as we learn from the internal monologue of Christopher’s brother; central to the plot is the fact that gentlemen do not divorce for divorce would mean “dragging one’s woman through the mud” even when the woman is mud itself And there’s responsibility in various shades and forms The unavoidable paternalism towards lower classesIt was to him a certain satisfaction that he hadn't lost one of the men but only an officer for his men he always felt a certain greater responsibility; they seemed to him to be there infinitely less of their own volition It was akin to the feeling that made him regard cruelty to an animal as a loathsome crime than cruelty to a human being other than a childSelf control “If you let yourself go you may let yourself go a tidy sight farther than you want to” It is Christopher's and Valerie's sense of responsibility which makes the main love scene of the novel look like thisWe never finished a sentence Yet it was a passionate scene So I touched the brim of my cap and said So longOr sheI don't remember I remember the thoughts I thought and the thoughts I gave her credit for thinking But perhaps she did not think them There is no knowingCharacterisation is formidable Making Christopher relatable is short of a miracle The contrast between Sylvia Tietjens probably the single most fatale femme I have encountered in fiction and Valerie Wannop Christopher’s eventual lover seems lifted straight from Jane Eyre’s Bertha and Jane with the stipulation that little unfolds for the two women after JE fashion The only thing the two women have in common is their good physical shape – sport for Sylvia being a way of maintaining her stunning figure and spending time around men for Valerie – a part of her moral hygienic modern education Sylvia is compared to “the apparition of the statue of the Commander in Don Juan” or a snake; she is “radiant and high stepping like a great stag” She uses her sexuality to dominate destroy use men she ran the whole gamut of 'turnings down' The poor fellows next day would change their bootmakers their sock merchants their tailors the designers of their dress studs and shirts they would sigh even to change the cut of their faces communing seriously with their after breakfast mirrors But they knew in their hearts that calamity came from the fact that she hadn't deigned to look into their eyes Valerie on the other hand “seemed a perfectly negligible girl except for the frown”And finally the wry humour 'I see what you're aiming at' Sylvia said with sudden anger; 'you're revolted at the idea of my going straight from one man's arms to another''I'd be better pleased if there could be an interval' the Father said 'It's what's called bad form'

  7. Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly says:

    Reading this consisting of four books Some Do Not No More Parades A Man Could Stand Up and The Last Post for me was like chewing a single piece of gum for a month It is not unreadable or incomprehensible It's in English originally in English can't blame any faulty translation and the characters are even English But they talk differently They act differently Their motivations are hard to grasp Like they're in a dream their movements come in hazy seuences The plot is gettable but not unforgettable Christopher Tientjens maybe conceived by Ford Madox Ford while looking at the mirror never described as handsome FMF was ugly but only big strong clumsy and gray is married to the beautiful Sylvia a flirt who ran away with another man they have a son but it is not certain if Christopher is really the father fed up with her paramour Sylvia writes Christopher a note saying she wants to go back to him and he accepts her no uestions asked then there's Valentine described as having big feet somewhere she's in love with Christopher who agrees when he asks her to be his mistress but didn't even kiss her and instead just goes to the trenches to fight world war one hoping at one point to die he's rich but renounces wealth intelligent but does stupid things Sylvia finding him too perfect wants to destroy him ah what the heck I found no thrill with the story The characters did not come alive for me I started to worry that maybe something is now wrong with my brain after reading too much and playing chess too much so I checked some of the reviews and see several praising the novel without even reading all four books like they tasted one dish in a food buffet and announced all the rest as outstanding really? Then why not finish the rest? One said he started reading it one day but never said he finished reading it another day So if he's alive in front of me I may be yelling right now to him asking him to answer the uestion if he had actually finished reading all four books and not if the novel is great as I am not asking him that uestion Another hinted that he actually read all four books but then added that Parade's End is A fabulous look into the personal experience of WW1 when it is not actually about WW1 Christopher Tietjen's foray into the trenches is just a very small part of the entire narrative he never even got to fire a gun nor kill a German but about maritalsiblings conflicts love hate honor and family concerns

  8. Kristin Kristin says:

    Amazing insight into British society and the English mind around WW1 I read this for one of my MA classes and re read for an essay and then re read yet again and since have read several others books by Ford a forgotten great hopefully coming back to the forefront with the new BBCHBO miniseries though I think this book is too difficult for most casual readers that will come to it from the miniseries The time shifts are initially confusing but when one lets yourself go I think the confusion the reader feels is intended it mimics the confusion the characters feel one discovers great comic moments the breakfast scene at the Duchemins in particular a beautiful love story and a very sympathetic hero of the stiff upper lip variety and one of the most despicable yet fascinating characters you're likely to encounter in literature If you're not sure that you can commit to the full book read Some Do Not This is a self contained book in it's own right if you finish it wanting to know what happens to the characters then by all means read on But it's in my mind easily the strongest of the four books most comic and best use of modernist techniues namely the time shift which Ford coined

  9. Mark Hinton Mark Hinton says:

    “there are not many English novels which deserve to be called great Parade’s End is one of them” WH AudenWhen I was in college I had to make a choice one semester between taking Romantic Literature or Victorian Literature Knowing just enough about everything to get myself into trouble I chose to take Victorian Literature Romantic poetry did not sound like something a Montana kid grown up on Hemingway would want to read Only much later years and states away would I discover how wrong I wasThe Victorian sensibility that pervades Arnold and Browning – the interest in the ordinary and common day the moral purposefulness the unmooring clash with science the search for the Victorian ideal – seemed cloyingly myopic and dark I admired much but was never able to get my sea legsYears later on a whim walking through a bookstore in Ann Arbor Michigan I picked up a copy of Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford The big paperback caught my eye because of the size and the price 100By then I knew a little about Ford his relationship with Conrad his literary influence his reputation for untruth though hardly a vice in a writer his bad relationship with Hemingway I knew of but had not read The Good Soldier his most celebrated and read work I think but cannot be sure that I may have read by that time some of his literary reminiscences which whether “embellished” or not remain in my mind some of the best of that genre ever writtenI put the book on a shelf and carried it for a few moves Through years of reading the once neglected Romantics through expanding my familiarity with Irish poetry beyond Yeats In those days before kids and domestic distractions I created as I continue to do my own courses of study but of course had much time to concentrate and ruminate Finally one day dark winter day in my little studio on Cathedral Hill in St Paul I picked up the big book and began to readParades 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 properly perhaps the first description of the Modern by a Victorian “No hope no glory not for the nation not for the world I dare say no parades”Ford always an admirer of Henry James lived by the credo why say it in 4 words when 24 will do better His is the anti Hemingway style His sentences and paragraphs go on for pages and yet I found myself enthralled in the same way that James enthralls me So exotic does their language usage seem that I feel I am reading another tongue altogether A language at once ornate and expressive and beautiful than I could even dare to imagine – the term baroue comes to mind although unlike baroue music James and Ford are always satisfyingThe four separate novels that make up Parade’s End Some Do Not No More Parades A Man Could Stand Up and The Last Post tell the story of Christopher Tietjens a man struggling to survive personally and publicly His wife is unfaithful to him he is betrayed by friends and colleagues and the modern post war world is changing everything he once thought he knewThose 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 timeFord 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 uality and execution demand it

  10. Cphe Cphe says:

    Not an easy novel to read not by any means This is the story of Christopher Tietjens a man uite out of step with the times and with those closest to him An interesting character in his own right although uite overshadowed by his manipulative and spoilt wife Sylvia Found that the novel did lag in places however the descriptions of life in the trenches and the physical and psychological impact of the Great War to be compulsive reading The characters were constrained and at times understated but that did add to their power on the page One of those novels that you find yourself thinking about after the last page is turned

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