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The Last Pre-Raphaelite - The Life of Ford Madox Ford Douglas Goldring

The Last Pre-Raphaelite - The Life of Ford Madox Ford

Douglas Goldring

Published March 1st 2007
ISBN : 9781406728583
Paperback
304 pages
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 About the Book 

THE LAST PRE-RAPHAELITE A Record of the Life and Writings of FORD MADOX FORD DOUGLAS COLORING London MACDONALD CO. Publishers LTD. First published 1948 MADE AND PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY PURNELL AND SONS, LTD., PAULTON SOMERSET AND LONDON CwrtfsyMoreTHE LAST PRE-RAPHAELITE A Record of the Life and Writings of FORD MADOX FORD DOUGLAS COLORING London MACDONALD CO. Publishers LTD. First published 1948 MADE AND PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY PURNELL AND SONS, LTD., PAULTON SOMERSET AND LONDON Cwrtfsy of Daily News, Gnenboro, N. C. Ford Madox Ford in 1939 SOME words of preliminary explanation are required before offering this biographical sketch to an indulgent public. It is the fourth book which has so far appeared dealing with the career arid personality of Ford Madox Ford. The first two were written by women who shared his life over a period of years the third, South Lodge, written by myself, took the form of personal memories, amplified by a mass of material which came into my hands in 1942, on the death of Violet Hunt. The present volume is in no sense a repetition of South Lodge, nor does it contain any quotations from its predecessor. The idea of writing Fords life was indirectly put into my head by a letter I received from his second daughter and my purpose was, with her assistance which was in the first stages generously forth coming to compile a detached and coherent record of her fathers career. I was not, at this period, aware who was Fords literary executor, nor had I any information as to the terms of his will. Rumours Jiad reached England that a biography of Ford, by one of his American admirers, was in course of pre paration. While recognising that qply some American literary colleague could write with authority about Fords closing years, I could not imagine how any American could adequately cover the remainder of his life, all the material concerning which was to be found in England. Two points appeared to be established.First, that the literary executor, whoever he or she might prove to be, had no objection in principle to a biography being written second, that if the American work eventually materialised, there was no reason why it should clash with mine. I accordingly went ahead with my project and succeeded in arranging a con tract with my publishers. Later, I discovered that Ford had made Miss Janice Ford Biala his literary executrix and, as soon as I had her address in New York, I wrote to tell her what I had CHY 6410247 vi Preface done, in the hope of enlisting her support and approval. In reply, she informed me that Ford had left instructions in his will that no books were to be written about him of a biographical sort and stating that she had, for this reason, dissuaded the American bi ographer from going on with his project. In my answer I pointed out that three books containing much information about Fords life had already been written and published in this country. I went on to observe that between twenty and thirty million books had been destroyed in England by enemy action, that even established classics were out of stock and that what could be termed the continuity of tradition had thus been blown up in a way which Ford himself could not possibly have anticipated when he made his will. I added that precisely the same problem has arisen again and again during tie past hundred years in regard to artists and men of letters whose work, by gaining the attention and approval of the public, established them as figures in whose careers the public took a natural and legitimate interest. Had it been possible to comply with their testamentary instruc tions, there would have been no lives of ThomasCarlyle, Cezanne or George Meredith to mention the first three names that occur to me. In practice, it was not found possible, and the consensus of opinion has always been that the interest of the community as a whole must override the wishes expressed in his lifetime by a public figure. While no one but the literary executor in the case of a writer has the power to authorize a biography, this power only legally covers the use of copyright material. .....