Ford and Lewis: The Attraction of Opposites

Rob Spence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This essay seeks to examine the relationship between Ford Madox Ford and Wyndham Lewis by exploring the representations of English society in the pre-war years, and military life in wartime, in 'Parade’s End' and 'Blasting and Bombardiering' (1937), Lewis’s memoir of his early life. The careers of Lewis and Ford were intertwined from 1909, when Ford published Lewis’s first work, ‘The Pole’ in The English Review. Lewis included an extract from 'The Good Soldier' in the first issue of Blast, and Ford’s novel 'The Marsden Case' (1923) features a character based on Lewis. In Ford’s 'Portraits from Life', he good-humouredly reports Lewis’s attack on himself, Conrad and James as outdated, outmoded has-beens. Focusing mainly on 'Some Do Not...', the essay attempts to see correspondences between the portrait of Georgian England offered by Ford, and the account of the contemporaneous bohemian art world inhabited by Lewis. It then compares Ford’s accounts of battle in 'No More Parades' with Lewis’s in 'Blasting and Bombardiering', attempting again to see similarities in the work of these apparently very disparate writers. The essay suggests how the pre-war and wartime episodes in the respective texts display the writers’ engagement with key modernist themes, and posits that their prose styles are not as diametrically opposed as Lewis himself suggested they were.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFord Madox Ford’s Parade’s End: The First World War, Culture, and Modernity
EditorsAshley Chantler, Rob Hawkes
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Number of pages232
ISBN (Print)978-90-420-3863-9
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

Publication series

NameInternational Ford Madox Ford Studies


  • Ford Madox Ford
  • First World War
  • modernism
  • Wyndham Lewis


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