The Good Soldier
January 01, 1951
The Good Soldier is Ford Madox Ford's masterpiece, a riveting story and one of the most compelling examples of early Modernism: a virtuoso performance of how to use an "unreliable narrator." Wealthy American John Dowell tells what he calls "the saddest story," about a secret affair between his wife and another man that is finally revealed in a crescendo of death and madness. Ford's novel reflects contemporary interests in psychology, sexuality, and the New Woman, and it treats Henry James's "transatlantic theme" with an existential horror comparable to Joseph Conrad's. Its portrayal of the destruction of a civilized elite anticipates the cataclysm of the First World War, which erupted while Ford was finishing the book.
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