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The Good Soldier (1915)

por Ford Madox Ford

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4,7841142,335 (3.78)346
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Opening with the famous line "This is the saddest story I have ever heard", The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion is Ford Madox Ford's 1915 novel. Set at the dawn of World War I, it tells of the lives of two seemingly perfect couples; with the result that neither the characters nor their relationships are what they seem.

.… (mais)
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Victorian literature might often hint at extramarital affairs and hijinx, but always under the guise of pursuing or seeking true love. Ford Madox Ford bravely struck a new chord in this 1915 novel with his statement that sometimes - if not often - it's just a fling, based on loneliness or the sexual desire. This stripping away of the curtains around the issue didn't land him in censorship waters like James Joyce a few years later, but his novel was branded as "unpleasant" and "dangerous". This for addressing an everyday occurrence in plainer language so that it might be explored on the page.

This novel is also an early example of literary impressionism, a style that we take for granted today. Ford takes a roundabout path to telling his story, providing us with an after-the-fact narrator John Dowell who tends to ramble and gets things out of order. Immediately we know who dies, so that's the hook to exploring why. John contradicts himself on occasion, or says something offhand that startles but then he doesn't address it immediately, and some of his adjectives take on a fresh meeting later. Rather than frustrating, however, it creates a layer of mystery and need-to-know that keeps the pages turning.

John is a significant example of an unreliable narrator, his judgements and feelings about what transpired shifting in several directions. Only the concluding pages provide confirmation where his true sympathy lies, when his actions speak louder than his words. Ford is suggesting through John that sometimes our passions are too much for the artificial constructs of society to contain - our religious moralities, our marriage contracts, our collective sense of decency. That someone who is destroyed when they run counter to these may be too well understood to be considered a villain, given the base desires most of us share; except that this characterization too must to be done, so the rest of us can go on with our orderliness and stability to win whatever happiness remains. ( )
  Cecrow | Mar 31, 2024 |
This was one of the best novels I have ever read. The prose was crystal clear and images as fresh as the day Ford wrote them. Its picture of marriage and infidelity so painful that I wonder if our great contemporary psycho-therapist Esther Perel had not coached Ford in the details. The picture of landed gentry in England is both accurate and piteously satiric. I sit this book next to Elena Ferrante and Evan Connell’s “Mrs. Bridge.” ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
I'd never heard of this book until I read a review last year. Apparently it's a classic written in 1915 set in a pre-WWI German spa town (for the most part). English author ... about an English gentleman who has affairs left and right and how these events affect the lives of the people around him. I had high expectations after reading the reviews which might account for some of why I was disappointed in the book. I didn't care much for this book although I did have enough interest to keep reading to see how it ended. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
The characters were interesting, but not even Frank Muller's beautiful audio performance could hold my interest with the meandering monologue that apparently makes up the entirety of this story. I gave up trying about 50 minutes in. ( )
  Doodlebug34 | Jan 1, 2024 |
“This is the saddest story I have ever heard”, inderdaad de aanhef van dit boek vat de teneur van deze roman perfect samen. De Amerikaanse verteller, John Dowell, neemt ons mee in het verhaal van een vriendschap tussen twee koppels, die van hemzelf en zijn vrouw Florence met een Engels echtpaar, Edward en Leonora Ashburnham, een vriendschap die heel onschuldig begint maar waarvan de dramatische afloop (een dode aan elke kant) al meteen duidelijk wordt gemaakt. Veel suspense is daar dus niet aan, tenzij dan aan de manier waarop de twee slachtoffers aan hun einde komen. Al vlug wordt ook duidelijk dat ontrouw en bedrog de intrige beheersen, dus ook daar geen verrassingen.
Wat is dan de sterkte van deze roman? Daar moet ik niet over nadenken: de spontane, innemende vertelstem van John Dowell. Dit hele boek door is die aan het woord, de verteller is een echte praatvaar die ons meeneemt in een wervelwind aan onwaarschijnlijke amoureuze ontwikkelingen, en waarvan hij op tijd en stond moet bekennen dat hij er zelf amper iets van begrijpt. Al vrij vlug wordt duidelijk dat hij een bijzonder naïeve man is die al van bij de start van hun huwelijk misleid werd door zijn vrouw, en die ook herhaaldelijk moet bekennen hoezeer hij een verkeerd beeld had van het bevriende koppel en van zijn eigen vrouw. Je kan bijna niet anders dan medelijden en sympathie voor hem voelen. Maar tegelijk bekruipt je ook geregeld het gevoel dat hij misschien niet helemaal rechtuit is, dat zijn verhaal bijzonder gekleurd is, en dat hoezeer hij zich ook voordoet als grootste slachtoffer, hij dat misschien net niet is. Madox Ford geeft de indruk dat het hier om een vorm van bekentenisliteratuur gaat, en van therapeutisch schrijven (“Forgive my writing of these monstruous things in this frivolous manner. If I did not I should break down and cry”), waarbij de verteller John Dowell samen met ons ogenschijnlijk ‘neutraal’ probeert te ontdekken wat er precies allemaal aan de hand was. Madox Ford speelt daarbij een subtiel en tegelijk pervers spel met de lezer, met semantische betekenisverschuivingen in het betoog van Dowell (de titel ‘the good soldier’ is er daar één van), en uitlatingen die ons geregeld op het verkeerd been zetten (de uitermate warme gevoelens die Dowell blijft koesteren voor de Ashburnhams bijvoorbeeld). Het is die eindeloze opeenstapeling van ambiguïteiten ie dit tot een uitermate boeiend stukje literatuur maakt, erg gelijkend op de 100 jaar oudere roman ‘Liaisons Dangereuses’ van Choderlos De Laclos).
Maar de grootste sterkte van dit boek, is ook een beetje zijn grootste zwakte: de auteur laat onze verteller misschien net iets te lang aan het woord, in een (bewust) haperende associatieve vertelstijl, met telkens nieuwe rondjes ontwikkelingen, in een complex net van flashbacks en vooruitblikken, verschuivingen van perspectief en chronologie, analyse, zelfreflectie en dialoog, tot het beetje te veel van het goede wordt. Zelfs al drie vierde in het boek begint hij aan een nieuwe reeks ontwikkelingen, alsof hij zijn innerlijke drang niet de baas kan: “Perhaps all these reflections are a nuisance ; but they crowd on me. I will try to tell the story.” Op dat moment zucht je even, en vraag je je af welke draai het verhaal nu weer zal krijgen. Maar niet getreurd, dit blijft een indrukwekkende roman, één van de grote van de interbellumliteratuur. (Rating 3.5 sterren). ( )
  bookomaniac | Nov 18, 2023 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (22 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Ford, Ford Madoxautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Bannister, PhilipIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Barnes, JulianIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Bradshaw, DavidEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Henze, HeleneTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Judd, AlanIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kenner, HughIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lorch, FritzTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Saunders, MaxIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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This is the saddest story I have ever heard.
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I have, I am aware, told this story in a very rambling way so that it may be difficult for anyone to find his path through what may be a sort of maze. I cannot help it. I have stuck to my idea of being in a country cottage with a silent listener, hearing between the gusts of the wind and amidst the noises of the distant sea the story as it comes. And, when one discusses an affair--a long, sad affair--one goes back, one goes forward. One remembers points that one has forgotten and one explains them all the more minutely since one recognizes that one has forgotten to mention them in their proper places and that one may have given, by omitting them, a false impression. I console myself with thinking that this is a real story and that, after all, real stories are probably told best in the way a person telling a story would tell them. They will then seem most real.
In all matrimonial associations there is, I believe, one constant factor - a desire to deceive the person with whom one lives as to some weak spot in one's character or in one's career. For it is intolerable to live constantly with one human being who perceives one's small meannesses.
Florence was a personality of paper - she represented a real human being with a heart, with feelings, with sympathies and with emotions only as a bank note represents a certain quantity of gold.
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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Opening with the famous line "This is the saddest story I have ever heard", The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion is Ford Madox Ford's 1915 novel. Set at the dawn of World War I, it tells of the lives of two seemingly perfect couples; with the result that neither the characters nor their relationships are what they seem.

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