"UNDOUBTEDLY FORD'S MASTERPIECE" (GRAHAM GREENE)
[FORD] HUEFFER, Ford Madox. The Good Soldier. London, New York: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1915. Octavo, original brick-red cloth. Housed in a custon clamshell box. $7200.
First edition of Ford's magnum opus, the work he considered "his finest novel and contemporaries hailed it as great," a handsome copy in the original cloth.
Ford Madox Ford is widely heralded as one of the 20th century's "greatest novelists… He brought a marvelous shudder, a thrill of technique, to the English novel" (New York Times). "Ford was persuaded by his publisher that his original title, 'The Saddest Story,' would prove unsaleable in the dark days of 1915. In a moment of irony—he was serving in the Coldstream Guards at the time—he suggested The Good Soldier as an alternative, and the date of the outbreak of the First World War, August 4, is of recurring significance in the novel. If not perhaps the saddest, it is nevertheless a sad story, a formally perfect account, with autobiographical elements, of a fatal friendship which, as it unravels, mercilessly exposes the psychology, hidden motives and weaknesses of all its characters. Ford considered it his finest novel and contemporaries hailed it as great" (Parker, 62). In The Good Soldier "there is a reserve tank of energy and intelligence about this most subtle study of the eternal quadrilateral (two couples meeting in a German spa)" (Connolly, Modern Movement 27). To Graham Greene The Good Soldier is "undoubtedly Ford's masterpiece" (cited in Ford Madox Ford's Literary Contacts, 212). A Connolly 100 title. First edition, English issue, with gilt-lettered Bodley Head at spine end: published together with American issue, no priority established. With 16-pages of publisher's advertisements at rear showing this listed under the title The Saddest Story. Without rarely found dust jacket. Harvey A46a. Small bookseller ticket.
Text very fresh, faint soiling, trace of expert reinforcement to head of lightly toned spine. A very scarce near-fine copy.