The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion (Starbooks Classics Editions) (Paperback)

The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion (Starbooks Classics Editions) Cover Image
By Ford Madox Ford, Angie Zambrano (Illustrator)
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The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion
"I know nothing - nothing in the world - of the hearts of men. I only know that I am alone - horribly alone."
The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion is a 1915 novel by English novelist Ford Madox Ford. It is set just before World War I and chronicles the tragedy of Edward Ashburnham, the soldier to whom the title refers, and his own seemingly perfect marriage and that of two American friends. The novel is told using a series of flashbacks in non-chronological order, a literary technique that formed part of Ford's pioneering view of literary impressionism. Ford employs the device of the unreliable narrator to great effect as the main character gradually reveals a version of events that is quite different from what the introduction leads the reader to believe. The novel was loosely based on two incidents of adultery and on Ford's messy personal life.
The novel's original title was The Saddest Story, but after the onset of World War I, the publishers asked Ford for a new title. Ford suggested (sarcastically) The Good Soldier, and the name stuck.
In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Good Soldier 30th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
Major characters
John Dowell: The narrator, husband to Florence. Dowell is an American Quaker, a gullible and passionless man who cannot read the emotions of the people around him.
Florence Dowell: John Dowell's wife and a scheming, manipulative, unfaithful woman who uses Dowell for his money while pursuing her affairs on the side. She fakes a heart ailment to get what she wants out of her husband and has a lengthy affair with Edward Ashburnham.
Edward Ashburnham: Friend of the Dowells and husband of Leonora. Ashburnham is a hopeless romantic who keeps falling in love with the women he meets; he is at Nauheim for the treatment of a heart problem but it's unclear whether the ailment is real. He is Dowell's opposite, a virile, physical, passionate man.
Leonora Ashburnham: Edward's wife by a marriage that was more or less arranged by their fathers. Leonora comes to resent Edward's philandering as much for its effect on her life as on her marriage and asserts more and more control over Edward until he dies.
Nancy Rufford: The young ward of the Ashburnhams; Edward falls in love with Nancy after he tires of Florence. Eventually Nancy is sent by Ashburnham to India to live with her father, but she goes mad en route when she learns of Edward's death.
La Dolciquita: A Spanish dancer (The Grand Duke's mistress) who is Edward's first sexual affair. Although he believes himself to be romantically attached to her, he quickly becomes disillusioned by her thirst for his money. She is not at all interested in Edward's "sentimental" gestures, and asks for money and expensive gifts in exchange for sex.
Maisie Maidan: Edward's third affair. Maisie was a young, pretty, married woman whom Leonora purchases from her "child husband" and brings back to Europe for Edward's sake. Maisie has a true heart defect and it takes her life as she tries to flee from Edward.

About the Author

Ford Madox Ford (17 December 1873 - 26 June 1939), born Ford Hermann Hueffer, was an English novelist, poet, critic and editor whose journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature. He is now remembered best for his publications The Good Soldier (1915), the Parade's End tetralogy (1924 - 28) and The Fifth Queen trilogy (1906 - 08). The Good Soldier is frequently included among the great literature of the 20th century, including the Modern Library 100 Best Novels, The Observer's "100 Greatest Novels of All Time," and The Guardian's "1000 novels everyone must read."
Product Details
ISBN: 9781500922375
ISBN-10: 1500922374
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: August 23rd, 2014
Pages: 194
Language: English