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Cross-Channel Modernisms$
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Claire Davison, Derek Ryan, and Jane A. Goldman

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474441872

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474441872.001.0001

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Impressions of Translation: Ford Madox Ford’s Cosmopolitan Literary Crossings

Impressions of Translation: Ford Madox Ford’s Cosmopolitan Literary Crossings

(p.50) Chapter 2 Impressions of Translation: Ford Madox Ford’s Cosmopolitan Literary Crossings
Cross-Channel Modernisms

Claire Davison

, Derek Ryan, Jane A. Goldman
Edinburgh University Press

The Channel crossings in Ford’s family history are complex. During the war, he wrote propaganda books triangulating English, French and German culture. After returning from the Western Front, he emigrated to France. His formative collaboration with Joseph Conrad instilled an ideal of the conscious artistry of French fiction (exemplified by Stendhal, Flaubert, and Maupassant). Ford was delighted when The Good Soldier was described as ‘the finest French novel in the English language’. His own work bears out his injunction to translate English sentences into French and then back into English as a means of clarifying and purifying them. However, Anglo-French crossings are only part of Ford’s story. The trans-Manche for him was always overlaid with the transatlantic. This is evident in the magazines he edited: the English Review, which published Tolstoy, James, and President Taft; and the transatlantic review, which was published in New York as well as London and Paris, and which increasingly gave space to the American expatriates in Paris. Ford’s cultural internationalism – his belief in a ‘Republic of Letters’ – foreshadows recent discussions of 'world literature' – nowhere more so than in his last and immense comparative study The March of Literature (1938).

Keywords:   Ford Madox Ford, translation, impressionism, transatlantic, cosmopolitanism, Joseph Conrad, world literature

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