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ELT 48 : 4 2005 woman . . . the specially choice incarnation of the feminine" distinguished by "a great capacity of pity for the more obvious forms of human miseries," "kindness personified" (chapter VI). It ignores the compassion for Stevie that lifts Winnie Verloc to what Conrad calls (in Victory) that "great exaltation of love and self-sacrifice, which is woman's sublime faculty" (part IV, chapterV); it ignores the compassion and self-pity, not fear of death (as Schneider claims) that "feminizes" the crew of the "Narcissus ," caught "between pity and mistrust"; it ignores the compassion that involves the skeptical and equally mistrustful Axel Heyst in what becomes the passion for Lena that attaches him to life. '"You should try to love me!' she said.... All his defences were broken now. Life had him fairly by the throat.... all his cherished negations were falling off him one by one" (part III, chapter V). It is compassion that feminizes even Conrad's narrators, to return to Constance Garnett's brilliant observation . It is compassion that feminizes Conrad himself—if that verb is useful any more at this point: "humanizes" is far more accurate. The artist "speaks ... to our sense of pity, and beauty, and pain," as he remarks in the famous preface to The Nigger of the "Narcissus", "to the latent feeling of fellowship with all creation." And "pity" is "the last illusion." No wonder Conrad's women are everything—and nothing. They are humanity —and life itself. lorrie Clark ________________ Trent University Ford's Modernity Robert Hampson and Max Saunders, eds. Ford Madox Ford's Modernity. New York: Rodopi, 2003. χ + 313 pp. $77.00 IN THE helpful introduction to the collection of essays on Ford Madox Ford he has co-edited with Robert Hampson, Max Saunders argues that Ford has "often been characterized as a throwback." Even though he was, first as editor of the English Review and then as editor of the transatlantic review, one of the earliest and most influential advocates of les jeunes, its members—Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, Ernest Hemingway and Jean Rhys—returned his favours by portraying him as one of the old guard, the last pre-Raphaelite. The purpose of the essays in the collection, Saunders continues, is to focus not on Ford's seeming anachronism but on his authentic modernity which lies "in his awareness of the complex dialectic of the modern and the historic." The writer of the historical romances, the admirer of the Provençal troubadours, the defender of the values of "the Tory" and "the gentleman" was not just 482 BOOK REVIEWS the historian of the past but also of his own time. We see this in "his openness to the contemporary technologies of communication, the media , and transport; to the political and social changes of his era, especially as these relate to the women's movement, crises of Englishness and Imperialism, and the First World War; and to modernist experimentation in art and literature." The collection is divided into four sections—Conditions of Modernity: Technology, Gender and the City; The Good Soldier: Desire, Text, and History; Ford, the War and the Post-War: Englishness, Society, History; and Ford and Modern Writing: Biography, Intertextuality, and Style. The organisation is broadly chronological and thematic. Some contributors (Martin Stannard on the editorial problems of The Good Soldier; Bernard Bergonzi on the pre-war writing and the post-war rewriting of The Good Soldier; Ros Pesman on Stella Bowen's memoir of her life with Ford; Joseph Wiesenfarth on the intertextual battle played out between Ford and Violet Hunt, the model in part for Ford's most striking female creations, Florence Dowell and Sylvia Tietjens; and Elena Lamberti on the personal and literary relationships between Ford and Hemingway) are concerned with providing a more accurate version of his texts or of his life. Others unsettle established views of Ford by exploring his engagement with the conditions of modernity. Ford emerges from these essays as a complex and paradoxical figure: the Tory and the radical anarchist, the defender of the established order and the subversive analyst of class and gender, the urbane cosmopolitan and the eco-critic, the celebrant of Englishness and the transnational writer who...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 482-485
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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