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240 2, Vanguard's Ford Madox Ford Ford Madox Ford, THE FIFTH QUEEN, Intro by Graham Greene. New York: Vanguard P, 1963. $6.50. Vanguard Press has published Ford's fifth Queen trilogy (THE FIFTH QUEEN, PRIVY SEAL, THE FIFTH QUEEN CROWNED) for the first time in America. The three volumes, originally published separately in England in 1906, 1907, and 1908, respectively, were reprinted in the second volume of THE BODLEY HEAD FORD MADOX FORD (1962), edited and introduced by Graham Greene, Mr. Greene's introduction to this American edition is reprinted from the first volume of the Bodley Head edition. Writings about Ford, perhaps quite properly, have concentrated on THE GOOD SOLDIER, the Tietjens books, Ford's fictional techniques and his prose style, and on the Ford-Conrad relationship. On the whole very little has been written about THE FIFTH QUEEN trilogy. The reviews of the first volume, if the LONDON TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT , 16 Mar 1S06, p„ 93 can be taken as more or less representative, were on the whole favorable. The TIMES reviewer, after indicating that Ford might go far in his "new field" of historical fiction; concludes that the first volume "at any rate demands comparison with the highest standards." However, when the entire trilogy had appeared the reviewers apparently had second thoughts, for in LONDON TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, S Apr 1S08, p, ¡17, the reviewer, looking back over the trilogy, concludes that it is too stet ic and laborious, overly detailed and minute. Since the Bodley Head and Vanguard editions have now made the trilogy more readily available, it is likely that Ford's historical trilogy may receive more serious attention. Of this there are already a few signs, Samuel Hynes, for example, in his "Ford and the Spirit of Romance," MODERN FICTION STUDIES, ¡X (Spring 1963), 17-24 proposes that Ford's labelling THE FIFTH QUEEN a romance is not wholly appropriate and goes on to argue that the books in this trilogy are not rigged but are "properly novels," that they lack the "simplification of romance." R, W. Flint, in his "The Happy Breed," NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS, I (9 Jan 1964), 12-13, while holding that the trilogy is "relatively minor Ford" and that it contains the "inevitable flaws of historical fiction," suggests a study of the trilogy gives Ford's following an opportunity to grapple "with his conscious choice of England and the English as a prime subject in itself." And Graham Greene, in his introduction to the Bodley Head [ELT, Vl: 3 (I963)] and Vanguard editions, maintains that Ford's reminiscences of people he had known have much in common with his historical fiction, in which he is nearer Shakespeare in the use of history than to historical writers like Miss Irwin and Miss Heyer. Mr, Greene adds that in trying out the impressionist method in THE FIFTH QUEEN, Ford prepares the way for his greatest achievement in THE GOOD SOLDIER. The FIFTH QUEEN trilogy might, thus, profitably be studied in the light of other historical fiction, as part of a tradition in fiction and it might significantly be studied as a trial flight for the methods Ford was to use more successfully in some of his greater works dealing with modern England, The Vanguard edition, it should be noted, is a handsome book; although apparently using the Bodley Head plates, it has a large page size and, thus, wider margins. As might be expected, the British price of 25 shillings or about $3.50 is considerably less than the price of the American edition,. Purdue University H. E. Gerber ...


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