Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ford, Freud, Modernism & Fragmentation

A highly relevant book that you might be interested in is available through this ebrary link from our Library homepage. Its title declares its relevancy: Fragmenting Modernism: Ford Madox Ford, the Novel and the Great War.
Two characteristic passages to get your attention.

But it is hard to talk about ‘modernism’ (or history) as a homogeneous mass, as will emerge in this Introduction. In my approach to Ford, then, I also fragment modernism itself. I focus on aspects of the modernist aesthetic that are particularly relevant to him and to his work; in so doing, I also demonstrate the fact that there is more to modernism than meets the eye. The prevailing wisdom concerning modernism and fragmentation (the ‘pattern’) is challenged in what follows. Ford, an advocate and cultivator of key modernist techniques, both uses these techniques to represent the fragmented experience and perception of modern life (in a text like The Good Soldier) and counters them (in what I call his positive fictions, like The Half Moon’).

Steven Marcus calls the relation between psychoanalysis and narrative writing ‘an ancient and venerable one’,11 and Freud himself stated in Studies on Hysteria that ‘it still strikes myself as strange that the case histories I write should read like short stories’.12 As Marcus then deduces, ‘On this reading, human life is, ideally, a connected and coherent story, with all the details in explanatory place, and with everything [. . .] accounted for, in its proper causal or other sequence. And inversely, illness amounts at least in part to suffering from an incoherent story or an inadequate narrative account of oneself’ (p. 61).
Haslam, Sara. Fragmenting Modernism : Ford Madox Ford, the Novel and the Great War . Manchester , GBR p21 . Copyright © 2002. Manchester University Press. All rights reserved.

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