What’s wrong with Ford Madox Ford’s Catholics?

parade's_endSome time ago, more than 2 years ago in fact, I wrote a bit on Leonora Ashburham, one of the characters of Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier. I noticed, then, she had much in common with Lady Julia Flyte of Brideshead Revisited—at least regarding her Catholic faith. Both characters are examples of very modern (and adulterous) women who seem not to care much about their religion, yet who insist on educating their children as Catholics, as if that was the only thing with some value they could pass on to them. While I was reading Ford’s tetralogy Parade’s End I thought that this over simplistic description could also be applied to Sylvia, Christopher Tietjens’s wife. Yet, despite the similarities, I think there is something different, and quite sinister, in the case of Sylvia. Continue reading “What’s wrong with Ford Madox Ford’s Catholics?”

The Faith of Leonora Ashburham & Julia Flyte

Some days ago I was asked to talk about the representation of the Catholic faith in some English novels in the XX century. I was reading then The Good Soldier of Ford Madox Ford, so, naturally, the figure of Leonora Ashburham was the first to come to mind. Yet, is Leonora a “typical” representation of the Catholic? Is there a common way of representing “the Catholic” in the first half of the XX century? As I had never read trying to identify those patterns of representation, assuming they exist, I did not have an answer, and I still don’t. Nevertheless I think that convert writers such as Graham Green, Evelyn Waugh, Chesterton, Muriel Spark and Ford place faith as a very distinctive quality of their Catholic characters, despite the significant differences  found in their works. Continue reading “The Faith of Leonora Ashburham & Julia Flyte”