Image of Ford Madox Ford


Lifetime: 1873 - 1939 Passed: ≈ 84 years ago


Novelist, Publisher



Ford Madox Ford

Ford Madox Ford (né Joseph Leopold Ford Hermann Madox Hueffer) was an English novelist, poet, critic and editor whose journals The English Review and The Transatlantic Review were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English and American literature. 


Ford is now remembered for his novels The Good Soldier (1915), the Parade's End tetralogy (1924–1928) and The Fifth Queen trilogy (1906–1908). The Good Soldier is frequently included among the great literature of the 20th century, including the Modern Library 100 Best Novels, The Observer′s "100 Greatest Novels of All Time", and The Guardian′s "1000 novels everyone must read". 


Ford was born in Wimbledon in London, to Catherine Madox Brown and Francis Hueffer, the eldest of three; his brother was Oliver Madox Hueffer and his sister was Juliet Catherine Emma Hueffer, the wife of David Soskice and mother of Frank Soskice. Ford's father, who became music critic for The Times, was German and his mother English. His paternal grandfather Johann Hermann Hüffer was first to publish Westphalian poet and author Annette von Droste-Hülshoff. He was named after his maternal grandfather, the Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown, whose biography he would eventually write. His mother's older half-sister was Lucy Madox Brown, the wife of William Michael Rossetti and mother of Olivia Rossetti Agresti. 


In 1889, after the death of his father, Ford and Oliver went to live with their grandfather in London. Ford graduated from the University College School in London, but never attended university. 


In 1894, Ford eloped with his school girlfriend Elsie Martindale. The couple were married in Gloucester and moved to Bonnington. In 1901, they moved to Winchelsea. They had two daughters, Christina (born 1897) and Katharine (born 1900). Ford's neighbours in Winchelsea included the authors Joseph Conrad, Stephen Crane, W.H. Hudson, Henry James in nearby Rye, and H.G. Wells. 


In 1904, Ford suffered an agoraphobic breakdown due to financial and marital problems. He went to Germany to spend time with family there and undergo cure treatments. 


In 1909, Ford left his wife and set up home with English writer Isobel Violet Hunt, with whom he published the literary magazine The English Review. Ford's wife refused to divorce him and he attempted to become a German citizen in order to obtain a divorce in Germany. This was unsuccessful. A reference in an illustrated paper to Violet Hunt as "Mrs Ford Madox Hueffer" gave rise to a successful libel action being brought by Mrs Ford in 1913. Ford's relationship with Hunt did not survive the First World War. 


Ford used the name of Ford Madox Hueffer, but he changed it to Ford Madox Ford after World War I in 1919, partly to fulfil the terms of a small legacy, and partly 'because a Teutonic name is in these days disagreeable', and possibly to avoid further lawsuits from Elsie in the event of Stella being referred to as 'Mrs Hueffer'. 


Between 1918 and 1927, he lived with Stella Bowen, an Australian artist 20 years his junior. In 1920, Ford and Bowen had a daughter, Julia Madox Ford. 


In the summer of 1927, The New York Times reported that Ford had converted a mill building in Avignon, France into a home and workshop that he called "Le Vieux Moulin". The article implied that Ford was reunited with his wife at this point. 


In the early 1930s Ford established a relationship with Janice Biala, a Polish-born artist from New York, who illustrated several of Ford's later books. This relationship lasted until the late 1930s. 


Ford spent the last years of his life teaching at Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan. He was taken ill in Honfleur, France in June 1939 and died shortly afterwards in Deauville at the age of 65. 

Books by Ford Madox Ford

  The Good Soldier Cover image

The Good Soldier

Fiction Novel
Marriage Friendship

The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion is a 1915 novel by the British writer Ford Madox Ford. It is set just before World War I, and chronicles the tragedy of Edward Ashburnham, the soldier to whom the title refers, and his seemingly perfect marriage, a...

The Inheritors  Cover image

The Inheritors

Fiction Novel
Twentieth Century Tradition Science Fiction Earth Science Corruption political Earth Fantastic Fiction

The Inheritors: An Extravagant Story is a quasi-science fiction novel on which Ford Madox Ford and Joseph Conrad collaborated. Written before the first World War, its themes of corruption and the effect of the 20th century on British aristocracy were...

The Fifth Queen  Cover image

The Fifth Queen

Marriage Young Court Historical Fiction Catholicism General Fiction

The Fifth Queen is trilogy of historical novels by English novelist Ford Madox Ford comprising The Fifth Queen: And How She Came to Court (1906), Privy Seal (1907), and The Fifth Queen Crowned (1908). It presents a highly fictionalised account of Kat...

Some Do Not... Cover image

Some Do Not...

Marriage Governments War Young Cruelty Life Shame

Some Do Not... is a tale of social cruelty among the English upper classes that pits real honour against shameless duplicity and subjects its principal characters to extremes of mental suffering that appear to be analogous to the (never directly desc...

No More Parades Cover image

No More Parades

Fiction Novel War
Civil Truth Moral Cruelty Society Atmosphere World Wars

No More Parades is the second novel of Ford Madox Ford's highly regarded tetralogy about the First World War, Parade's End. It was published in 1925, and was extraordinarily well-reviewed. Part I deals, primarily, with Captain Christopher Tietjens at...

The Queen Who Flew: A Fairy Tale Cover image

The Queen Who Flew: A Fairy Tale

Dream Independence Adventure Myths Legends Illusions Imagination

It follows the adventures of a young queen who discovers the joys of flight. Originally published in 1923, this book remains a beloved classic of English literature, capturing the imagination of readers of all ages with its enchanting narrative and s...

The Nature of a Crime Cover image

The Nature of a Crime

Love Mystery Crime Thriller Young adult fiction Revenge Betrayal Journalism Memory Imagination Mediterranean French Psychological Danger Human Relationship Secret Motivation Twists

It is a thrilling mystery collaborative novel. This book follows the story of a journalist who becomes entangled in a web of deceit and danger after a chance encounter with a mysterious woman. First published in 1909, "The Nature of a Crime" has sto...

The Fifth Queen Crowned Cover image

The Fifth Queen Crowned

Fiction History Novel
Power Kingdom Politics Romance Struggle Betrayal Wealth Dangerous Agency

It is a thrilling historical fiction novel that follows the story of Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII of England. This book, originally published in 1908, is an excellent read for those who are interested in history, politics, and...

A Man Could Stand Up Cover image

A Man Could Stand Up

Family Love War Loyalty Struggle Narrative Relationships Women

The book follows Christopher Tietjens as he navigates the aftermath of the war and the changes that come with it. He must deal with his estranged wife, Sylvia, and their son, as well as a new love interest, Valentine Wannop. The story explores themes...

The Feather Cover image

The Feather

Fairy Tale Novel
Drama Love Truth Children's novel Children's Literature Historical Fiction Loyalty Honor European history Intriguing Children Fiction

In the depths of World War I, amidst the chaos and intrigue, a mysterious feather holds the key to secrets and betrayals in Ford Madox Ford's gripping novel, "The Feather." Set against the backdrop of the First World War, "The Feather" by Ford Madox...

Privy Seal: His Last Venture Cover image

Privy Seal: His Last Venture

Fiction Novel
Deception Struggle political Desire Betrayal Experiences Historical Ambition

Step into the treacherous world of political intrigue and power in "Privy Seal: His Last Venture" by Ford Madox Ford. Uncover the secrets, deceptions, and power plays that shape the destiny of nations as the enigmatic Privy Seal embarks on his final,...

Ring for Nancy: A Sheer Comedy Cover image

Ring for Nancy: A Sheer Comedy

Comedy Fiction
Truth Comics Romance Society Journey Humorous Fiction

Step into the delightful and uproarious world of London's high society as Ford Madox Ford weaves a tale of wit, charm, and hilarious misunderstandings in "Ring for Nancy." Set against the backdrop of the roaring 1920s, this sheer comedy takes readers...

The Desirable Alien at Home in Germany Cover image

The Desirable Alien at Home in Germany

Memoir Travel
Love Politics Travelling Literature Culture Challenges Aristocracy Experiences Memory Germany

What does it mean to be a foreigner in a new land? The Desirable Alien at Home in Germany by Ford Madox Ford is a travelogue and memoir that tells the story of the author's year-long stay in Germany in the early 1900s. Ford was a British writer, but...

The Soul of London Cover image

The Soul of London

Fiction Novel
Beauty Power Guilt Culture Struggle Journey Anthropology London Observation

In the heart of a bustling metropolis, amidst the towering landmarks and the ceaseless hum of urban life, lies the enigmatic essence of a city – its soul. Ford Madox Ford's captivating novel, "The Soul of London," takes readers on an evocative journe...

Good Soldier Cover image

Good Soldier

The Good Soldier (1915) "... is set just before World War I and chronicles the tragedies of the lives of two seemingly perfect couples. The novel is told using a series of flashbacks in non-chronological order, a literary technique pioneered by Ford....

Joseph Conrad: A Personal Remembrance Cover image

Joseph Conrad: A Personal Remembrance

Joseph Conrad (1857 – 1924) was a Polish-British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he was a master prose stylist who brought a non-English...

Romance Cover image


Second of three collaborations between Conrad and Ford. The hero and narrator, John Kemp, gets involved with smugglers, Caribbean pirates, Irish rebels, prison, treachery,, and--need I add?--romance.

Ladies Whose Bright Eyes: A Romance Cover image

Ladies Whose Bright Eyes: A Romance

After a train accident, one Mr. Sorrell finds himself transported back to the Middle Ages, where he is mistaken for a Greek slave who works miracles. As he becomes acclimated to the customs and way of life of the time, and then as he falls in love, h...

Last Post Cover image

Last Post

This is the last novel in Ford Madox Ford's "Parade's End" tetralogy. Its predecessors "Some Do Not", "No More Parades" and "A Man Could Stand Up" are all available on Librivox. In this coda to the tetralogy, the prevailing mood is elegiac. The foreg...