Places: Parade’s End

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1950: Some Do Not . . . , 1924; No More Parades, 1925; A Man Could Stand Up, 1926; The Last Post, 1928

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Impressionism

Time of work: World War I and after

Asterisk denotes entries on real places.

Places Discussed*England

*England. Parade’s EndThese novels trace the devastating impact of World War I on England, emphasizing the sharp division between pre-and postwar conditions. Ford Madox Ford represents prewar England as a country on the verge of chaos, with only nationalistic illusions maintaining a semblance of order. The war destroys those illusions, and the postwar changes in British culture are represented by the decline of the Tietjens family from their upper-class position as wealthy, landed gentry.

Groby

Groby. Yorkshire country estate of the Tietjens family and the postwar setting for The Last Post, the concluding novel in the series. The estate’s main house is notable for the gigantic Groby Great Tree that has grown into the structure of the house. After the war, the estate is rented to Americans who have no respect for the history behind it, except from a tourist’s perspective. When the Americans try to have Groby Great Tree removed, they do significant damage to the entire structure of the house. These dramatic changes at Groby symbolize the decline in power and authority of the British gentry in the aftermath of the war.

*London

*London. Capital of Great Britain, in which Tietjens recuperates with Sylvia at the end of Some Do Not . . . Sylvia moves within London’s elite society while Tietjens is stationed in France, and Christopher’s older brother Mark works in the War Office near Regent’s Park. In addition, Valentine teaches physical education at a London girls’ school.

*Western Front

*Western Front. Broad region running from Belgium through France that was the center of the most intense and devastating combat in World War I. Tietjens is stationed there during the war, and Ford provides vivid descriptions of life in the trenches for British soldiers. In Some Do Not . . . Tietjens suffers amnesia after being caught in an explosion during 1916. Later, he is assigned to supply duties that keep him behind the lines, but through the influence of his godfather, General Campion, he is reassigned to the front at Flanders. Even at the front, Tietjens’s attention is split between his military duties and some “distant locality”–his marriage problems, financial situation, and romance with Valentine back in England. Toward the end of A Man Could Stand Up, Tietjens again experiences shell shock after being blown in the air and buried in a shell explosion. Tietjens is hospitalized in Rouen, as was Ford during the war.

In a key scene in No More Parades, Sylvia makes an improper visit with Christopher at the front. They later meet at a nearby hotel (from which the sound of shelling can still be heard) and attempt reconciliation. Their reunion, however, is interrupted by Sylvia’s lover, Major Perowne, and the ensuing fight is witnessed by General Campion. The positioning of this scene so close to the battle lines collapses and intensifies Tietjens’s concerns over his domestic problems at home and his military duty at the front.

Mountby

Mountby. English country estate, near Rye, owned by Tietjens’s godfather, General Campion. The novel opens in 1912, with Tietjens and Macmaster on a train to Rye for a golf outing with Campion. While visiting Campion, Tietjens first meets Valentine Wannop and begins his romantic relationship with her.

Lobscheid

Lobscheid. Little-known German resort at which Sylvia conducts her extramarital affair at the beginning of Some Do Not . . . . The fact that she vacations at a German resort in the years before the outbreak of war indicates her blindness to the developing crisis in Europe.

BibliographyAgenda 27, no. 4, and 28, no. 1 (Winter, 1989; Spring, 1990). A double issue devoted to essays on Ford’s fiction by twenty-eight different critics.Cassell, Richard A., ed. Critical Essays on Ford Madox Ford. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1987. An excellent collection of essays, most focusing on The Good Soldier but with significant attention paid to Parade’s End.Mizener, Arthur. The Saddest Story. New York: World Publishing, 1971. The definitive biography of Ford, a long and thorough study that includes an appendix with a separate discussion of Parade’s End.Moore, Gene M. “The Tory in a Time of Change: Social Aspects of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End.” Twentieth Century Literature 28 (Spring, 1982): 48-69. A discussion of the ways in which the novel reflects Ford’s views of the dramatic changes inflicted on English society by World War I.Sniton, Ann Barr. Ford Madox Ford and the Voice of Uncertainty. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984. Studies Ford’s style in detail, showing how its hesitancy and ambiguity reflect Ford’s ambivalent attitude toward his times.
Categories: Places