[ilds] Durrell and The Good Soldier

Alejandro Adams hungerist at hotmail.com
Wed Apr 25 15:07:10 PDT 2007

In more than one post, Ford Madox Ford has been mentioned in relation to 
Durrell and the Quartet.  Stop me if you've heard this before:

During an interview with an English journalist, Durrell says something to 
the effect that no one has tried to write anything quite like the Quartet. 
(To wit, "The narrative momentum forward is counter-sprung by references 
backwards in time, giving the impression of a book which is not traveling 
from a to b but standing above time and turning slowly on its own axis to 
comprehend the whole pattern.")  The journalist immediately stops the 
interview, hands Durrell a copy of The Good Soldier and leaves him to read 
it.  The journalist returns the following day and resumes the interview, at 
which point Durrell humbly thanks the journalist for introducing him to 
Ford's novel and confesses that Ford already "did it" (see parenthetical 
citation above for an uncannily accurate description of the narrative 
methodology of The Good Soldier).

I've always wondered whether the Quartet could have gestated with such a 
self-important sense of daring had Durrell been exposed to the impeccable 
machinery of The Good Soldier when Justine was just an embryo.  But what 
would the Quartet be without that sense of daring?

Alejandro Adams

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