Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Understanding Politics in Parade's End

This article discusses the politics of nostalgia in Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End. Gasiorek reviews the four sections of Parade's End, suggesting that Ford's novel questions the nature of tradition and its relevence to modern English society. Ford's text is very ambivalent in that it criticizes both pre and post war England. This confusion is seen through the character of Tietjens. Readers struggle with this character, as they are constantly trying to figure out Ford's own political views and his attitude towards Tietjens. Gasiorek sees that there are two different readings of the text: the first suggests that through Tietjen, Ford displays a critique of England (its values, feudalism ect). The other reading, Gasiorek argues, seperates Tietjens from Ford; however, maintains the same idea. In other words, Ford may be cricizing England but is calling for reform not complete absolution from such values.
Gasiorek suggests that neither of these readings are accurate, and that they fail to recognize that feudalism and Toryism are under investigation in the text. He suggests that many readers and critics place their own values on the text which is why such readings have arisen.
In the end, he suggests that Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End uses nostalgia to allow the reader to identify with Tietjens indictment. He states that "on one hand, it offers a critique of Tietjen's Toryism...and showing it to be impotent and anarchronistic in the modern world, but on the other hand, it reveals a genuine, heartfelt sympathy for Tietjen's political views.

Gasiorek, Andrzej. "The Politics of Cultural Nostalgia: History and Tradition in Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End." Literature and History. 11(2). 2002 Autumn. pp 52-77

-Heather Blondé

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