Conference Report

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Swansea was host to an international conference on Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier this September. Long regarded as Ford’s greatest early achievement, The Good Soldier is one of the finest modernist novels in English and the conference focussed on a comparative assessment of Ford’s first masterpiece, ahead of the centenary of its publication in 2015.

Ford Maddox Conf repThe conference was convened by Geraint Evans from the Department of English Language and Literature, and jointly run by RIAH and the Ford Madox Ford Society, who thought their annual conference a great success and were delighted with their visit to Swansea. One of the social highlights was a Fordian evening of food, conversation and salon privé drinks at Noah’s Yard, where delegates arriving on foot were astonished to see that they were heading for an establishment which seemed to be called ‘The Good Soldier’. When this was followed up the following night by a conference dinner at the former retreat of Dame Adelina Patti, the Ford Society were moved to observe that Swansea’s cosmopolitan delights were at least equal to those experienced at other Ford conferences in London, Glasgow, New York and Genoa.

The two plenary lectures were given by Professor Peter Marks, from the University of Sydney, and by our own Catherine Belsey, research professor in the Department of English. There were also research papers from a number of other current and recent Swansea staff including Julian Preece, Janet Harris and Barry Sheils, and international contributions from delegates who had travelled from America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Turkey and Israel.

Thanks are due to Elaine Canning and Helen Baldwin from RIAH and from Alexia Bowler, Sara Robb, Barry Shiels and Richard Robinson, for their assistance during the conference.

The centenary of The Good Soldier will be marked in 2015 by a special volume of essays in the annual series of International Ford Madox Ford Studies, which will be edited by Max Saunders and Geraint Evans.

(Image L-R:  Professor Max Saunders and Dr Sara Haslam from the Ford Society, with Dr Geraint Evans)