Concentrating on characterizations of Catholicism in The Good Soldier, “Fordian Confiteor” argues that Ford Madox Ford’s characters turn to religious stereotypes and unauthorized forms of confession in a disastrous attempt to secure themselves against monumental changes in contemporary society and politics. Demonstrating how John Dowell’s impressionistic narrative signals the dangers of social disengagement and political isolation, the essay also addresses the novel’s historical allusions to the English Reformation and the latent correlations between characters’ behavior and the antimodernist stance of the Catholic Church during the opening decades of the twentieth century.
Fordian Confiteor: Catholicism and Social Disengagement in The Good Soldier
Elizabeth Steedley received her PhD in English from Johns Hopkins University in 2015. The acting director of the Johns Hopkins Writing Center, she is currently working on a project that examines the relationship between the duration of the World Wars and anti-Bergsonian characterizations of time in English and American satires.
Elizabeth Steedley; Fordian Confiteor: Catholicism and Social Disengagement in The Good Soldier. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 June 2015; 61 (2): 173–208. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-3112192
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