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.

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