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Screening The Good Soldier

Harris, Janet 2015. Screening The Good Soldier. In: Sanders, Max and Haslam, Sara eds. Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier: Centenary Essays, Vol. 14. International Ford Madox Ford Studies, Brill, pp. 103-116. (10.1163/9789004299177)
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As a reader I took The Good Soldier at face value, accepting Ford’s opening statement that ‘This is the saddest story I have ever heard,’ and thought the television adaptation was about silence and what was not said or heard. However, from the point of view of a television director, it soon became clear that many of the factors which make this novel a modern novel and many of the techniques which make it a great novel also make it eminently suitable for television. In this chapter I argue that Ford understood that to see was not to know, and like a camera Dowell ‘sees’ events, but has no knowledge of them. The camera might witness events, but without context or history, both personal and general, the events are just pictures. We see them, but don’t understand them. Television enables the visual enhancement of Ford’s portrayal of a rigid society governed by an imposed and self-inflicted discourse of societal propriety and Victorian morality, but the camera also becomes another voice in addition to that of Dowell and the protagonists. It takes on the modernist premise of Ford that there is no one reality to an event, but that reality is different to each interpretation and shows how sight itself can influence an interpretation.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Publisher: Brill
ISBN: 9789004299177
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Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:38

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