The modernist writer who became a Sussex smallholder and reached for new ways of writing about place
In the first spring after the Great War, Ford moved to a derelict cottage between Pulborough and Storrington, cleaned the well, planted an ambitious garden, waited for his partner Stella Bowen to arrive, and tried to work out what kind of writer he was now. He did not feel the same as the man who had published The Good Soldier in 1915. Wanting to understand what the war had done to his sense of landscape and to his passion for rural life, he summoned fragmentary memories and studied them from the perspective of his new Sussex home.
This talk by Professor Alexandra Harris will follow Ford and Bowen as they move from ‘Red Ford’ to a larger smallholding on Bedham Hill, asking what interested them, what they knew of local history, how Ford wrote and re-wrote these places, and how why they went from a ‘nook’ to a view that seemed to show them ‘the kingdoms of the earth’.
In the last part of the talk, Alexandra will outline the larger project of which this forms a part.