Tory-Papists and Ford’s The Good Soldier

in Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier
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This essay discusses Ford’s frustration with the religious and political views of the English and how it influences his portrayal of the English in The Good Soldier. The essay examines Ford’s political writings and memoirs in which he explicitly distinguishes between English “Roman Catholics,” strict dogmatic moralists like Hilaire Belloc who viewed Catholicism in pseudo-Calvinistic terms, and “Tory-Papists” like himself, who embraced the influence of European culture on Catholic aesthetic sensibility and saw the Church as an inclusive spiritual family. The Good Soldier represents Ford’s attempt to explore what happens to a society that has no sense of Catholicism and that the narrator of The Good Soldier, Dowell, a culturally and spiritually obtuse American, gives voice to Ford’s inherited Catholic sympathies.

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