“Of the Question of the Sex-Instinct I Know Very Little”: The Good Soldier and the Discourse of Indecency

in Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier
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This essay reads Dowell’s narration in the context of the discourses of obscenity and indecency contemporary with the publication of The Good Soldier. Like the modernist landmarks Ulysses and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Good Soldier treats the theme of adultery. Yet both Ulysses and Lady Chatterley’s Lover were at the center of landmark obscenity trials because of their frank and controversial representations of sexuality. By comparison, The Good Soldier seems to willfully avoid such explicitness, favoring euphemism and circumlocution as John Dowell narrates the complicated series of sexual liaisons that form the novel’s plot.

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