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Writing disenchantmentBritish First World War prose, 1914-30$
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Andrew Frayn

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089220

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089220.001.0001

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Sagas and series, 1924–1928

Sagas and series, 1924–1928

(p.163) 4 Sagas and series, 1924–1928
Writing disenchantment

Andrew Frayn

Manchester University Press

The novel series of Ford Madox Ford and R. H. Mottram show clearly the development of disenchantment in the latter part of the post-war decade. Both write between the Victorian and the modern, demonstrating a loyalty to the realist form but also engaging with new literary metaphors and techniques. Ford’s Parade’s End (1924-8) and R. H. Mottram’s The Spanish Farm Trilogy (1924-7) both feature a bureaucrat protagonist, the quintessential modern figure emblematising the impact of mechanisation and mass culture on individuals and social structures. Both adapt the family saga form: Ford uses subtle time shifts, while Mottram’s narratives intersect through a single location. Contextual links are made with contemporary philosophies and scientific discoveries about time and space. Both series highlight the intensification of disenchantment, and in particular Ford’s Last Post (1928) is an indictment of post-war decline in Britain.

Keywords:   Modernism, Middlebrow, Spatial analysis, Ford Madox Ford, R. H. Mottram, Novel series, Sagas

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