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The March of Literature: From Confucius' Day to Our Own (British Literature Series) Paperback – July 1, 1994

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Product Details

  • Series: British Literature Series
  • Paperback: 878 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press (July 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564780511
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564780515
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 5.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Published in 1938 near the end of Ford's life, this work ranges over literature from Confucius's day to his own. Ford's goal was to explain the value of the world's literature to lay readers, rather than to his fellow scholars. This first paperback edition includes an introduction by novelist Alexander Theroux.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"In substance it is so accurate and in style so exhilarating that one realizes that here is Mr. Ford's own book of literature, his own and easy command of it, and, while it commemorates his generation's memory, it ought to provide a new evocation for thousands of readers who are still alert and bound to read for themselves." -- New York Times 10-9-38

"[The March of Literature] is stippled with sharp, knowing observations and phrases, worth remembering. . . . One of its particular strengths lies in the emphasis on earlier writing . . . and it should help inspire modern readers to go exploring in the literature of the past." -- The Washington Post Book World 8-7-94

"[The March of Literature] reveals as much about Ford himself as the writers he portrays. Though it's a scholarly work that often soars with eloquence, the style is earnest and conversational. Ford had strong, quirky opinions and biases. . . . A tour of the mind that students would line up for." -- Chicago Tribune Books 4-17-94

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Duvernois TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
This was Ford Madox Ford's attempt to lay out the panorama of literature from ancient to modern times for the general readership. It's largely forgotten today, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it's still in print.

Ford was a champion of new, experimental work in his time. That would be the poets and novelists of Modernity as we see them now. Beyond the writers of his day, he also felt that there was importance in both the popular and obscure works of earlier generations. This book lays out his opinions and insights on many centuries of (despite the subtitle) mostly western literature.

This is probably not the preferred "general survey of world literature" today, but for literature folks this is a wonderful glimpse of our culture's, and Ford's personal, take on literature before the second world war. You'll certainly disagree at times, and some of his stances have not aged well, but what is here is well reasoned and interesting.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Red Nichols on May 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
A bit of a charlatan and a bit of a blowhard, Ford is nonethess one of the more attractive figures of 20th Century literature. He's fun to read, almost in spite of his rambling style and at times almost incoherent attempts at analysis. There's something lovable about him that surfaces in the conversational tone of this book, an obvious attempt to make money during his low-income twilight years. His wanderings thru ancient Chinese and Hebrew writings don't follow any recognizable thread and support no clear thesis. . . but what the heck?
Nevertheless, he's quite strong on later written prose (after all, he wrote a terrific novel in The Good Soldier). . This is a book to be sampled in small bites, not one to be read cover to cover. It's loaded with semi-precious gems and I'm happy to have it in my library.
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