This paper explores representations of Englishness in Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End, identifying in particular a taciturn, monoglossic form of pre-Great War Englishness that is threatened by the cacophonous, heteroglossic post-War world. Through close formal analysis of "noise" in Ford's tetralogy, framed by an historicist reading of the socio-political contexts of the First World War, this paper demonstrates how Parade's End simultaneously elegises a "stiff-upper-lip" Englishness while marking such reticence as an obsolete mode of thinking that is incompatible with modernity. In contrast to criticism that identifies The Last Post, the final novel in the tetralogy, as a return to or rebirth of a "true" form of Englishness, this paper argues that Englishness continues to be problematized at the tetralogy's close. Ford's work reveals an Englishness irrevocably infiltrated by the noise of modernity; pre-War Englishness becomes a fantasy, idealized but unsustainable. By analyzing Ford's representations of Englishness, this paper gives insight into how national identity is mythologized, constructed, and restructured during moments of historical crisis.
Morris, Rowan, "Wee Whizz Bang: Englishness and Noise in Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End" (2014). 2014 Undergraduate Awards. 11.