Wednesday, January 21, 2015
As The 100th Anniversary Of The First Year Of World War I (Remember The War To End All Wars) Continues ... Some Remembrances-Writers’ Corner
In say 1912, 1913, hell, even the beginning of 1914, the first few months anyway, before the war clouds got a full head of steam in the summer they all profusely professed their unmitigated horror at the thought of war, thought of the old way of doing business in the world. Yes the artists of every school but the Cubist/Fauvists/Futurists and Surrealists or those who would come to speak for those movements, those who saw the disjointedness of modern industrial society and put the pieces to paint, sculptors who put twisted pieces of metal juxtaposed to each other saw that building a mighty machine from which you had to run created many problems; writers of serious history books proving that, according to their Whiggish theory of progress, humankind had moved beyond war as an instrument of policy and the diplomats and high and mighty would put the brakes on in time, not realizing that they were all squabbling cousins; writers of serious and not so serious novels drenched in platitudes and hidden gabezo love affairs put paid to that notion in their sweet nothing words that man and woman had too much to do, too much sex to harness to denigrate themselves by crying the warrior’s cry and by having half-virgin, neat trick, maidens strewing flowers on the bloodlust streets; musicians whose muse spoke of delicate tempos and sweet muted violin concertos, not the stress and strife of the tattoos of war marches with their tinny conceits; and poets, ah, those constricted poets who bleed the moon of its amber swearing, swearing on a stack of seven sealed bibles, that they would go to the hells before touching the hair of another man. They all professed loudly (and those few who did not profess, could not profess because they were happily getting their blood rising, kept their own consul until the summer), that come the war drums they would resist the siren call, would stick to their Whiggish, Futurist, Constructionist, Cubist worlds and blast the war-makers to hell in quotes, words, chords, clanged metal, and pretty pastels. They would stay the course.
And then the war drums intensified, the people, their clients, patrons and buyers, cried out their lusts and they, they made of ordinary human clay as it turned out, poets, beautiful English poets (we will speak of American poets when they slip into war footing in 1917)like Wilfred Owens before he got religion, e.e. cummings madly driving his safety ambulance, beautiful Rupert Brookes wondering which way to go but finally joining the mob in some fated oceans, sturdy Robert Graves all blown to hell and back surviving but just surviving, French , German, Russian, Italian poets tooo all aflutter; artists, reeking of blooded fields, the battle of the Somme Muirhead Bone's nothing but a huge killing field that still speaks of small boned men, drawings, etchings that no subtle camera could make beautiful, that famous one by Picasso, another by Singer Sargent about the death trenches, about the gas, and human blindness for all to see; sculptors, chiseling monuments to the national brave even before the blood was dried before the last tear had been shed, huge memorials to the unnamed, maybe un-nameable dead dragged from some muddied trench half blown away; writers, serious and not, wrote beautiful Hemingway stuff about the scariness of war, about valor, about romance on the fly, among those women. camp-followers who have been around since men have left their homes to slaughter and maim, lots of writers speaking, after the fact about the vein-less leaders and what were they thinking, and, please, please do not forgot those Whiggish writers who once the smoke had cleared had once again put in a word about the endless line of human progress, musicians, sad, mystical, driven by national blood lusts to the high tattoo, went to the trenches to die deathless deaths in their thousands for, well, for humankind, of course, their always fate ….
In creating his acclaimed masterpiece Parade's End, Ford Madox Ford wanted the Novelist in fact to appear in his really proud position as historian of his own time . . . The 'subject' was the world as it culminated in the war. Published in four parts between 1924 and 1928, his extraordinary novel centers on Christopher Tietjens, an officer and gentleman- the last English T In creating his acclaimed masterpiece Parade's End, Ford Madox Ford wanted the Novelist in fact to appear in his really proud position as historian of his own time . . . The 'subject' was the world as it culminated in the war. Published in four parts between 1924 and 1928, his extraordinary novel centers on Christopher Tietjens, an officer and gentleman- the last English Tory-and follows him from the secure, orderly world of Edwardian England into the chaotic madness of the First World War. Against the backdrop of a world at war, Ford recounts the complex sexual warfare between Tietjens and his faithless wife Sylvia. A work of truly amazing subtlety and profundity, Parade's End affirms Graham Greene's prediction: There is no novelist of this century more likely to live than Ford Madox Ford. ...more