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Southern novelist Caroline Gordon maintained a friendship with English editor and author Ford Madox Ford that figures prominently in the literary history of the twentieth century. Ford was Gordon's generous mentor, showing an interest in her work that helped build her confidence as a writer. Gordon, for her part, helped promote Ford to an American audience. The present publication of the close correspondence between them throws a new, important light on their relationship.
These letters, all but one of which have never before been published, cover the years 1930-1939--from Gordon's completion of her first novel, Penhally, to Ford's death. Reflecting the period in which they enjoyed their closest contact, the correspondence testifies to the depth and breadth of the mutual esteem in which they held each other. The correspondence touches on many facets of both literary life and life itself, offering unusual glimpses into the unconventional world in which Gordon and Ford moved. The letters reveal much about the economic hardships of writers and artists during the Depression era, and the two authors exchange advice on how to make a decent living from their work. Gordon's letters in particular give vivid and often amusing insights into the life of a struggling writer. Gordon and Ford also comment on a number of well-known authors and editors of their day--including Katherine Anne Porter, Maxwell Perkins, Robert Penn Warren, Ellen Glasgow, and William Faulkner. More important, they discuss each other's work and exchange thoughts on literary technique. On the informal side, they share their passion for raising vegetables and chickens.
Brita Lindberg-Seyersted's introduction provides a biographical and historical context for the correspondence, and her annotations to the letters identify the many literary personages and allusions they include. This carefully assembled volume enhances our appreciation of both of these authors and helps illuminate the modernist era of Anglo-American literature.
The Editor: Brita Lindberg-Seyersted is professor of American literature at the University of Oslo. Among her other books is Pound/Ford: The Story of a Literary Friendship.