The Good Soldier
By Ford Madox Ford

A Note on the Text
of The Good Soldier

Copy-text for this World Wide Web edition is the first book edition, first published by The Bodley Head in 1915 (London and New York) and which is reprinted (reset, but without new copyright) by Penguin Books, 1946.

In the interest of presenting the best edition of this text we have carefully compared it to the Norton Critical Edition (edited by Martin Stannard, 1995, ISBN0-393-96634-8). We have followed Stannard's suggestions in only a few instances, namely to add blank lines between paragraphs in two instances in Part IV, present in the typescript but not in the printed work. We agree the breaks were intended and are useful.

We have made some few changes in the punctuation to promote readability by a modern American audience. Quotation marks represented in the copy-text as British inverted commas have been encoded as the HTML " entity. (Stannard also uses double quotes.) However, we have retained the British practice of including the second quote mark inside the terminal full stop, rather than outside the period, as in American practice. Stannard provides evidence (214) that Ford did his own typing this way.

Dash punctuation marks have been changed from the Penguin style of an en dash surrounded by spaces to the typewriter double subtraction sign with no spaces. When a diaresis ends a sentence or clause we have used four periods separated by a space each, while the copy-text uses three. In this respect we agree with Stannard.

The misprinted phrase in the Penguin edition, "much to much" has been restored to "much too much." (page 132 line 6)

Stannard provides an elaborate critical apparatus (194-216) which gives many textual variants and shows some of the development of the text through a few manuscript passages later deleted. It is our judgment that none of these details need be incorporated in the text for an ordinary reader to read and appreciate it.

Perhaps more significant is Stannard's decision to punctuate the text according to the typescript instead of the copy-text we share with him. The printed edition likely incorporates the publisher's house style. As Stannard notes, there are a huge number of variants between the two: the typescript "is much looser and in keeping with Dowell's easy conversational flow...[and marks] Ford's idiosyncratic sentence structure... [of] short, verbless statements." (191) We have not chosen to follow Stannard down that long slope--the copy-text punctuation seemed consistent enough and we did not want to invent another "better" text. So we refer you to the Norton Critical Edition to see which you prefer.

Unlike our usual practice we have not cluttered up the text with hypertext footnotes to translate the Latin or tell you where Ceylon is. You may find those in the Norton edition if you need them. We don't imagine Ford would approve.

The manuscript of The Good Soldier is at Cornell University Library, New York, as well as the typescript made from Ford's dictation and own typing. The first part of the book was published in the magazine Blast, June 20, 1914, 87-97, by Wyndham Lewis, who had something to do with the editing. At that time the title given was "The Saddest Story." The author's name was given as Ford Maddox Hueffer. Ford Madox Hueffer changed his name to Ford Madox Ford in June, 1919.

The first book editions came out March 17, 1915, simultaneous in London and New York. The second American edition appeared February 24, 1927, and the second British April, 1928, both including the "Dedicatory Letter to Stella Ford."

An online edition of The Inheritors, a joint work by Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Hueffer published in 1901, can be found online at . Please use our /Search/ page to find more Ford material on the WWW, or to locate a book in a library or bookstore.

If you are interested in reading more, or are just baffled, see the critical articles and bibliography in Stannard's edition. Please don't send e-mail pleas for help in writing term papers as we are not literary experts.