I started this blog last summer with a post publicising Parade’s End: A Celebration, an event held at London’s Institute of English Studies in September 2012 which I co-organised with Ashley Chantler. Back then, I had intended to follow my first post with others about my research and related issues. However, the time between then and now slipped away and the PE celebration post remained my only contribution to this site… until now.
Last year was something of a transitional year for me. It marked the culmination of two major Ford Madox Ford-related projects. The first was my book, Ford Madox Ford and the Misfit Moderns, which was published by Palgrave Macmillan in September. The second was the three-day international academic conference Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End: Modernism and the First World War which Ashley and I also co-organised.
Although Ford remains a significant research interest (I am currently co-editing three collections of essays on Ford and his writing), the primary focus of my research has now shifted. I’m planning, therefore, to use this blog as a space to sketch out new ideas and to think ‘out loud’, particularly in relation to my new book-project on money, modernity and trust. This project examines works written between 1890-1990 in which the problematics of trust are both thematised and formally-, linguistically-, and structurally-inscribed. The authors discussed will include George Gissing, Oscar Wilde, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Evelyn Waugh, Jean Rhys, Thomas Pynchon, B. S. Johnson, Harold Pinter, and Angela Carter, among others.
2012 saw an even more significant transition, however: as my wife Ruth’s maternity leave came to an end in April we decided that we would both work part-time and share childcare responsibilities between us. Our son, who is now approaching his second birthday, was nine months old at the time and so for the last fourteen months I’ve spent part of my week taking care of a small person and the rest in the world of academe. This incredible, exhausting, bewildering, at times isolating, at times frustrating, and yet inexpressibly rewarding experience has transformed my life (which had, of course, already transformed utterly when I became a father in 2011). I would like, then, to try to write something here about the last year-and-a-bit and some thoughts it has prompted about childcare, gender, equality and work in British society today.
So, watch this space…