Eavesdropping Not On Harriet but on Scarriet:

It’s one thing to practice free love, it’s another thing to adorn one’s free love lifestyle with all sorts of ‘religious’ and ‘artistic’ allowances. A rogue without money remains a mere rogue, but a rogue with money and publishing credentials is a wonder and an inspiration and seduction which very few can resist, the pot of gold at the end of the pyramid scheme. [click here — we tend to do this on Scarriet!]

The greatest novel ever written about this “rogue with money” is called Quartet (London, 1928) by most people though it was also published a year later in America as Postures (New York, 1929) — good title, too, but much too obvious. The author was a very great artist and knew how to let us figure that out for ourselves, even if her more naive American editors didn’t quite trust her — I mean, they were queuing up for hand-outs on the Bowery as well as in the Academy!

The name of the author with the perfect white skin, the even more perfect, indeed truly porcelain style, and the devastating self-candor was Jean Rhys. The ‘hero’ of the novel, ‘Hugh Heidler,’ a “picture dealer” (yes!) in the Latin Quarter (yes!) is none other than Ford Maddox Ford (yes, Hueffner!) who was in Paris at the time editing (yes, you heard it!) The Transatlantic Review!

You wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t tell you, would you?

And friend D., and others of your ilk, if you’re following us here, which I suspect you are, I wish you’d come in and discuss some of this, it’s all so a-quiver — and Quartet is such an unashamedly great, great, great piece of writing too. And of course, the whole story also fleshes out those character traits Tom needs to keep his own huge literary-historical ur-novel humming!

I mean, the alternative is Amber Tamblyn gabbing away on Blog:Harriet! [click here]

I think we need to make this point again and again, because it’s so important…WHAT HARRIET DID. Because they took VOICES, not abuse, not spam, VOICES, and, on a whim, SILENCED THEM. [click here]


  1. thomasbrady said,

    October 14, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks, Christopher!

    Yes–Ford Madox Ford, pre-Raphaelite grandson, the early ‘Imagiste’ Kingpin, who met Pound off the boat, and then went to America and hung with Tate, Ransom, and Lowell.

    I’m sure he ‘starred’ in a number of books; I didn’t know about this one.

    Ford ran The Club, the Modernist Club to a great extent…

    And Ford also worked in the British Propaganda War Office, too…

  2. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 14, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Quartet is a savage indictment — what courage it must have taken to write it. And what is so astonishing is that your sexual metaphor works so well for Ford Maddox Ford’s character as an editor as well (he cultivated the very young, very vulnerable Jean Rhys’ own writing on the couch with his wife looking on!). It’s fascinating, Jean Rhys’ account, because it so draws you into a poisoned network of influence, inflation and manipulation. Everything you’ve ever wanted to suspect about this man is right there in the novel. Yet there’s no bitterness at all — just hurt!

    Oh my, just thinking about it!


  3. thomasbrady said,

    October 14, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Oh, man…I just got twittered by Ford Madox Ford!

    Ford was also the model for Braddocks in Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” The guy knew everyone…

    I read Jean Rhys in school, ‘Good Morning, Midnight.’

    That book was published in 1939, the year of Ford’s death. After that, she dropped out of sight for many years.