Brief History of the Published Text of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End

1. The Title

Ford’s sequence of novels about Christopher Tietjens’ world and war is now generally known as Parade’s End. The novels were first published between 1924 and 1928, and only appeared under this collective title in 1950, in the first one-volume edition, published in the USA by Alfred A. Knopf. Ford and his publishers occasionally referred to the series as the ‘Tietjens Saga’, but Ford himself proposed ‘Parades End’, writing to his agent:
I do not like the title Tietjens Saga – because in the first place “Tietjens” is a difficult name for purchasers to pronounce and booksellers would almost inevitably persuade readers that they mean the Forsyte Sage with great damage to my sales. I recognize the value of Messrs Duckworth’s publicity and see no reason why they should not get the advantage of it by using those words as a subtitle beneath another general title which I am included to suggest should be Parades End so that Messrs Duckworth could advertise it as
[Tietjens’ Saga]
[Ford to Eric Pinker, 17 Aug. 1930: Letters of Ford Madox Ford, ed. Richard M. Ludwig (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965), p. 197. The previous year Ford described No Enemy as consisting of as ‘the actual stuff out of which my immortal War Saga was built’ (letter to Ruth Kerr, 12 Nov. 1929: Carl A. Kroch Library, Cornell University). And in 1933 a blurb probably written with Ford’s advice if not his typewriter argues: ‘Mr. Ford continues in The Rash Act the contemporary history that he began with the Tietjens Saga’.
However, all the single-volume editions of the sequence have used a variant of this, with an apostrophe, as the overall title: Parade’s End.

2. Tetralogy or Trilogy?

When Grahame Greene edited the first four volumes of the Bodley Head Ford Madox Ford (London, 1962-3), he controversially excluded Last Post from Parade’s End. He not only judged the final novel as inferior to the others, but cited the same letter of Ford’s, in which he says: ‘I strongly wish to omit the Last Post from the edition. I do not like the book and have never liked it and always intended the series to end with A Man Could Stand Up’. However, Greene didn’t quote the following sentences, in which Ford backtracks slightly, saying he was ‘ready to be guided’ by Duckworth about the decision. Apart from the fact that he wrote the fourth book, which is hardly evidence of an intention that it should end with the third, there is a letter written exactly a year earlier in which Ford includes Last Post in the list of books he wants in his Collected Edition. His subsequent comments continue fluctuating. It was ‘the TIETJENS tetralogy’ in 1932. In 1934 he wanted to republish ‘the three Tietjens books — not the fourth — in one volume’. In 1936 he approved a blurb which described the four books as an ‘immense tetralogy’. But in 1937 he was considering republishing only the first three. As Howard Erskine-Hill puts it, ‘Ford was in two minds’. This ambivalence was apparent even as Ford was publishing Last Post. In the ‘Dedicatory Letter to Isabel Paterson’ He writes that he would have preferred to end the series uncertainly on the Armistice, but Paterson and the public demanded ‘an ending — if possible a happy ending’ (p. [v]). Thus Ford himself characteristically initiated the uncertainty. Nonetheless, he did write the fourth book, which can’t simply be wished away, and which the present project includes.

(Ford to Ralph Pinker, 17 Aug. 1929: Princeton; see Mizener, 590n. Ford to Ray Long, 2 July 1932: Letters, 208. Ford to Jefferson Jones (of Lippincott) 1 Jan. 193[4]: Cornell. The blurb appeared on the jacket of Lippincott’s Vive Le Roy. Ford to Cumberlege, 27 Oct. 1936, calls it ‘fairly satisfactory’: Letters, 263-64. Ford to George Keating, 23 Jan. 1937, asks him to send copies of the first three books to Ferris Greenslet, as Houghton-Mifflin were considering publishing them in one volume (Cornell). Ford to George Bye, 8 Mar. 1937, says he wants ‘to begin the collected edition with the three Tietjens books in one volume’: Ford Madox Ford Reader, ed. Sondra J. Stang (Manchester: Carcanet, 1986), pp. 504-5. Erskine-Hill, ‘Ford’s Novel Sequence’: Agenda, 27/4-28/1 (Winter 1989-Spring 1990), 53.)

3. Early Publication: UK and US Editions
The individual novels of Parade’s End were first published as follows:

i) Some Do Not . . .
UK: London: Duckworth, April 1924
US: there were two New York editions which appeared close together. The first was published by Thomas Seltzer. Ford’s bibliographer D. D. Harvey found no reviews before 18 October 1924, from which he deduced an October publication date. Seltzer sold the rights to his nephew Albert Boni, who told Harvey the Albert & Charles Boni edition followed ‘very shortly after the original publication’. However, a third printing of this gives the dates of printings as ‘September, 1924’ for the first, and ‘January, 1925’ for the second. If the September date refers to the Boni first printing, then the Seltzer edition must have been published earlier than Harvey assumed: in September or before. However, since both are produced from the same plates, ‘First Printing’ may refer to the Seltzer edition, in which case the Boni one would date from January 1925.

Ford wrote to George Keating, 23 Jan 1937: ‘the American edition is so badly proofread as in many places to be almost incomprehensible’ (Cornell).

ii) No More Parades
UK: London: Duckworth, Sept. 1925
US: New York: Albert & Charles Boni, Nov. 1925

iii) A Man Could Stand Up –
UK: London: Duckworth, Oct. 1926
US: New York: Albert & Charles Boni, Oct. 1926

iv) Last Post or The Last Post
UK: as Last Post: London: Duckworth, Jan. 1928. The first review in Harvey’s bibliography is 26 January, but there was at least one considerably earlier, by Percival Hinton: ‘The Week’s Fiction: Tietjens of Groby’, Birmingham Post (3 Jan 1928).

US: as The Last Post. Technically the first US edition is that for The Literary Guild of America, Jan. 1928. The A. & C. Boni edition, printed from the same plates but with a variant title page, followed soon after. The first review found by Harvey was 15 January, but there is at least one predating that: Hansen, Harry, ‘The First Reader: The Ford Saga’, World (New York) (10 January 1928).

Harvey (p. 70) describes some of the differences between the UK and US editions, besides the title. His dating of them leads him to assume that Ford made revisions for the UK edition. However, the existence of earlier reviews makes publication appear fairly simultaneous, and necessitates study of the manuscript evidence to determine which text Ford revised.

4. Reprints
The Duckworth edition of Some Do Not . . . was reprinted in 1924, 1927 and 1929. The Duckworth editions of all four novels were listed as reprinted in 1935.

There were cheaper reprints of the US editions of the first three novels by Grosset and Dunlap, as follows:
Some Do Not . . . (1927)
No More Parades (1928)
A Man Could Stand Up – (1928)
Presumably the Wall Street Crash prevented the reprinting of Last Post.

The novels were republished individually by Penguin in 1948 – when the aftermath of the Second World War perhaps made them seem newly relevant – each with the same Preface by R. A. Scott-James. As mentioned above, only the first three novels were included in The Bodley Head Ford Madox Ford, ed. Graham Greene, as volumes III and IV (London, 1963).

The important Dedicatory letters Ford wrote for the first editions of the last three novels were collected in the edition of his War Prose, ed. Max Saunders (Manchester: Carcanet, 1999).

A two-volume paperback was published in the US. Parade’s End. Volume I: Some Do Not . . ., No More Parades. With an afterword my Arthur Mizener. New York, New American Library, 1964. 520pp. (A Signet Classic). Volume II: A Man Could Stand Up — and The Last Post: Two Complete Novels from Ford Madox Ford’s Four-Part Masterpiece Parade’s End. New York, New American Library/Signet, 1964. Mizener’s afterword, pp. 337-50. In the UK there were Sphere Books paperbacks of the first three volumes in 1969.

5. Single-volume editions: Parade’s End

The first single-volume edition of all four novels (New York: Knopf, 1950), with an introduction by Robie Macauley, was reissued in 1961, and published in paperback by Vintage (New York, 1979) and as a Penguin Modern Classics paperback in the UK in 1982. This text was reproduced photographically to produce the editions by Carcanet (Manchester, 1997) with an afterword by Gerald Hammond, and by Penguin (London, 2002) with a new introduction by Max Saunders. The text was reset for the Everyman’s Library edition, introduced by Malcolm Bradbury (London, 1992).

The text that appears in the Knopf/Vintage/Penguin/Carcanet editions was the only single-volume one for over forty years, and remains the most readily available. Page references on this web site are thus to this text unless otherwise indicated.