Ford Madox Ford (né Joseph Leopold Ford Hermann Madox Hueffer 1873–1939) was born in Wimbeldon, London. His grandfather was the artist Ford Madox Brown, after whom Ford was named. After the First World War, he changed his last name from Hueffer to Ford as it sounded less ’German.’
In 1908, soon after leaving his wife, Ford founded the literary magazine The English Review with his lover, the English writer Violet Hunt, and published works by writers such as T.S. Eliot, H.G. Wells, and William Butler Yeats. Throughout his lifetime he lived with several lovers, notably the artist Stella Bowen (to whom he dedicated this novel when it was reprinted in 1927). His friendships spanned the English Canon, from Joseph Conrad to Ezra Pound to Ernest Hemingway (Braddocks from The Sun Also Rises is based on Ford) to Ella Williams, who credits Ford with suggesting she change her name to Jean Rhys. (Their friendship became an affair and ended acrimoniously. She wrote her novel Quartet based on their time together.)
His literary career was prolific: essayist, literary critic, poet, war propagandist, and biographer, but he is now most well known for his novels, including The Fifth Queen trilogy (1906–1908), based on the life of Katharine Howard; The Good Soldier (1915), and the Parade’s End tetralogy (1924–28). In later years Ford taught at Olivet College in Michigan. He died in Deauville, France, in 1939 after a brief illness.