Tom Stoppard on Ford Madox Ford

If you missed the BBC’s latest adaptation (they did an earlier one with Judi Dench in the 1960s) of  Parade’s End  it is still easy to find. But read the book first. Rather than being a spoiler, it sets the viewer up for more intrigue. As in: how is the scriptwriter going to handle that? Characters spend more time thinking about their relationship than actually having one, over years and years. One solution would be to cut numerous scenes shorter and shorter. Stoppard’s solution was actually to insert new ones, as he explained to Victoria Glendinning *:

” …  I had to invent scenes for the characters to tell each other things which in the novels are thought privately.” Ford’s story is not chronological. “I have made it linear, fair enough, but we hope and believe that it still has the smell of modernism. The book is quirky, the characters don’t make sense, it wrong-foots the reader about the judgments one makes about any particular character. There is a complementary feeling in Waugh’s ‘A Handful of Dust’—a masterpiece too, and there too the moral standing of the characters is refracted through their ambiguities.”

*Interview with Victoria Glendinning in http://moreintelligentlife.co.uk

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