Prior to the publication of The Good Soldier in 1915, Ford Madox Ford experimented with his prose and storytelling. He was, by then, a renowned promoter of literature, having established The English Review. With The Good Soldier, he finally found the correct voice and an assured prose. It would also go on to be a classic of the unreliable narrator. The book also had some memorable lines and I have rounded them up. Here are some of these quotable lines from Ford Madox Ford’s most renowned work.

Do check out my complete review of this literary work by clicking here.


“In one’s own home it is as if little, innate sympathies draw one to particular chairs that seem to enfold one in an embrace or take one along particular streets that seem friendly when others may be hostile. And, believe me, that feeling is a very important part of life.”

~ Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

“So I shall just imagine myself for a fortnight or so at one side of the fireplace of a country cottage, with a sympathetic soul opposite me. And I shall go on talking, in a low voice while the sea sounds in the distance and overhead the great black flood of wind polishes the bright stars.”

~ Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

“With each new woman that a man is attracted to there appears to come a broadening of the outlook, or, if you like, an acquiring of new territory. A turn of the eyebrow, a tone of the voice, a queer characteristic gesture – all these things, and it is these things that cause to arise the passion of love.”

~ Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

“Is the whole thing a folly and a mockery? Am I no better than a eunuch or is the proper man- the man with the right to existence – a raging stallion forever neighing after his neighbor’s womankind? I don’t know. And there is nothing to guide us. And if everything is so nebulous about a matter so elementary as the morals of sex, what is there to guide us in the more subtle morality of all other personal contacts, associations, and activities?”

~ Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

“Is there then any terrestrial paradise where, amidst the whispering of the olive-leaves, people can be with whom they like and have what they like and take their ease in shadows and in coolness? Or all men’s lives like the lives of us good people – like the lives of Ashburnhams, of the Dowells, of the Ruffords – broken, tumultuous, agonized, and unromantic lives, periods punctuated by screams, by imbecilities, by deaths, by agonies? Who the devil knows?”

~ Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

“In all matrimonial associations there is, I believe, one constant factor – a desire to deceive the person with whom one lives as to some weak spot in one’s character or in one’s career. For it is intolerable to live constantly with one human being who perceives one’s small meannesses. It is really death to do so – that is why so many marriages turn out unhappily.”

~ Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

“The instance of honesty that one comes across in this world are just as amazing as the instances of dishonesty. After forty-five years of mixing with one’s kind, one ought to have acquired the habit of being able to know something about one’s fellow beings. But one doesn’t.”

~ Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

“Mind, I am not preaching anything contrary to accepted morality. I am not advocating free love in this or any other case. Society must go on, I suppose, and society can only exist of the normal, if the virtuous, and the slightly deceitful flourish, and if the passionate, the headstrong, and the too – truthful are condemned to suicide and madness”

~ Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

“She was crying quietly; she went on to cry with long convulsive sobs. It seemed to her that everything gay, everything charming, al light, all sweetness had gone out of life. Unhappiness; unhappiness; unhappiness was all around her. She seemed to know no happy being and she herself was agonizing.”

~ Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

“But the real fierceness of desire, the real heat of a passion long continued and withering up the soul of a man, is the craving for identity with the woman that he loves. He desires to see with the same eyes, to touch with the same sense of touch, to hear with the same ears, to lose his identity, to be enveloped, to be supported. For, whatever may be said of the relation of the sexes ,there is no man who loves a woman that does not desire to come to her for the renewal of his courage, for the cutting asunder of his difficulties. And that will be the mainspring of his desire for her. We are all so afraid, we are all so alone, we all so need from the outside the assurance of our own worthiness to exist.

~ Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier