Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ford Madox Ford and the page 99 test

"Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you." --Ford Madox Ford

Ford died in 1939, so I couldn't ask him to put his novel The Good Soldier to the Page 99 Test.

But I was able to get a leading Ford scholar --
Max Saunders, Professor of English at King's College, London, and chairman of the Ford Madox Ford Society -- to do the job. Saunders applied the test to the Everyman’s Library edition of The Good Soldier (1989), which he co-edited.

Special thanks on this project go to several bookies who made efforts to track down a scan of page 99 from that edition, especially the reference library staff at UCLA.

Check out Saunders' analysis and other entries at the Page 99 Test.

--Marshal Zeringue