Some Do Not . . . , 1924

(Great Characters in Literature)

Christopher Tietjens

Christopher Tietjens (TEE-jehns), the younger son of a Yorkshire squire, a man with old-fashioned values. He is faithful to his adulterous wife and loyal to his friends. He loans money to Vincent Macmaster and even permits him to take credit for his own brilliant statistical analyses. After he falls in love with Valentine Wannop, Christopher still insists that his wife, not he, must institute divorce proceedings. Although he has a desk job in London, Christopher insists on going to France to serve in the war. Sent home after being wounded, he finally asks Valentine to become his mistress, but they part before their relationship can be consummated.

Sylvia Tietjens

Sylvia Tietjens, Christopher’s wife, a beautiful, heartless woman who remains physically attracted by her husband, though she hates him for his nobility and is determined to break him. She spends her life slandering her husband and seducing other men.

Valentine Wannop

Valentine Wannop, an intelligent, idealistic, and unselfish young woman. She gets to know Christopher when, appealing to his chivalry, she convinces him to drive a horse-cart in which a fellow demonstrator is escaping from the police. On the way home, the two get lost. The fact that they spent the night together becomes the basis for rumors that they are lovers. Valentine’s reputation also suffers because, as a...

(The entire section is 410 words.)

No More Parades, 1925

(Great Characters in Literature)

Christopher Tietjens

Christopher Tietjens, an army captain in charge of almost three thousand men. He bears his responsibilities bravely, exhibiting compassion as well as self-control. When Sylvia appears at the front, he is patient. He even spends some time in a hotel with her. When he attacks a man who enters their hotel room, evidently unaware of his identity as Sylvia’s lover, it is Christopher who is disgraced.

Sergeant-Major Cowley

Sergeant-Major Cowley, an elderly Englishman, Christopher’s right hand and one of his greatest admirers. Later a second lieutenant, he joins his old captain on Armistice Day.

Captain Mackenzie

Captain Mackenzie, Macmaster’s nephew, who clings to sanity with Christopher’s help. He also appears on Armistice Day, still a little mad.

Sylvia Tietjens

Sylvia Tietjens, who appears at the front to see Christopher and to demand money and property. She turns General Campion against her husband by insisting that he is a Socialist.

A Man Could Stand Up, 1926

(Great Characters in Literature)

Christopher Tietjens

Christopher Tietjens, who continues to do his duty in the most horrible conditions. After narrowly escaping death, he returns to England. No one will give him a government post, and he is reduced to selling his books and furniture. On Armistice Day, some of his men find him and insist on celebrating with him.

Valentine Wannop

Valentine Wannop, a physical education instructor who is called into the school office in the midst of the Armistice Day festivities. Lady Macmaster, Sir Vincent’s wife, has called to let Valentine know where Christopher is and, incidentally, to inform the schoolmistress about her bad character. Ignoring the schoolmistress’s well-meant advice, Valentine quits her job and goes to Christopher.

The Last Post, 1928

(Great Characters in Literature)

Sir Mark Tietjens

Sir Mark Tietjens, who is bedridden after a stroke. He has not said a word since learning that the Allies would not occupy Germany. Shortly before he dies, he speaks to Valentine, giving her the reassurance about the future she so desperately needs.

Marie Léonie Rioter, Lady Tietjens

Marie Léonie Rioter, Lady Tietjens, formerly Sir Mark’s mistress, now his wife. She nurses him devotedly.

Valentine Wannop

Valentine Wannop, who now lives with Christopher and Mark. Strengthened by her pregnancy, Valerie stands up to Sylvia.

Christopher Tietjens

Christopher Tietjens, who is trying desperately to make a living as a furniture dealer.

Sylvia Tietjens

Sylvia Tietjens, who has decided to divorce Christopher and marry General Campion. She remains curious about Valentine and Christopher. First she sends her son to spy on them, then she goes herself. Perhaps at last feeling a trifle guilty, she leaves, denying that she meant any harm to Valentine and the child.

Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*England. These novels trace the devastating impact of World War I on England, emphasizing the sharp division between pre-and postwar conditions. Ford Madox Ford represents prewar England as a country on the verge of chaos, with only nationalistic illusions maintaining a semblance of order. The war destroys those illusions, and the postwar changes in British culture are represented by the decline of the Tietjens family from their upper-class position as wealthy, landed gentry.


Groby. Yorkshire country estate of the Tietjens family and the postwar setting for The Last Post, the concluding novel in the series. The estate’s main house is notable for the gigantic Groby Great Tree that has grown into the structure of the house. After the war, the estate is rented to Americans who have no respect for the history behind it, except from a tourist’s perspective. When the Americans try to have Groby Great Tree removed, they do significant damage to the entire structure of the house. These dramatic changes at Groby symbolize the decline in power and authority of the British gentry in the aftermath of the war.


*London. Capital of Great Britain, in which Tietjens recuperates with Sylvia at the end of Some Do Not . . . Sylvia moves within London’s elite society while Tietjens is stationed in France, and Christopher’s older brother Mark works in the War...

(The entire section is 581 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Agenda 27, no. 4, and 28, no. 1 (Winter, 1989; Spring, 1990). A double issue devoted to essays on Ford’s fiction by twenty-eight different critics.

Cassell, Richard A., ed. Critical Essays on Ford Madox Ford. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1987. An excellent collection of essays, most focusing on The Good Soldier but with significant attention paid to Parade’s End.

Mizener, Arthur. The Saddest Story. New York: World Publishing, 1971. The definitive biography of Ford, a long and thorough study that includes an appendix with a separate discussion of Parade’s End.

Moore, Gene M. “The Tory in a Time of Change: Social Aspects of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End.” Twentieth Century Literature 28 (Spring, 1982): 48-69. A discussion of the ways in which the novel reflects Ford’s views of the dramatic changes inflicted on English society by World War I.

Sniton, Ann Barr. Ford Madox Ford and the Voice of Uncertainty. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984. Studies Ford’s style in detail, showing how its hesitancy and ambiguity reflect Ford’s ambivalent attitude toward his times.