Losing and Finding Balance: Food as Fordian Diagnostic

Haslam, Sara (2022). Losing and Finding Balance: Food as Fordian Diagnostic. Last Post: A literary journal from the Ford Madox Ford Society, 1(5) pp. 47–58.


In Ford Madox Ford's The Fifth Queen (1905-1908), the best-selling historical fiction trilogy, his attention to period detail includes diet. Ford's Henry VIII is a man out of balance, partly as a result of his over-consumption. In this short article, I use Ford's depiction of the Tudor court as an introduction to his views on the health and other benefits of eating well. These extend to contemporary diet fads (Fletcher's, eg, which recommended chewing each mouthful 32 times and of which Henry James, among many others, was a fan), methods of food production and the politics of land management. Few foods, in Ford's mind, had more power to benefit and heal than garlic.

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