British novelist and critic.
Ford's mother was the daughter of the Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown; his father was a German music critic, Francis Hueffer, who moved to England in 1869. Ford was educated at University College School and soon showed evidence of his talent as a writer. He wrote studies of his grandfather (1896) and of Rossetti (1902), published poems and essays, and collaborated with Joseph Conrad on three books, including Romance (1903). He also founded (1908), but could not afford to retain control of, the English Review.
Ford is best remembered as a novelist. Among his earlier works was the fine historical trilogy about Catherine Howard – The Fifth Queen (1906), Privy Seal (1907), and The Fifth Queen Crowned (1908). One of his most highly regarded novels is The Good Soldier (1915). In World War I he was an officer in the Welch Regiment and was badly gassed in France; these experiences are drawn upon in his tetralogy Parade's End, comprising the so-called ‘Tietjens’ novels: Some Do Not (1924), No More Parades (1925), A Man Could Stand Up (1926), and Last Post (1928).
Scandal afflicted Ford in 1910 when his wife sued him for restitution of conjugal rights. Later (1931) she sued a newspaper that had called Ford's associate, Miss Violet Hunt, ‘Mrs Hueffer’. After World War I Ford did not make a permanent home anywhere for long. He lived for a time in Paris where he offered much encouragement to younger writers, including Hemingway, whose work he published in the Transatlantic Review, which he founded in 1924. Near the end of his life he lectured in the USA, returning to France to die at Deauville.