It is difficult not to feel that he was a bit of an old rogue,' Alan Judd confesses about his impressions of Ford Madox Ford. Given the material in this biography one can only agree. Ford was an incorrigible philanderer who charmed a succession of women by his urbanity and humour, and his eccentric yet civilised manners proved equally disarming to men. 'He is fairish, fat, about forty,' D H Lawrence recalled of their first meeting, 'and the kindest man on earth.'
On a picnic in Provence, Ford's party of fifteen consumed no fewer than sixty-one bottles of local plonk, and as Alan Judd has discovered while researching this book, most of the people who met Ford were too drunk to remember what happened. The result is a stream of affectionate anecdotes