Ford Madox Ford spent his last years in the south of France, near Toulon. In Provence (1935), written four years before his death, he explores both the place and the idea of it: 'not a country nor the home of a race, but a frame of mind'. Suffused ...
with a northern European's love for 'the Roman province that lies beneath the sun', Provence evokes scents of rosemary and thyme in the dry air, games of boules amid shadows of ancient ruins, the food and flinty local wines. Part memoir, part travel narrative, part history of the region, Provence displays Ford's wise, beguiling curiosity. Humorous, informed digressions take in the Albigensian heresy, bull-fighting, a favourite recipe for bouillabaisse, Henry James and Ellen Terry, the Troubadours and much else. Over the gaiety looms the coming barbarism, the 'fixed bayonets, machine guns, uniforms and arresting fists', against which Ford's Provence is a fragile, precious hope for civilised values. This edition is based on the authoritative 1935 Lippincott edition and includes the original illustrations by Ford's companion, the outstanding American artist Biala.