Essays On Em Forster

E. M. Forster

E. M. Forster, by Dora Carrington
c. 1924–1925

BornEdward Morgan Forster
(1879-01-01)1 January 1879
Marylebone, Middlesex, England
Died7 June 1970(1970-06-07) (aged 91)
Coventry, Warwickshire, England
OccupationWriter (novels, short stories, essays)
NationalityEnglish
EducationTonbridge School
Alma materKing's College, Cambridge
Period1901–1970
GenreRealism, symbolism, modernism
SubjectClass division, gender, homosexuality

Signature

Edward Morgan ForsterOMCH (1 January 1879 – 7 June 1970) was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist. Many of his novels examined class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society, notably A Room with a View (1908), Howards End (1910), and A Passage to India (1924), which brought him his greatest success. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 16 different years.[1][2]

Early years[edit]

Forster was born into an Anglo-Irish and Welsh family at 6 Melcombe Place, Dorset Square, London NW1, in a building that no longer exists. He was the only child of Alice Clara "Lily" (née Whichelo) and Edward Morgan Llewellyn Forster, an architect. His name was officially registered as Henry Morgan Forster, but at his baptism he was accidentally named Edward Morgan Forster.[3] To distinguish him from his father, he was always called Morgan. His father died of tuberculosis on 30 October 1880, before Morgan's second birthday.[4] In 1883, Forster and his mother moved to Rooksnest, near Stevenage, Hertfordshire. This house served as a model for Howards End, because he had fond memories of his childhood there. Among Forster's ancestors were members of the Clapham Sect, a social reform group within the Church of England.

He inherited £8,000 (£802,290 as of 2015 of which £1,735,000 were in sovereigns [1883 tr.oz.])[5] from his paternal great-aunt Marianne Thornton (daughter of the abolitionist Henry Thornton), who died on 5 November 1887.[6] The money was enough to live on and enabled him to become a writer. He attended Tonbridge School in Kent, as a day boy. The theatre at the school has been named in his honour.[7]

At King's College, Cambridge, between 1897 and 1901,[8] he became a member of a discussion society known as the Apostles (formally named the Cambridge Conversazione Society). They met in secret, and discussed their work on, and about, philosophical and moral questions. Many of its members went on to constitute what came to be known as the Bloomsbury Group, of which Forster was a peripheral member in the 1910s and 1920s. There is a famous recreation of Forster's Cambridge at the beginning of The Longest Journey. The Schlegel sisters of Howards End are based to some degree on Vanessa and Virginia Stephen.[9]

After leaving university, he travelled in continental Europe with his mother. They moved to Weybridge, Surrey where he wrote all six of his novels. In 1914, he visited Egypt, Germany and India with the classicist Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, by which time he had written all but one of his novels.[10] In the First World War, as a conscientious objector, Forster volunteered for the International Red Cross, and served in Alexandria, Egypt.

Forster spent a second spell in India in the early 1920s as the private secretary to Tukojirao III, the Maharajah of Dewas. The Hill of Devi is his non-fictional account of this period. After returning to London from India, he completed his last novel, A Passage to India (1924), for which he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. He also edited Eliza Fay's (1756–1816) letters from India, in an edition first published in 1925.[11]

After A Passage to India[edit]

In the 1930s and 1940s Forster became a successful broadcaster on BBC Radio and a public figure associated with the Union of Ethical Societies. In addition to being a broadcaster, he advocated individual liberty, penal reform, and opposed censorship, by writing articles, sitting on committees, and signing letters. His weekly book review during the war was commissioned by George Orwell, who was the talks producer at the Indian Section of the BBC from 1941 to 1943.[12] He was awarded a Benson Medal in 1937.

Forster was homosexual (open to his close friends, but not to the public) and a lifelong bachelor.[13] He developed a long-term relationship with Bob Buckingham (1904–1975), a married policeman.[14] Forster included Buckingham and his wife May in his circle, which included J. R. Ackerley, a writer and literary editor of The Listener, the psychologist W. J. H. Sprott and, for a time, the composer Benjamin Britten. Other writers with whom Forster associated included Christopher Isherwood, the poet Siegfried Sassoon, and the Belfast-based novelist Forrest Reid.

From 1925 until his mother's death at age 90 on 11 March 1945, Forster lived with her at West Hackhurst, Abinger Hammer, finally leaving on or around 23 September 1946.[15] His London base was 26 Brunswick Square from 1930 to 1939, after which he rented 9 Arlington Park Mansions in Chiswick until at least 1961.[16][17]

Forster was elected an honorary fellow of King's College, Cambridge, in January 1946,[16] and lived for the most part in the college, doing relatively little. In April 1947 he arrived in America to begin a three-month nationwide tour of public readings and sightseeing, returning to the East Coast in June.[18] He declined a knighthood in 1949 and was made a Companion of Honour in 1953.[16] At age 82, he wrote his last short story, Little Imber, a science fiction tale. At 85 he went on a pilgrimage to the Wiltshire countryside that had inspired his favourite novel The Longest Journey, escorted by William Golding.[18] In 1969 he was made a member of the Order of Merit. Forster died of a stroke[19] on 7 June 1970 at the age of 91, at the Buckinghams' home in Coventry.[16] His ashes, mingled with those of Buckingham, were later scattered in the rose garden of Coventry's crematorium, near Warwick University.[20][21]

Novels[edit]

Forster had five novels published in his lifetime. Although Maurice was published shortly after his death, it had been written nearly sixty years earlier. He never finished a seventh novel, Arctic Summer.

His first novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), is the story of Lilia, a young English widow who falls in love with an Italian, and of the efforts of her bourgeois relatives to get her back from Monteriano (based on San Gimignano). Philip Herriton's mission to retrieve her from Italy has features in common with that of Lambert Strether in Henry James's The Ambassadors. Forster discussed that work ironically and somewhat disapprovingly in his book Aspects of the Novel (1927). Where Angels Fear to Tread was adapted as a 1991 film directed by Charles Sturridge.

Next, Forster published The Longest Journey (1907), an inverted Bildungsroman following the lame Rickie Elliott from Cambridge to a career as a struggling writer and then to a post as a schoolmaster, married to the unappealing Agnes Pembroke. In a series of scenes on the hills of Wiltshire, which introduce Rickie's wild half-brother Stephen Wonham, Forster attempts a kind of sublime related to those of Thomas Hardy and D. H. Lawrence.

Forster's third novel, A Room with a View (1908), is his lightest and most optimistic. It was started as early as 1901, before any of his others; its earliest versions are entitled "Lucy". The book explores the young Lucy Honeychurch's trip to Italy with her cousin, and the choice she must make between the free-thinking George Emerson and the repressed aesthete Cecil Vyse. George's father Mr Emerson quotes thinkers who influenced Forster, including Samuel Butler. The book was adapted as a film of the same name in 1985 by the Merchant Ivory team.

Where Angels Fear to Tread and A Room with a View can be seen collectively as Forster's Italian novels. Both include references to the famous Baedeker guidebooks and concern narrow-minded middle-class English tourists abroad. The books share many themes with his short stories collected in The Celestial Omnibus and The Eternal Moment.

Howards End (1910) is an ambitious "condition-of-England" novel concerned with different groups within the Edwardian middle classes, represented by the Schlegels (bohemian intellectuals), the Wilcoxes (thoughtless plutocrats) and the Basts (struggling lower-middle-class aspirants). Critics have observed that numerous characters in Forster's novels die suddenly. This is true of Where Angels Fear to Tread, Howards End and, most particularly, The Longest Journey. Howards End was adapted as a film in 1991 by the Merchant-Ivory team and as a miniseries in 2017. An opera libretto Howards End, America was created in 2016 by Claudia Stevens.

Forster achieved his greatest success with A Passage to India (1924). The novel takes as its subject the relationship between East and West, seen through the lens of India in the later days of the British Raj. Forster connects personal relationships with the politics of colonialism through the story of the Englishwoman Adela Quested, the Indian Dr. Aziz, and the question of what did or did not happen between them in the Marabar Caves. Forster makes special mention of the author Ahmed Ali and his Twilight in Delhi in his Preface to its Everyman's Library Edition. A Passage to India was adapted as a play in 1960, directed by Frank Hauser, and as a film in 1984, directed by David Lean.

Maurice (1971) was published posthumously. It is a homosexual love story which also returns to matters familiar from Forster's first three novels, such as the suburbs of London in the English home counties, the experience of attending Cambridge, and the wild landscape of Wiltshire. The novel was controversial, given that Forster's homosexuality had not been previously known or widely acknowledged. Today's critics continue to argue over the extent to which Forster's sexuality and personal activities[23] influenced his writing. Maurice was adapted as a film in 1987 by the Merchant-Ivory team.

Early in his writing career, Forster attempted a historical novel about the Byzantine scholar Gemistus Pletho and the Italian condottieroSigismondo de Malatesta, but was not satisfied with the result and never published it - though he kept the manuscript and later showed it to Naomi Mitchison.[24]

Critical reception[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(August 2012)

Forster's first novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread, was described by reviewers as "astonishing" and "brilliantly original".[25]The Manchester Guardian (forerunner of The Guardian) noted "a persistent vein of cynicism which is apt to repel," though "the cynicism is not deep-seated." The novel is labelled "a sordid comedy culminating, unexpectedly and with a real dramatic force, in a grotesque tragedy."[26]Lionel Trilling remarked on this first novel as "a whole and mature work dominated by a fresh and commanding intelligence".[27]

Subsequent books were similarly received on publication. The Manchester Guardian commented on Howards End, describing it as "a novel of high quality written with what appears to be a feminine brilliance of perception... witty and penetrating."[28] An essay by David Cecil in Poets and Storytellers (1949) characterises Forster as "pulsing with intelligence and sensibility", but primarily concerned with an original moral vision: "He tells a story as well as anyone who ever lived".[29][page needed]

In the United States, interest in Forster and appreciation for him were spurred by Lionel Trilling's E. M. Forster: A Study, which began:

E. M. Forster is for me the only living novelist who can be read again and again and who, after each reading, gives me what few writers can give us after our first days of novel-reading, the sensation of having learned something. (Trilling 1943)

Criticism of his works has included comment on the unlikely pairings of characters who marry or get engaged, and the lack of realistic depiction of sexual attraction.[29][page needed]

Key themes[edit]

Forster was President of the Cambridge Humanists from 1959 until his death and a member of the Advisory Council of the British Humanist Association from 1963 until his death. His views as a humanist are at the heart of his work, which often depicts the pursuit of personal connections in spite of the restrictions of contemporary society. His humanist attitude is expressed in the non-fictional essay What I Believe (reprinted with two other humanist essays – and an introduction and notes by Nicolas Walter – as What I Believe, and other essays by the secular humanist publishers G.W. Foote & Co. in 1999). When Forster's cousin, Philip Whichelo, donated a portrait of Forster to the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GLHA), Jim Herrick, the founder, quoted Forster's words: "The humanist has four leading characteristics – curiosity, a free mind, belief in good taste, and belief in the human race."

Forster's two best-known works, A Passage to India and Howards End, explore the irreconcilability of class differences. A Room with a View also shows how questions of propriety and class can make human connection difficult. The novel is his most widely read and accessible work, remaining popular long after its original publication. His posthumous novel Maurice explores the possibility of class reconciliation as one facet of a homosexual relationship.

Sexuality is another key theme in Forster's works. Some critics have argued that a general shift from heterosexual to homosexual love can be observed through the course of his writing career. The foreword to Maurice describes his struggle with his homosexuality, while he explored similar issues in several volumes of short stories. Forster's explicitly homosexual writings, the novel Maurice and the short story collection The Life to Come, were published shortly after his death.

Forster is noted for his use of symbolism as a technique in his novels, and he has been criticised (as by his friend Roger Fry) for his attachment to mysticism. One example of his symbolism is the wych elm tree in Howards End. The characters of Mrs. Wilcox in that novel and Mrs. Moore in A Passage to India have a mystical link with the past, and a striking ability to connect with people from beyond their own circles.

Notable works by Forster[edit]

Novels[edit]

Short stories[edit]

Plays and pageants[edit]

  • Abinger Pageant (1934)
  • England's Pleasant Land (1940)

Film scripts[edit]

Libretto[edit]

Collections of essays and broadcasts[edit]

Literary criticism[edit]

Biography[edit]

  • Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson (1934)
  • Marianne Thornton, A Domestic Biography (1956)

Travel writing[edit]

  • Alexandria: A History and Guide (1922)
  • Pharos and Pharillon (A Novelist's Sketchbook of Alexandria Through the Ages) (1923)
  • The Hill of Devi (1953)

Miscellaneous writings[edit]

  • Selected Letters (1983–85)
  • Commonplace Book (facsimile ed. 1978; edited by Philip Gardner, 1985)
  • Locked Diary (2007) (held at King's College, Cambridge)
  • Arctic Summer (novel fragment, written in 1912–13, published posthumously in 2003)

Notable films based upon Forster's fiction[edit]

See also: Category:E. M. Forster in performing arts

References[edit]

  1. ^"Edward M Forster". Nomination Database. Nobel Media. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-04-05. 
  2. ^"E Forster". Nomination Database. Nobel Media. Archived from the original on 2014-10-12. Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  3. ^Moffatt, p. 26
  4. ^AP Central – English Literature Author: E. M. Forster. Apcentral.collegeboard.com (18 January 2012). Retrieved on 10 June 2012.
  5. ^UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  6. ^"A Chronology of Forster's life and work". Cambridge.org. 1 December 1953. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  7. ^"E. M. Forster Theatre, Tonbridge School". Tonbridge-school.co.uk. Archived from the original on 28 August 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  8. ^"Forster, Edward Morgan (FRSR897EM)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  9. ^Sellers, Susan (Ed) (2010). The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf. England: Cambridge University Press. p. 16. ISBN 0521896940. 
  10. ^Lionel Trilling, E. M. Forster, p. 114
  11. ^Original Letters from India (New York: NYRB, 2010 [1925]). ISBN 978-1-59017-336-7
  12. ^Orwell, George (1987). The War Broadcasts. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-018910-0. 
  13. ^"Britain Unlimited Biography". Britainunlimited.com. 7 June 1970. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  14. ^Brooks, Richard (6 June 2010). "Sex Led to EM Forster's End". The Times. London. 
  15. ^"King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge, The Papers of Edward Morgan Forster (reference EMF/19/6)". Retrieved 27 May 2008. 
  16. ^ abcdDavid Bradshaw, ed. (2007). "Chronology". The Cambridge Companion to E. M. Forster. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-83475-9. Retrieved 27 May 2008. 
  17. ^"King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge, The Papers of Edward Morgan Forster (reference EMF/17/10)". Retrieved 27 May 2008. 
  18. ^ abMoffat, Wendy E. M. Forster: A New Life, London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010
  19. ^"A Room with a View and Howards End". Randomhouse.com. 7 June 1970. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  20. ^Stape, J H (18 December 1992). E. M. Forster. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-349-12850-1. 
  21. ^Beauman, Nicola (2004). "Forster, Edward Morgan (1879–1970)". Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33208. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  22. ^"A Literary Tour of Florence". Walking Tours of Florence. 4 April 2017. 
  23. ^"BBC News Website". 2 August 2001. 
  24. ^Mentioned in a 1925 letter to Mitchison, quoted in her autobiography You May Well Ask: A Memoir 1920-1940. Mitchison, Naomi (1986) [1979]. "11: Morgan Comes to Tea". You May Well Ask: A Memoir 1920-1940. London: Fontana Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-00654-193-6. 
  25. ^P. Gardner, ed. (1973). E. M. Forster: the critical heritage.
  26. ^The Manchester Guardian, 30 August 1905.
  27. ^Trilling, Lionel (1965). E. M. Forster. Columbia essays on modern writers, vol. 189 (first ed. 1943). New Directions Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 0811202100. 
  28. ^The Manchester Guardian, 26 February 1910.
  29. ^ abDavid Cecil (1949). Poets and Storytellers: A Book of Critical Essays. Macmillan.

Further reading[edit]

  • Abrams, M.H. and Stephen Greenblatt, "E.M. Forster." The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2C, 7th Edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000: 2131–2140.
  • Ackerley, J. R., E. M. Forster: A Portrait (Ian McKelvie, London, 1970)
  • Bakshi, Parminder Kaur, Distant Desire. Homoerotic Codes and the Subversion of the English Novel in E. M. Forster's Fiction (New York, 1996).
  • Beauman, Nicola, Morgan (London, 1993).
  • Brander, Lauwrence, E.M. Forster. A critical study (London, 1968).
  • Brown, E.K., Rhythm in the Novel (University of Toronto Press, Canada, 1950).
  • Cavaliero, Glen, A Reading of E.M. Forster (London, 1979).
  • Chanda, S. M. 'A Passage to India: A Close Look' in A Collection of Critical Essays Atlantic Publishers, New Delhi.
  • Christie, Stuart, Worlding Forster: The Passage from Pastoral (Routledge, 2005).
  • Colmer, John, E. M. Forster – The personal voice (London, 1975).
  • Crews, Frederick, E. M. Forster: The Perils of Humanism (Textbook Publishers, 2003).
  • E. M. Forster, ed. by Norman Page, Macmillan Modern Novelists (Houndmills, 1987).
  • E. M. Forster: The critical heritage, ed. by Philip Gardner (London, 1973).
  • Forster: A collection of Critical Essays, ed. by Malcolm Bradbury (New Jersey, 1966).
  • Forster, E.M., What I Believe, and other essays, Freethinker's Classics #3, ed. by Nicolas Walter (London, G. W . Foote & Co. Ltd., 1999, 2016).
  • Furbank, P.N., E.M. Forster: A Life (London, 1977–78).
  • Haag, Michael, Alexandria: City of Memory (London and New Haven, 2004). This portrait of Alexandria during the first half of the twentieth century includes a biographical account of E.M. Forster, his life in the city, his relationship with Constantine Cavafy, and his influence on Lawrence Durrell.
  • Herz, Judith and Martin, Robert K. E. M. Forster: Centenary Revaluations (Macmillan Press, 1982).
  • Kermode, Frank, Concerning E. M. Forster, (London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010)
  • King, Francis, E. M. Forster and his World, (London, 1978).
  • Lago, Mary. Calendar of the Letters of E. M. Forster, (London, Mansell, 1985).
  • Lago, Mary. Selected Letters of E. M. Forster, (Cambridge, Mass., Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1983–1985.)
  • Lago, Mary. E. M. Forster: A Literary Life, (New York, St. Martin's Press, 1995.)
  • Lewis, Robin Jared, E. M. Forster's Passages to India, Columbia University Press, New York, 1979.
  • Martin, John Sayre, E. M. Forster. The endless journey (London, 1976).
  • Martin, Robert K. and Piggford, George (eds.) Queer Forster (Chicago, 1997)
  • Mishra, Pankaj (ed.) "E.M. Forster." India in Mind: An Anthology. New York: Vintage Books, 2005: 61–70.
  • Moffat, Wendy, E.M. Forster: A New Life, (Bloomsbury, 2010).
  • Rose, Peter, "The Peculiar Charms of E.M. Forster", Australian Book Review (December 2010/January 2011). Forster in his social context. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  • Royle, Nicolas. E. M. Forster (Writers & Their Work (Northcote House Publishers, London, 1999).
  • Scott, P. J. M., E. M. Forster: Our Permanent Contemporary, Critical Studies Series (London, 1984).
  • Stone, Wilfred H., The cave and the mountain: a study of E. M. Forster. (1964).
  • Summers, Claude J., E. M. Forster New York, 1983).
  • Trilling, Lionel (1943), E. M. Forster: A Study, Norfolk: New Directions .
  • Singh, K. Natwar, editor, E. M. Forster: A Tribute, With Selections from his Writings on India, Contributors: Ahmed Ali, Mulk Raj Anand, Narayana Menon, Raja Rao & Santha Rama Rau, (On Forster's Eighty Fifth Birthday), Harcourt, Brace & World Inc., New York, 1 January 1964.
  • Verduin, Kathleen, "Medievalism, Classicism, and the Fiction of E.M. Forster," in: Medievalism in the Modern World. Essays in Honour of Leslie J. Workman, ed. Richard Utz and Tom Shippey (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998), pp. 263–86.
  • Wilde, Alan, Art and Order. A Study of E.M. Forster (New York, 1967).

External links[edit]

General portals
Sources

LGBT

A section of the main building, Tonbridge School
Forster lived in this house, home of his friends Robert and May Buckingham, and died here on 7 June 1970. The sign on the wall above the garage door marks the 100th anniversary of his birth
The monument to Forster in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, near Rooks Nest where Forster grew up. He based the setting for his novel Howards End on this area, now informally known as Forster Country.
Forster and his mother stayed at Pensione Simi, now Hotel Jennings Riccioli, Florence, in 1901. Forster took inspiration from this sojourn for the Pension Bertolini in A Room with a View[22]

E. M. Forster (1879-1970), noted English author wrote Howards End (1910);

The words that were read aloud on Sunday to him and to other respectable men were the words that had once kindled the souls of St. Catherine and St. Francis into a white-hot hatred of the carnal. He could not be as the saints and love the Infinite with a seraphic ardour, but he could be a little ashamed of loving a wife. Amabat, amare timebat. And it was here that Margaret hoped to help him.

It did not seem so difficult. She need trouble him with no gift of her own. She would only point out the salvation that was latent in his own soul, and in the soul of every man. Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.

Nor was the message difficult to give. It need not take the form of a good "talking." By quiet indications the bridge would be built and span their lives with beauty.

But she failed. For there was one quality in Henry for which she was never prepared, however much she reminded herself of it: his obtuseness.--Ch. 22

The relationship between Margaret Schlegel and Henry Wilcox shows us the importance of our connection with ourselves, each other, and the world at large. Howards End was Forsters' first critically acclaimed novel and as with many of his works, successfully adapted to the screen. Heavy in symbolism, Forster explores themes of class, repression, mysticism, sexuality, individualism, British Imperialism, and social realism. Forster was outraged by the treatment of Oscar Wilde and the treatment of homosexuals as criminals, and his essay "What I Believe" (1939) outlines much of his secular humanist views. Using quotes from such authors he esteemed as William Shakespeare and Walt Whitman, inspired by Samuel Butler and Jane Austen, and at times evoking Thomas Hardy or D.H. Lawrence, today many of Forster's works have been translated to dozens of languages, and are widely read and studied.

Edward Morgan Forster was born on 1 January 1879 in London, England to Alice Clara née Whichelo (1855-1945) and architect Edward Morgan Llewellyn Forster (1847-1880) who died soon after his son was born. Living at Rooksnest (which would later prove the model for Howards End near Stevenage in Hertfordshire) young Edward was raised by his mother, aunts, and governesses. A precocious young man, he started writing stories at the age of six. He attended the Tonbridge School in Kent County, then went on to study history, philosophy, and literature at King's College, Cambridge. He received his Bachelor of Arts in 1900. Although his public school years were unhappy, at King's he blossomed under tutors and the atmosphere of intellectual freedom. He joined groups like the Cambridge Conversazione Society, also known as the Cambridge Apostles, and met lifelong friends including Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson (1862-1932). Many of them went on to form the Bloomsbury Group.

After coming into an inheritance from his Great Aunt Marianne Thornton (1797-1887), Forster was off on his first of many trips to Europe with his mother. They visited Italy, then Greece, where Forster first experienced the Mediterranean culture he would grow to love and write about. When he was not travelling he lived with his mother at Abinger Hammer in Surrey until her death in 1944. Forster knew early on he would be a writer and was fortunate enough to not experience financial hardships. His first of many sketches, essays, and stories was printed in the Independent Review in 1904. Later, he contributed greatly to the London literary journal The Athenaeum. His first novel Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), set in Tuscany, was followed by his Bildungsroman novel The Longest Journey (1907), Rickie Elliot being one of his most autobiographical characters. A Room With a View (1908) was Forsters next work, a romance set in Italy, contrasted with Edwardian England's society and mores. While he started writing Maurice in 1912, it was not officially published until after his death in 1971.

During World War I, while Forster was in Alexandria, Egypt serving with the Red Cross, he met and fell in love with Mohammed el Adl (1900-1922), a young tram conductor. He also penned short stories that were printed in local newspapers under his pseudonym 'Pharos'. Works inspired by this period of his life include Alexandria: A History and Guide (1922) and Pharos and Pharillon: A Novelist's Sketchbook of Alexandria Through the Ages (1923), printed by Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press. Forster also spent much time in India and became well-acquainted with the conflict between the British Raj and the Indian Independence Movement of which he wrote about in A Passage to India (1924), his last novel to reach international acclaim. In recognition he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Vie Heureuse.

Forster was deeply committed to numerous literary causes during his lifetime including PEN, the international association of writers. He was a witness for the defence in the obscenity case of D.H. Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover. As an Honorary Fellow at Cambridge, he lectured there and was a well-known and respected figure on campus. After the death of his mother he maintained residences at Cambridge and in London. In the 1950's he worked with Eric Crozier to write the libretto to Benjamin Britten's opera Billy Budd, based on Herman Melville's 1924 novel of the same name. In 1953 he was awarded the Order of Companions of Honor and in 1969 given Queen Elizabeth's Order of Merit. At the age of ninety, on 7 June 1970, Edward Morgan Forster died at the home in Coventry of friend and long-time companion Robert Buckingham.

Other titles by E. M. Forster include;

The Celestial Omnibus (short stories, 1914),
The Eternal Moment (1928),
Abinger Pageant (short stories, 1934),
England's Pleasant Land (1940),
The Hill of Devi (1953), and
Arctic Summer (unfinished).

Biography written by C. D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. Copyright Jalic Inc. 2007. All Rights Reserved.

The above biography is copyrighted. Do not republish it without permission.

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Posted By @ Red Rose @ in Forster, E.M. || 6 Replies

A Passage to India-Adela Quested

After re-reading E.M.Forster's novel, I started contemplating a lot on Adela's character. I greatly admire her comments dismissing racism and feelings of superiority over the conquered Indians, dismissing the vanity of the other English women, and the attitude of Ronny. On the other hand, her desicion to accuse Dr. Aziz-even if she withdrew the case, eventually-,is certainly confusing. Do you believe that it was simply because of the famous Echo effect of the Caves, or there could be other motives, like an archetypal fear of the unknown people and an unknown culture? It seems that these "terrors" keep coming back, unfortunately, no matter how educated and free-spirited someone may be....

Posted By amalia1985 in Forster, E.M. || 6 Replies

The Machine Stops

I am just now reading "The Machine Stops," a short story (novella?) by Forster written in 1909. This dystopian piece would be a wonderful conversation starter among my students, as it warns of a world where humanity is isolated in small underground cells. The hive of cells is fully automated, with tubes supplying the individual's physical needs and electronic media providing the means for communication ("intercourse," per the text). The story is remarkably relevant to today's electronically isolated teens. I am looking for other literature to include in a literary unit. An Emerson essay suggests that man never progresses -- for each advancement, man loses something else of equal impor...

Posted By lboller in Forster, E.M. || 1 Reply

A Passage to India

Why there is no script of A Passage to India:(...

Posted By godhelpme2 in Forster, E.M. || 3 Replies

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