|E. M. Forster|
E. M. Forster, by Dora Carrington
|Born||Edward Morgan Forster|
(1879-01-01)1 January 1879
Marylebone, Middlesex, England
|Died||7 June 1970(1970-06-07) (aged 91)|
Coventry, Warwickshire, England
|Occupation||Writer (novels, short stories, essays)|
|Alma mater||King's College, Cambridge|
|Genre||Realism, symbolism, modernism|
|Subject||Class division, gender, homosexuality|
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.
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. 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. 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.]) from his paternal great-aunt Marianne Thornton (daughter of the abolitionist Henry Thornton), who died on 5 November 1887. 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.
At King's College, Cambridge, between 1897 and 1901, 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.
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. 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.
After A Passage to India
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. 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. He developed a long-term relationship with Bob Buckingham (1904–1975), a married policeman. 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. 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.
Forster was elected an honorary fellow of King's College, Cambridge, in January 1946, 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. He declined a knighthood in 1949 and was made a Companion of Honour in 1953. 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. In 1969 he was made a member of the Order of Merit. Forster died of a stroke on 7 June 1970 at the age of 91, at the Buckinghams' home in Coventry. His ashes, mingled with those of Buckingham, were later scattered in the rose garden of Coventry's crematorium, near Warwick University.
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 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.
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Forster's first novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread, was described by reviewers as "astonishing" and "brilliantly original".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."Lionel Trilling remarked on this first novel as "a whole and mature work dominated by a fresh and commanding intelligence".
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." 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".[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.[page needed]
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
Plays and pageants
Collections of essays and broadcasts
Notable films based upon Forster's fiction
See also: Category:E. M. Forster in performing arts
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- ^"King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge, The Papers of Edward Morgan Forster (reference EMF/19/6)". Retrieved 27 May 2008.
- ^ 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.
- ^"King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge, The Papers of Edward Morgan Forster (reference EMF/17/10)". Retrieved 27 May 2008.
- ^ abMoffat, Wendy E. M. Forster: A New Life, London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010
- ^"A Room with a View and Howards End". Randomhouse.com. 7 June 1970. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
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- ^Beauman, Nicola (2004). "Forster, Edward Morgan (1879–1970)". Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33208. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- ^"A Literary Tour of Florence". Walking Tours of Florence. 4 April 2017.
- ^"BBC News Website". 2 August 2001.
- ^Mentioned in a 1925 letter to Mitchison, quoted in her autobiography You May Well Ask: A Memoir 1920-1940. Mitchison, Naomi (1986) . "11: Morgan Comes to Tea". You May Well Ask: A Memoir 1920-1940. London: Fontana Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-00654-193-6.
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- ^The Manchester Guardian, 30 August 1905.
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- ^The Manchester Guardian, 26 February 1910.
- ^ abDavid Cecil (1949). Poets and Storytellers: A Book of Critical Essays. Macmillan.
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- General portals
Tolerance. E M Forster Essay. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books Trivandrum Online
By PSRemeshChandra, 19th Sep 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3_3i8k-v/
Posted in WikinutWritingEssays
E.M.Forster was a celebrated British literary figure who knew deep about the philosophy of the East. He made three visits to India and became familiar with the Hindu, Muslim and Anglo-Indian visions in India. His famous novel A Passage To India was made into a movie by David Lean. In a radio broadcast, he argues in favour of tolerance. His plea for tolerance is to be heeded by all countries; especially since in all continents have problems of cessation and separatism.
A sound state of mind is the only sound foundation to base a stable and lasting civilization.
Tolerance is a dull virtue. It just means, putting up with people. Forster laments that no one has ever written an Ode To Tolerance or raised a statue to her. It is the quality which is most needed in a world constantly threatened with wars. It is the only force which enables different classes and races of people to settle down together as in India. Tolerance is the sound state of mind to base a civilization upon. A sound state of mind is the only sound foundation to base a stable and lasting civilization. In Forster's opinion, God alone has a sound state of mind to base a lasting civilization. ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.'
We say love is what is needed, and then sit back, and the world goes on as before without change.
Tolerance is not just love. Spiritual qualities like love fails when put into practical uses such as solving the world's problems. Love is a failure in public affairs. 'Love is what is needed' we say, and then we sit back, and the world goes on as before. We do nothing to change either the world or our attitude towards the world. When love fails, people will begin to exterminate those whom they do not like, to prevent the disaster from which tolerance need be practised. We know, the Irish and the Scots were not loved much by the Englanders and the South Irish parted from United Kingdom. The Scots in their referendum chose to remain in that union, by a very narrow margin and we do not know what they will choose in future. We know Canada has problems with Quebec, Spain with Catalonia, Belgium with Flanders, and China with so many conquered states like Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and not-yet-conquered nations like Japan and Philippines, with far-reaching-plans with even the distant South Sudan in Africa. Without love for the other peoples contained in their hold and for ethnic minorities living in their provinces, where will these countries go in this world of instant communications and online referendums?
Tolerance is to be practised in the queue, in the street, in the railway, in the office, at the factory, at the telephone.
Tolerance has to be practised by peoples, classes, communities and also nations. It has to be practised in almost all spheres of human activity- in the queue, in the street, in the railway, in the office, at the factory, at the telephone. Tolerance is not weakness or surrender. It is the strong tolerating the weak. It is a temporary arrangement till the world is put in perfect order. According to Forster, tolerance is just a makeshift, suitable for an overcrowded and overheated planet. The world is shockingly full of people who are equally responsible for the colour questions and racial prejudices still prevailing in our globe, still prevailing in even advanced countries such as England, E.M.Forster’s home land. These inferior qualities cloud the future of even the advanced civilizations. Rather than finding fault with others, it is better we turn to ourselves for betterment. It is very easy to find fanaticism in others, but difficult to spot it in our selves. Till The National Home is completed and Love enters it, Tolerance need be retained as a stop-gap arrangement.
All philosophers, prophets and saints from the East have been preaching tolerance through ages. Theirs is a long line.
Forster is not alone in advocating for this virtue of tolerance. All philosophers, prophets and saints from the East have been preaching tolerance through ages. From Gauthama Buddha to Mahatma Gandhi- theirs is a long line. In the West also, Saint Paul, the Apostle, Dante, the Italian poet, Erasmus, the Dutch scholar, Montaigne, the first French essayist, were all preaching tolerance in Europe. In England, there were John Locke, the philosopher and Sydney Smith, the priest. And there was also Forster's friend, the famous Lowes Dickinson. In Germany it was Goethe. We may sum up the names of these supreme lovers of mankind in a small poetical refrain which nobody wrote yet:
Buddhan, Gandhi, St.Paul, Dante,
Erasmus, Montaigne, John Locke,
Sydney Smith and Low`es Dickinson
And the poet Goethe.
(Prepared as a lecture delivered to literature students in May 1992. Slight modifications made since then)
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