E. M. Forster

E. M. Forster: (Edward Morgan Forster), 1879–1970, English author, one of the most important British novelists of the 20th cent. After graduating from Cambridge, Forster lived in Italy and Greece. During World War I he served with the International Red Cross in Egypt. In 1946, Forster became an honorary fellow of King's College, Cambridge, where he lived until his death. He received the Order of Merit in 1968.

Forster's fiction, conservative in form, is in the English tradition of the novel of manners. He explores the emotional and sensual deficiencies of the English middle class, and examines its relationship to other social classes, developing his themes by means of irony, wit, and symbolism. He also often treats the contrasts between human freedom and repression. His first novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread, appeared in 1905 and was followed in quick succession by The Longest Journey (1907), A Room with a View (1908), and Howard's End (1910). His last and most widely acclaimed novel, A Passage to India (1924), treats the relations between a group of British colonials and native Indians and considers the difficulty of forming human relationships, of "connecting" ; the novel also explores the nature of external and internal reality. Forster's short stories are collected in The Celestial Omnibus (1911) and The Eternal Moment (1928).

After 1928 he turned his attention increasingly to nonfiction. Notable collections of his essays and literary criticism are Abinger Harvest (1936) and Two Cheers for Democracy (1951). Aspects of the Novel (1927) is a major study of the novel and Forster's most important critical work. In 1971, Maurice, a novel Forster had written in 1913–14, was published posthumously. A homosexual, Forster had refrained from publishing it during his lifetime because of the work's sympathetic treatment of homosexuality. The story of a young man's self-awakening, Maurice treats a familiar Forster theme, the difficulty of human connection. His unpublished short stories and essays were published posthumously in Albergo Empedocle and Other Writings (1972). In all his works Forster's style is impeccable.


See his selected writings, ed. by G. B. Parker (1968); his selected letters, ed. by M. Lago and P. N. Furbank (2 vol., 1983–84); biographies by D. Godfrey (1968), P. N. Furbank (2 vol., 1978), C. J. Summers (1987), N. Beauman (1994), and W. Moffat (2010); studies by G. H. Thomson (1967), O. Stallybrass (1969), P. Gardner (1973) and as ed. (1984), P. J. Scott (1983), and F. Kermode (2009).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

E. M. Forster: Selected full-text books and articles

A Room with a View By E. M. Forster Vintage Books, 1961
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Howards End By E. M. Forster Vintage Books, 1954
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
E. M. Forster's A Passage to India By Harold Bloom Chelsea House, 1987
Librarian's tip: This is a book of literary criticism
The Writings of E. M. Forster By Rose Macaulay Harcourt, Brace, 1938
The Birth of Liberal Guilt in the English Novel: Charles Dickens to H.G. Wells By Daniel Born University of North Carolina Press, 1995
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "Private Gardens, Public Swamps: Howards End and the Revaluation of Liberal Guilt"
The Humanistic Heritage: Critical Theories of the English Novel from James to Hillis Miller By Daniel R. Schwarz University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986
Librarian's tip: Chap. 2 "The Importance of E.M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel"
Failures That Connect; or, Colonial Friendships in E. M. Forster's A Passage to India By Kiang, Shun Yin ARIEL, Vol. 47, No. 3, July 2016
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
E. M. Forster's Reconfigured Gaze and the Creation of a Homoerotic Subjectivity By Markley, A. A Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 47, No. 2, Summer 2001
E.M. Forster's Impossible Gift in Howards End By Huang, Chien-jung Fu Jen Studies: literature & linguistics, No. 47, July 2014
Civility and Empire: Literature and Culture in British India, 1822-1922 By Anindyo Roy Routledge, 2005
Librarian's tip: Chap. 4 "Savage Pursuits: Missionary Civility and Colonization in E. M. Forster's 'The Life to Come'"
Empires of Objects: Accumulation and Entropy in E. M. Forster's Howards End By Turner, Henry S Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 46, No. 3, Fall 2000
Out of Bounds: Male Writers and Gender(ed) Criticism By Laura Claridge; Elizabeth Langland University of Massachusetts Press, 1990
Librarian's tip: "Gesturing toward an Open Space: Gender, Form, and Language in E. M. Forster's Howards End" begins on p. 252
Great World Writers: Twentieth Century By Patrick M. O'Neil Marshall Cavendish, vol.3, 2004
Heroes and Homosexuals: Education and Empire in E. M. Forster By Bailey, Quentin Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 48, No. 3, Fall 2002
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