The Humanistic Heritage: Critical Theories of the English Novel from James to Hillis Miller

By Daniel R. Schwarz | Go to book overview

2 The Importance of E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel

I

E. M. Forster Aspects of the Novel ( 1927) remains a cornerstone of Anglo-American novel criticism. Forster's study helped define the values and questions with which we have approached novels for the past several decades. Moreover, today, it still addresses the crucial questions that concern us about form, point of view, and the relationship between art and life. While acknowledging the importance of Percy Lubbock The Craft of Fiction ( 1921) in extending the James aesthetic, the brilliance of Virginia Woolf insights in her essays in The Common Reader ( 1925) and elsewhere, and the usefulness of Edwin Muir The Structure of the Novel ( 1928), I believe that Forster's book is the one of these 1920s books on the novel to which we most frequently return to learn about how novels mean and why they matter to us. Aspects of the Novel is informed not merely by the living experience of Forster's having written novels throughout his adult life but, more importantly, by judgment, perspicacity, and erudition. To be sure, he does not articulate what we now think of as a theory, and he lacks the dialectical and polemical edge of recent criticism. Thus he disarmingly explains that he has chosen the term 'aspects', 'because it means both the different ways we can look at a novel and the different ways a novelist can look at his work' (p. 24).1 In the early chapters, Forster begins with such traditional aspects as 'story', 'people', and 'plot' before turning in the later ones to less conventional ones such as 'fantasy', 'prophecy', 'pattern', and 'rhythm'.

In the editor's introduction to the Abinger edition of E. M. Forster Aspects of the Novel, Oliver Stallybrass rather patronizingly writes that Aspects is 'a set of observations, somewhat arbitrarily arranged...of a man who is a novelist first, a slightly uncommon reader second, a friend third, and an analytical or theorizing critic fourth.'2 Moreover,

-41-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Humanistic Heritage: Critical Theories of the English Novel from James to Hillis Miller
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 282

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.