The photograph shows Forster as a young man. It was taken between 1920 and 1930.
FORSTER, Edward Morgan
([1 Jan.] 1879 - [7 June] 1970), was the only child of Edward Morgan Forster,
architect, who died in 188o, and of
His boyhood was
dominated by women, among them his influential great-aunt and benefactress
Marianne Thornton, on her death in 1887 she left him £8,ooo
in trust. His happiest childhood years (1883-93) were spent at Rooksnest,
In 1897 he went to King's
A year of travel in
In 1905 he completed *Where Angels Fear to Tread, which was published the same year, and spent some months in Germany as tutor to the children of the Conntess *von Arnim In 19o6, now established with his mother in Weybridge, he became tutor to Syed Ross Masood, a striking and colonial Indian Muslim patriot, for whom Forster developed an intense affection. *The Longest Journey appeared in 1907, A Room with a View in 1908, and Howards End, which established Forster as a writer of importance, in 1910. In 1911 he published a collection of short stories, mostly pastoral and whimsical in tone and subject-matter, The Celestial Omnibus.
In 1912-13 he visited
In 1921-22 he revisited
In 1927 he delivered the Clark lectures at Cambridge printed the same year as Aspects of the Novel; they were a popular success, and King's offered him a 3-year-fellowship, and, in 1946, an honorary fellowship and a permanent home.
In 1928 The Eternal Moment, a volume of pre-1914 short stories, whimsical and dealing with the supernatural appeared. He wrote two biographies, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickenson (1934) and Marianne Thornton (1956). Abinger Harvest, essays named after the village in Surrey in which Forster inherited a house on 1924, appeared in 1936, Two Cheers for Democracy in 1951, The Hill of Devi, a portrait of India through letters and commentary, in 1953.
He spent his last year in King's College, and was awarded the OM in 1969, Maurice was followed by another posthumous publication, The Life to Come (1972), a collection of short stories, many with homosexual themes, including the tragic story 'The Other Boat' written 1957-8.
(Text from Drabble, Margaret. The
About the author
essayist, and social and literary critic. His fame rests largely on his novels Howards End
(1910) and A Passage to
The same theme runs through Howards End, a more ambitious novel that brought Forster his first major success. The novel is conceived in terms of an alliance between the Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, who embody the liberal imagination at its best, and Ruth Wilcox, the owner of the house Howards End, which has remained close to the earth for generations; spiritually they recognize a kinship against the values of Henry Wilcox and his children, who conceive life mainly in terms of commerce. In a symbolic ending, Margaret Schlegel marries Henry Wilcox and brings him back, a broken man, to Howards End, reestablishing there a link (however heavily threatened by the forces of progress around it) between the imagination and the earth.
The resolution is a precarious one, and World War I was to undermine it still further. Forster spent three wartime years in
The values of truthfulness and kindness dominate Forster's later thinking. A reconciliation of humanity to the earth and its own imagination may be the ultimate ideal, but Forster sees it receding in a civilization devoting itself more and more to technological progress. The values of common sense, goodwill, and regard for the individual, on the other hand, can still be cultivated, and these underlie Forster's later pleas for more liberal attitudes. During World War II he acquired a position of particular respect as a man who had never been seduced by totalitarianisms of any kind and whose belief in personal relationships and the simple decencies seemed to embody some of the common values behind the fight against Nazism and Fascism. In 1946 his old college gave him an honorary fellowship, which enabled him to make his home in
*From Encyclopedia Britannica
Set in the elegant
Edwardian world of
Written during 1913 and 1914, immediately after Howards End, and not published until 1971, Maurice was ahead of its time in it theme and in its affirmation that love between men can be happy. "Happiness," Forster wrote, "is its keynote. . . . In Maurice I tried to create a character who was completely like myself or what I supposed myself to be: someone handsome, healthy, bodily attractive, mentally torpid, not a bad businessman and rather a snob. Into this mixture I dropped an ingredient that puzzles him. wakes him up, torments him, and finally saves him."
Maurice is a plea for emotional and sexual honesty, and it criticises the repressive attitudes of British society. Aware that the publication of that novel would cause a furore, Forster prepared it for posthumous publication adding the line 'Publishable - but worth it?' to the cover of the manuscript.
Maurice a traditional bildungsroman, or novel of education about a young middle class man searching for an own identity within a society which denies his desire for love to a person of the same sex.
With the plot starting
just before the protagonist's 15th birthday, the reader follows
Maurice's life through public school,
Maurice is depicted as an ordinary man. That makes it easier for him to
disguise as 'normal' (i.e. heterosexual) person. Successively he experiences a
profound emotional and sexual awakening. His first homosexual relation to Clive
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