Edward morgan forster (1879-1970)

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Edward Morgan Forster (1879-1970)

English author and critic, member of Bloomsbury group and friend of Virginia
Woolf. After gaining fame as a novelist, Forster spent his 46 remaining years
publishing mainly short stories and non-fiction. Of his five important novels
four appeared before World War I. Forster's major concern was that individuals
should 'connect the prose with the passion'within themselves, and that one of
the most exacting aspect of the novel is prophecy.

"If human nature does alter it will be because individuals manage to look at
themselves in a new way. Here and there people - a very few people, but a few
novelists are among them - are trying to do this. Every institution and vested
interest in against such a search: organized religion, the State, thefamily in
its economic aspect, have nothing to gain, and it is only when outward
prohibitions weaken that it can proceed: history conditions it to that extent."
(from Aspects of the Novel, 1927)
Edward Morgan Forster was born in London as the son of an architect, who died
before his only child was two years old. Forster's childhood and much of his
adult life was dominated by his mother andhis aunts. The legacy of her paternal
great-aunt Marianne Thornton, descendant of the Clapham Sect of evangelists and
reformers, gave later Forster the freedom to travel and to write. Forster's
years at Tonbridge School as a teenager were difficult - he suffered from the
cruelty of his classmates.

Forster attended King's College, Cambridge (1897-1901), where he met members of
the laterformed Bloomsbury group. In the atmosphere of skepticism, he became
under the influence of Sir Jamer Frazer, Nathaniel Wedd, Goldsworthy Lowes
Dickinson, and G.E. Moore, and shed his not very deep Christian faith. After
graduating he travelled in Italy and Greece with his mother, and on his return
began to write essays and short stories for the liberal Independent Review. In
1905 Foster spentseveral month in German as tutor to the children of the
Countess von Armin.

In the same year appeared his first novel, WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD. In the
following year he lectured on Italian art and history for the Cambridge Local
Lectures Board. In 1907 appeared THE LONGEST JOURNEY, then A ROOM WITH A VIEW
(1908), based partly on the material from extended holidays in Italy with hismother. The first part of the novel is set in Florence, where the young Lucy
Honeychurch is visitng with her older cousin Charlotte Bartless. Lucy witnesses
a murder and becomes caught between two man, shallow, conventional Cecil Vyse
and George Emerson, who kisses Lucy during a picnic. The second half of the
novel takes place at Windy Corner, Lucy's home on Summer Street. She accepts a
marriageproposal from Cecil. The Emerson become friends of the Honeychurches
after George, Mr. Beebe, who is a clergyman, and Freddie, Lucy's brother, are
discovered bathing nude in the woods. Finally Lucy overcomes prejudices and
marries George. Forster also wrote during the pre-war years a number of short
stories, which were collected in THE CELESTIAL OMNIBUS (1914). Most of them were
symbolicfantasies or fables.

HOWARDS END (1910) was a story that centered on an English country house and
dealt with the clash between two families, one interested in art and literature,
the other only in business. The book brought together the themes of money,
business and culture. "To trust people is a luxury in which only the wealthy can
indulge; the poor cannot afford it." (from Howards End) Thenovel established
Forster's reputation, and he embarked upon a new novel with a homosexual theme,
MAURICE. The picture of British attitudes not long after Wilde was revised
several times during his life, and finally published posthumously in 1971. His
personal life Forster hid from public discussion. In 1930 he had a relationship
with a London policeman. This important contact continued after...
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