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A Room with a View ; and, Howards Endby Edward Morgan Forster
Synopses & Reviews
Edward Morgan Forster was born at 6 Melcombe Place, Dorset Square, London, on January 1, 1879, into a middle-class Victorian family of Anglo-Irish and Welsh ancestry. His father, an architect, died a year and a half after the boy's birth, and Forster was raised by a bevy of female relatives--including a beloved great aunt who left him a legacy of úuacute;8,000. Possibly the most important aspect of his early life was his residence with his mother at Rooksnest, a cozy house in Hertfordshire that became the model for Howards End. But the family had to leave Rooksnest for Tonbridge so that Forster could attend school. There he enrolled as a day boy at the Tonbridge School--memorably depicted as the hellish Sawston School in Forster's second novel, The Longest Journey (1907)--only to be despised by boarders who viewed him as an enemy of the public school regard for leadership and team spirit.
By contrast, Cambridge University proved to be an inspiring milieu for Forster. At King's College he became a member of the Cambridge Conversazione Society, a nucleus of young men who passionately debated moral, intellectual, and aesthetic issues--and who were later active as London's Bloomsbury group. Speculative discussion, social change, and, above all, personal relationships were considered of central importance. ('I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country, ' he later wrote.) It was also while at Cambridge that Forster began the process of his emotional and sexual maturation.
Forster had no particular career in mind upon graduation from King's College in 1901, although he had begun writing short stories. He was soon able to satisfy his social conscience by teaching Latin at the well-known Working Men's College in Bloomsbury. And then--as was de rigueur in his circle--Forster embarked with his mother on momentous cultural tours of Italy and Greece. A vivid diarist, he filled his journals with observations (and pages of dialogue) of moralizing English tourists who colonized the pensioni and small hotels. Over the next decade, in a burst of creative energy, he used these notebooks to write Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) and A Room with a View (1908). Forster succeeded at once with these two novels about bourgeois Edwardians who discover their feelings and attain self-completion through liberating journeys abroad. But it was the publication of Howards End (1910) that secured his reputation as both a comic and profound novelist. The quintessential 'Bloomsbury novel, ' it eloquently addresses the question, Who shall inherit England?
After Howards End, Forster experienced great difficulty in writing long fiction, although he did produce short stories and literary criticism. (He also made a fateful journey to India to immerse himself in Indian sights and life.) The society he had captured so well in his novels had begun to disintegrate; furthermore, Forster lost interest in hetero-sexually oriented narratives and became preoccupied with writing Maurice, his novel about a homosexual love affair. It was a disastrous step in a novelist's life because the book was unpublishable under British law. (Maurice was post-humously published in 1971.) While working for the Red Cross in Egypt during World War I, Forster defied barriers of both class and race to
Two novels examining Edwardian English society tell of the dilemma of Lucy Honeychurch who must decide whether to follow her heart or to follow the expectations of her snobbish guardians, and recounts the conflicts between the wealthy Wilcox family and the idealistic Schlegel sisters
This collection of stories paints a clear, vibrant portrait of life in Edwardian England, addressing romantic entanglements, disappearing wills, and sudden tragedy in a symbolic struggle for England's very future.
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