Synopses & Reviews
E. M. Forster once described The Longest Journey
as the book "I am most glad to have written." An introspective novel of manners at once comic and tragic, it tells of a sensitive and intelligent young man with an intense imagination and a certain amount of literary talent. He sets out full of hope to become a writer, but gives up his aspirations for those of the conventional world, gradually sinking into a life of petty conformity and bitter disappointments.
Trilling described THE LONGEST JOURNEY as perhaps the most brilliant, the most dramatic, and the most passionate of E.M. Forster's works. Certainly it's the most autobiographical -- but its form confuses many. Full of sudden death, hopeless love, and quaintly doomed relationships -- and yet for all that, it's an enormously engaging work. It was Forster's own favorite of his works; he felt that in Stephen he had created a living being.
Rickie Elliot, a sensitive and intelligent young man with an intense imagination and a certain amount of literary talent, sets out from Cambridge full of hopes to become a writer. But when his stories are not successful, he decides instead to marry the beautiful but shallow Agnes, agreeing to abandon his writing and become a schoolmaster.
About the Author
Edward Morgan Forster
was born in London in 1879, attended Tonbridge School as a day boy, and went on to King’s College, Cambridge, in 1897. With King’s he had a lifelong connection and was elected to an Honorary Fellowship in 1946. He declared that his life as a whole had not been dramatic, and he was unfailingly modest about his achievements. Interviewed by the BBC on his eightieth birthday, he said: ‘I have not written as much as I’d like to . . . I write for two reasons: partly to make money and partly to win the respect of people whom I respect . . . I had better add that I am quite sure I am not a great novelist.’ Eminent critics and the general public have judged otherwise and in his obituary The Times
called him ‘one of the most esteemed English novelists of his time’.
He wrote six novels, four of which appeared before the First World War, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907), A Room with a View (1908), and Howard’s End (1910). An interval of fourteen years elapsed before he published A Passage to India. It won both the Prix Femina Vie Heureuse and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Maurice, his novel on a homosexual theme, finished in 1914, was published posthumously in 1971. He also published two volumes of short stories; two collections of essays; a critical work, Aspects of the Novel; The Hill of Devi, a fascinating record of two visits Forster made to the Indian State of Dewas Senior; two biographies; two books about Alexandria (where he worked for the Red Cross in the First World War); and, with Eric Crozier, the libretto for Britten’s opera Billy Budd. He died in June 1970.
Gilbert Adair, writer, film critic, and journalist, is the author of Love and Death on Long Island, among other novels.