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2 August 1984
Selected Letters of E.M. ForsterVol. I: 1879-1920 
edited by Mary Lago and P.N. Furbank.
Collins, 344 pp., £15.95, October 1983, 0 00 216718 2
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... On 10 February 1915 E.M.Forster visited D.H. and Frieda Lawrence at Greatham. The visit went off reasonably well, by the standards appropriate to those participants. The men, according to Forster, ‘had a two hours walk in the glorious country’ between Greatham and Arundel. Lawrence told Forster ‘all about his people – drunken father, sister who married a tailor, etc: most gay and ...

Sly Digs

Frank Kermode: E.M. Forster​ as Critic

25 September 2008
‘The Creator as Critic’ and Other Writings 
by E.M. Forster, edited by Jeffrey Heath.
Dundurn, 814 pp., £45, March 2008, 978 1 55002 522 4
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... This volume contains 30 broadcasts and 40 uncollected essays, talks and lectures written by E.M.Forster between his time as a 19th-century undergraduate and his candid old age, when, in his eighties, he jotted down a memorandum about his sex life. The broadcasts and essays fill about three hundred ...

Connections

D.A.N. Jones

5 March 1987
This Small Cloud: A Personal Memoir 
by Harry Daley.
Weidenfeld, 241 pp., £12.95, February 1987, 0 297 78999 6
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... We are not concerned with the very poor,’ wrote E.M.Forster, with heavy irony. ‘They are unthinkable, and only to be approached by the statistician or the poet.’ He was almost thirty when he wrote this, thinking about the unthinkable, in Howards End. Some ...

Fiction and E.M. Forster

Frank Kermode: At the Cost of Life

10 May 2007
... E.M.Forster wrote a surprising amount of criticism of one kind or another, but he believed that criticism was of almost no use to art or to artists. He certainly regarded himself as an artist, and his own art ...

Cover Stories

Patrick Parrinder

4 April 1985
Lives of the Poets: A Novella and Six Stories 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Joseph, 145 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 7181 2529 0
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The Pork Butcher 
by David Hughes.
Constable, 123 pp., £5.95, April 1984, 0 09 465510 3
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Out of the Blue 
by John Milne.
Hamish Hamilton, 309 pp., £8.95, March 1985, 0 241 11489 6
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... culture, we – this would seem to imply – have the novel; and the more self-consciously civilised among novelists have sometimes been anxious to disclaim the form’s own origins. As E.M.Forster wearily put it, ‘Yes – oh dear yes – the novel tells a story.’ But storytelling will outlive the novel, and it is also elemental to the novel. It is not coincidental that each of the books ...

Here she is

Frank Kermode: Zadie Smith

6 October 2005
On Beauty 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 446 pp., £16.99, September 2005, 0 241 14293 8
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... What makes this novel a bit unusual is that it is conceived as an act of homage to E.M.Forster, ‘to whom’, the author writes, ‘all my fiction is indebted, one way or the other’. The acknowledgment is obscure and ‘one way or the other’ could, but probably doesn’t, mean ‘both by ...

Diary

Julian Barnes: Burning Letters

7 July 1988
... a browser, I poked about in it with some interest, noting, for instance, that most of Susan Hill is in the Susan Hill collection at Eton College Library, and that Andrew Motion wrote a letter to E.M.Forster in ‘?1970’ which is under ‘restricted access’ at King’s College Cambridge. But as a writer, listed – however laconically – in the catalogue, I pondered its two volumes with welling ...

Kinks on the Kinks

Michael Wood: Plots

4 May 2016
Plots 
by Robert Belknap.
Columbia, 165 pp., £22, May 2016, 978 0 231 17782 5
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... The​ king died and then the queen died’ is a story, as E.M.Forster told us long ago. ‘The king died and then the queen died of grief’ is a plot. Another plot, a little more reticent about causality, would be: ‘The king died and the queen married his brother ...
24 June 1993
Daphne du Maurier 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 455 pp., £17.99, March 1993, 0 7011 3699 5
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... apply: subjects, perhaps, whose rank or connections would certainly sell the book but who in any meritocracy would themselves have sunk without trace. Interestingly, the opening paragraph of Margaret Forster’s Daphne du Maurier makes good use of this particular technique: ‘Sheet-lightning split the sky over London on the evening of 12 May 1907 and thunder rumbled long into the night. All day it had ...
18 April 1996
Foreign Country: The Life of L.P. Hartley 
by Adrian Wright.
Deutsch, 304 pp., £17.99, March 1996, 0 233 98976 5
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... The only time L.P. Hartley met E.M.Forster they did not get on. Too much politeness, and mutual wariness. And what a comedy in contrasting physiques: Forster sharp, quizzical and birdlike; Hartley plump, vacant, moustached and apologetic, half walrus and half melting snowman, pipe in mouth. But underneath they had a great deal in common, and chiefly the ...

A Proper Stoic

John Bayley

8 May 1986
Duff Cooper: The Authorised Biography 
by John Charmley.
Weidenfeld, 265 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 297 78857 4
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... and finds her going to a party. He blurts out that he is mortally ill and may not be seeing her again. She ignores this news and gives him a smiling farewell as she gets into her carriage. E.M.Forster thought the scene one of the most odious in the novel, or rather in the Novel, and he seems to assume, rather naively, that Proust is as shocked by the incident as he is. Forster’s reaction ...
5 February 1981
Green Avenue: The Life and Writings of Forrest Reid 1875-1947 
by Brian Taylor.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £12.50, October 1980, 0 521 22801 8
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... had a blustering condescension to Englishmen like myself, and one of the few people whose talk was a relief from this was Forrest Reid, a novelist and critic in his late forties, admired by Yeats, Forster and Walter de la Mare, but almost ignored in his own city at that time. His family had belonged to the merchant class, who were relatively free of the political stubbornness which was extreme among ...

Apocalypse

David Trotter

14 September 1989
The Rainbow 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Mark Kinkead-Weekes.
Cambridge, 672 pp., £55, March 1989, 0 521 22869 7
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D.H. Lawrence in the Modern World 
edited by Peter Preston and Peter Hoare.
Macmillan, 221 pp., £29.50, May 1989, 0 333 45269 0
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D.H. Lawrence and the Phallic Imagination: Essays on Sexual Identity and Feminist Misreading 
by Peter Balbert.
Macmillan, 190 pp., £27.50, June 1989, 0 333 43964 3
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... That E.M.Forster gave only two cheers for democracy, but three for D.H. Lawrence, on the occasion of Lawrence’s death, is well-known. Forster was upset that the lowbrows Lawrence scandalised had joined forces with the highbrows he bored to denigrate ‘the greatest imaginative novelist’ of his generation. A bored highbrow, T.S. Eliot, at ...

Browning Versions

J.I.M. Stewart

5 July 1984
Oscar Browning: A Biography 
by Ian Anstruther.
Murray, 209 pp., £12.50, October 1983, 9780719540783
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... The biography, which appeared in 1927, earned a good deal of informed approbation. Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, who as an undergraduate had been much influenced by O.B., admired it greatly. E.M.Forster, briefly O.B.’s pupil (or at least a reader of essays to him while he slumbered under an enormous red handkerchief), described it in 1934 as ‘one of the best biographies of the last few years ...

Going on the air

Philip French

2 May 1985
Orwell: The War Broadcasts 
edited by W.J. West.
Duckworth/BBC, 304 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 7156 1916 0
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... him highly as a historian of broadcasting. Few of these pieces are without interest, but none is a major contribution to the canon. By far the best piece of writing in the central section is by E.M.Forster, Orwell’s most dedicated contributor. The homosexual author of A Passage to India (serialised in German radio broadcasts to India in 1940 as anti-British propaganda) and the homophobic author of ...

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