F is for Forster


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Edward Morgan Forster was born in 1879 in London and at the age of 8 inherited a large sum of money (nearly £700,000 at todays rates) from an aunt. This enabled him to attend University and pursue his dream of being a writer.

The first of the 5 novels he completed (Where Angels Fear To Tread; The Longest Journey; A Room With A View; Howards End; A Passage to India; Maurice) was published when he was 26, but he was still working up until his death at the age of 91, leaving an unfinished manuscript (Arctic Summer). His biggest success was with the novel “A Passage To India” which stemmed from his love of the country, which he first visited after he left University. He returned again to India in the early 1920’s and in the 30’s and 40’s he was a well-known broadcaster on BBC Radio.

His novels and numerous short stories remain popular today and generally deal with class differences but also with elements of sexuality and symbolism.

My favourite E M Forster quotes:

“One always seems to overpraise a long book, because one has got through it.”

“Only a writer who has the sense of evil can make goodness readable.”

“I have only got down onto paper, really, three types of people: the person I think I am, the people who irritate me, and the people I’d like to be.”

“The king died then the queen died is a story. The king died, then the queen died of grief, is a plot.”

Forster was a “pantster” and liked his writing to happen, rather than approach it planned. “How do I know what I think unless I see what I say?”

I am again, ashamed to say that this is yet another author, who’s work I haven’t read (although I do have a copy of Maurice on my huge pile of books in the bedroom), but I have at least seen the film adaptation of A Room With A View lol. I found it interesting what Forster says about a large book. I personally just tend to avoid anything that has over 350 pages!

Are you a fan of huge tomes? Or do you avoid them like I do? 😉

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47 thoughts on “F is for Forster

  1. Okay, this is getting “weird” … EM Forster’s A Room With a View was my second book club selection this year. My club loved him, although some didn’t “get” it. A Room With a View is a loving complex character driven story. It is a romance novel. It’s history, romance, the complexities of relationships and it’s great reading.

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  2. I read them , but might take a pass with Austen and Bronte. Truman was one I avoided. However, when you got to D, E, and F … you nailed me. Love, love these guys. Now I am curious who will be G?? Oh yeah, stop avoiding long books. You will miss out not only on some of the greatest classics, but some great modern fantasy or historicals. Think of it as the difference between a weekend trip or a one month stay 🙂

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    • He he he, glad you approve! Its been so hard trying to decide which author to go for, but, i decided, in the end, to go for ones i can learn from 🙂

      I know i know! The Hubster says the same Florence. But i think its because i read so slow that i avoid them, because i know i’ll be reading the same book for a couple of months! lol

      Thanks honey 🙂

      xx

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  3. Forced to study Howard’s End for A level so should have ended up hating it, but fell in love instead, especially like his strong, intelligent women. The film with Helen Bonham Carter and Emma Thompson pretty faithful to the book (but a book can go lots of places a film can’t…)

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  4. like his books very much – esp. passage to India (like the country too:) prefer big books if I’m buying – like a lot for my money! no am very swift reader so big books don’t intimidate – just look on them as two or three books – you are missing some amazing books out there – those which need the time put in. Complexity and a real drawing in to worlds – new resolution for you – give them a go:) great posts.

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  5. A Passage to India really is a good book – worth adding to your pile, Vikki – and so is A Room With a View. My daughter had to read Where Angels Fear to Tread earlier this year for AS level and it’s maybe not quite as accessible as the other two – I had to read some aloud to her just to help her make sense of it. I love the atmosphere he creates in his books – you really feel as though you are there. As for great big tomes – if it’s Jilly Cooper, I’ll definitely plough through it and be thoroughly miserable when I’ve finished it. Some books you just want to be long!

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    • Thanks Bel, you make them sound so memorable! I LOVE memorable novels, something that will stay with you long after you’ve finished. I haven’t read anything like that in a long while 😦

      Ahhhh, yeah, i can see that….i will DEFINITELY be giving a HUGE tome a chance soon 🙂

      xx

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  6. How odd, I always thought E M Forster was a woman! There’s definitely a delicacy in his writing, this was a really interesting blog, thank you! I used to like huge books because if they were good, they promised hours and hours of pleasure. Then they started getting too heavy for comfort but now thanks to kindles I will consider them again 🙂

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    • Hi honey 🙂

      He he he, well you learnt something today then, good! 🙂 Im learning a lot too lol

      Thats a good point, and one of the reasons I’ve always avoided hardbacks. Im not an eBook fan, but i can definitely see the benefits when reading the 600 pagers.

      xx

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  7. I have Where Angels Fear to Tread somewhere…Started reading it, but put it down and can’t remember where! You’ve reminded me I must look for it! lol!

    I LOVE big books – huge fan of Dumas’s Counte of Monte Cristo. I lugged that tome around with me for a month reading it on my 40m commute to work and back – because I refused to e-book it! I devour books when I can, so a long one always sees me through….I always hate leaving good characters at the end of a great read, so the longer it is the more time I get to spend with them! 😉

    Keep up the fab A-Z Vikki – really enjoying the quotes section you put in. x

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    • He he he….hope you find it 😉

      Awwwww, bless you! I bet it was a bit dog eared by the time you’d finished? 😉

      Thanks honey! Im really enjoying doing it, I’m learning a lot!

      xx

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  8. Recently read Howards End and really enjoyed it, not that his books are as lengthy as Dickens by any stretch of the imagination.
    like your theme, have enjoyed reading back over your other posts.

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    • Hi Martine 🙂

      Thank you so much!

      Its been hard work (and will be til the end no doubt) but im thoroughly enjoying it….not sure The Hubster is though, knowing all the books i’ll be adding to my collection lol 😉

      xx

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  9. I just finished the first two Game of Thrones books. I think they were like 800 pages each. It took a lot to get through them, but it was worth it. I’ve never heard of Forster, but I like the quotes. Great post for the A to Z challenge!

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  10. Just dipping into some A-Z challengers. I love your theme, so glad I came across you. For some reason I’ve never got round to reading Forster’s novels though he’s a great short story writer. There’s no such thing as a long book if the book hooks you in.

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  11. I tried soooooo hard to get into “Passage to India,” but I just couldn’t do it! Ugh! How I tried though. I like his quotes about writing, though. You know how to pick the good ones 🙂

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  12. I love that first quote: “One always seems to overpraise a long book, because one has got through it.” I recently finished D. McCullough’s Truman, and wanted to boast, er…I mean share about it to anyone who would listen.

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  13. Vicki,
    I’ve been away from my blog and my WP reader for a few weeks so I need to go back and read your posts on A-E! I have to admit that I have never actually read Forster though I do have three of his books on my shelves waiting for me, and I saw the movie version of A Room with a View. 🙂 I really appreciate his distinction between story and plot! Now off to backtrack and catch up on your series.
    Cheryl

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    • Hi Cheryl, hope you’ve been putting your feet up 😉

      Awwwww, thanks honey 🙂

      What im discovering with all these authors is that i know their work, could list their novels, but have never actually read one. Im beginning to wonder why? I even have copies of their books on my shelves. I can see a new challenge coming on at the end of this challenge lol 😉

      xx

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  14. I’m ashamed to confess I mix up E M Forster and Graham Greene when it comes to their short stories. I haven’t read his novels, but I don’t know why not… just always busy reading other things I suppose. I must change that. Thanks for the reminder – he sounds like my kind of writer!
    Happy A to Z-ing
    Jemima at Jemima’s blog

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  15. I should read some Forster too. I’m beginning to think I’m more of a pantser than I thought I was, and it seems I might be in good company! 🙂

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  16. Yes, I am a major fan of huge tomes, think Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, Crime and Punishment, A Tale of Two Cities, and War and Peace. It may take a long time to read them, but you immerse yourself in the era, the character development, the mood, the history and the suspense.

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    • Crime & Punishment is on my list 😉

      It’s soooo annoying! So many fantastic books and only so many hours in a day lol

      Thanks honey, I’m going to TRY not to avoid them in future 🙂

      Xx

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