E.M. Forster Books

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E.M. Forster was a writer and a member of the Bloomsbury Group who wrote a handful of novels during his lifetime that are considered classics in English literature.

The following is a list of books by E.M. Forster:

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Where Angels Fear to Tread

Published in 1905, Where Angels Fear to Tread is E.M. Forster’s first novel and is about a group of English men and women living and traveling in Italy.

The plot is about a young Englishman who travels to Italy to rescue his late brother’s wife from an ill-fated romance with an Italian man.

The book explores cultural differences between Italians and the English and snobbery in the English middle class. The title of the book comes from a line in Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism: “For fools rush in where angels fear to tread”.

The book received positive reviews when it was published. A review in the British newspaper, the Daily News, described it as a “remarkable book” and went on to say “it is told with a deftness, a lightness, a grace of touch, and a radiant atmosphere of humour, which mark a strength and capacity giving large promise for the future.”

In 1991, the book was adapted for a British drama starring Helena Bonham Carter, Judy Davis and Rupert Graves.

The Longest Journey

Published in 1907, The Longest Journey is a Bildungsroman about a young college student who dreams of becoming a writer.

The plot is about how the young man wants to be a writer but he eventually gives up on his dream for a more conventional life with his wife, Agnes, and struggles with a series of disappointments in his life.

The book received positive reviews when it was published but it didn’t sell well and is considered to this day to be one of Forster’s lesser works.

A Room With a View

Published in 1908, A Room With A View is a social comedy about a young woman’s struggles against Edwardian attitudes.

The plot is about a young woman who rejects the man her family wants her to marry and instead chooses a socially unsuitable man she meets while visiting Italy. The book’s themes explore the topics of passion, social convention and human nature.

The book was well received when it was published and is considered one of Fortser’s most popular books.

In 1985, the book was adapted for a British romantic drama starring Helena Bonham Carter and Julian Sands.

In 1998, the book made the Modern Library’s list of the 100 Best Novels.

Howards End

Published in 1910, Howards End is about social conventions and relationships in England around the turn of the century.

The plot is about three families from different socio-economic backgrounds in England at the beginning of the 20th century and the double standards, privileges and limitations they experience.

The book is Forster’s most popular novel and is considered by many to be his masterpiece.

In 1992, the book was adapted for a period romantic drama starring Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter and Vanessa Redgrave.

A Passage to India

Published in 1924, A Passage to India is about imperialism and racial tension in colonial India.

The plot is about an Indian man being accused of attempted rape and the tension this causes between the British and the Indians in the town, which tests the growing friendship between two of the main characters.

The novel deals with human relationships while exploring topics such as racism, imperialism and religion.

The book received positive reviews when it was published, sold around 17,000 copies in Britain by the end of 1924 and it won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction in 1924.

Time Magazine listed A Passage to India on its All Time 100 Novels list.

In 1984, the book was adapted for a British historical drama starring Judy Davis and Peggy Ashcroft.

Maurice

Written in 1913 but not published until 1971, a year after Forster’s death, Maurice is a homosexual love story set in early 20th century England.

The plot is a coming of age story about a young man making his way through school before becoming a stock broker and eventually falling in love with another man.

Forster was convinced that the novel could not be published during his lifetime since homosexuality was illegal in England until 1967.

In addition, Forster insisted that the story have a happy ending, which he believed a homophobic society would never accept.

If Forster had condemned the love between the two male characters with a tragic ending it would have been more easily accepted by the general public but it instead celebrated their love, which rendered it taboo.

The book received mixed reviews when it was eventually published and isn’t considered a literary success.

The New York Times described the book as a “work of an exceptional artist working close to the peak of his powers” yet Kirkus Reviews described it as “uninteresting” and stated it was merely “a literary curio.”

In 1987, the book was adapted for a British romantic drama starring Hugh Grant and Rupert Graves.

Sources:
Scott, Laurence. “Laurence Scott: rereading Maurice by EM Forster.” The Guardian, 5 July. 2003, theguardian.com/books/2013/jul/05/rereading-maurice-e-m-forster
Maurice.” British Public Library, bl.uk/works/maurice
Maurice.” Kirkus Review, 23 Sept. 2011, kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/em-forster-2/maurice-2/
A Passage to India By E.M. Forster.” The Guardian, 20 Jun. 1924, theguardian.com/world/1924/jun/20/india.fromthearchive
A Passage to India.” British Library, bl.uk/works/a-passage-to-india
All Time 100 Novels.” Time Magazine, entertainment.time.com/2005/10/16/all-time-100-novels/slide/all/
Kynaston, David. “The Ultimate Lesson of Howards End is Tolerance.” The Guardian, 18 Aug. 2014, theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/18/howards-end-em-forster-classic
100 Best Novels.” Modern Library, modernlibrary.com/top-100/100-best-novels/
A Room With a View.” British Library, bl.uk/works/a-room-with-a-view
A Room With a View Reader’s Guide.” Penguin Random House, penguinrandomhouse.com/books/296528/a-room-with-a-view-by-e-m-forster-introduction-by-wendy-moffat-notes-by-malcolm-bradbury/9780141183299/readers-guide/
The Longest Journey by E.M. Forster.” Penguin Random House, penguinrandomhouse.com/books/54705/the-longest-journey-by-e-m-forster/\
EM Forster’s manuscript draft of Where Angels Fear to Tread.” The British Library, bl.uk/collection-items/e-m-forsters-manuscript-draft-of-where-angels-fear-to-tread
Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster.” Penguin Random House, penguinrandomhouse.com/books/54707/where-angels-fear-to-tread-by-e-m-forster/
Where Angels Fear to Tread.” Simon & Schuster, simonandschuster.com/books/Where-Angels-Fear-to-Tread/E-M-Forster/9781627938778

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