Friday, January 13, 2012

A Classics Challenge: E.M. Forster

November's Autumn is hosting A Classics Challenge and this month's prompt is on authors. As I just finished A Room with A View for this challenge (thoughts coming Monday!) and plan to read Howard's End this year, it was interesting to learn a little more about E.M. Forster.

Level 1

Who is the author? What do they look like? When were they born? Where did they live? What does their handwriting look like? What are some of the other novels they've written? What is an interesting and random fact about their life?

E.M. Forster was Anglo-Irish and Welch but was born in London in 1879. He was a "peripheral" member of the Bloosmbury Group, although he seems to have a quite different writing style, maybe because he would have been a little older than the writers that were part of that group that I'm most familiar with. He volunteered for the Red Cross during WWI, going to Egypt.

Level 2

What do you think of their writing style? What do you like about it? or what would have made you more inclined to like it? Is there are particular quote that has stood out to you?

I found Forster's writing style very accessible and not too stuffy. I liked, but I think I'll save my thoughts on this for my review post on Monday.
Level 3

Why do you think they wrote this novel? How did their contemporaries view both the author and their novel?

Forster wanted to explore class distinctions and how they affect society, and how they were becoming more fluid. Forster wrote during a major time of tranistion, when we were moving from the Victorian to the modern period and I think he needed to write about that change.
As far as reception goes, I thought this bit from Wikipedia was interesting: "In the United States, interest in, and appreciation for, Forster was spurred by Lionel Trilling's E. M. Forster: A Study, which began:
E. M. Forster is for me the only living novelist who can be read again and again and who, after each reading, gives me what few writers can give us after our first days of novel-reading, the sensation of having learned something (Trilling 1943)."


  1. I've read a few by Forster, but not A Room with a View. I'm hoping to get to it this year. I like this writing style too. It's graspable, but it makes you think.

  2. Great to hear more about this writer. I have yet to read one of his novels, but I've heard good things. :D

  3. I read A Passage to India for school and liked it. It examines India's affect on the English. Looking forward to your thoughts on Forster.

  4. I love Room with a View. Where Angels Fear to Tread is quite gripping, too!