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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 ...

Escaping from Belfast

V.S. Pritchett, 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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... 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 the industrialists and their workers. He himself was ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine, 3 December 1981

The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... as are made about the private lives of Harold and Vita, Somerset Maugham, Joe Orton and E.M. Forster add nothing that is new: they are informative but not titillating. On the other hand, the statement that Nancy Astor’s friendship with Lord Lothian was ‘always regarded as platonic’ is merely salacious innuendo: it is titillating but not ...


Stephen Wall, 16 March 1989

The Art of the Novel 
by Milan Kundera, translated by Linda Asher.
Faber, 165 pp., £9.95, June 1988, 0 571 14819 0
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Adult Pleasures: Essays on Writers and Readers 
by Dan Jacobson.
Deutsch, 144 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 233 98204 3
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... and the finest critical intelligence, but lesser if still considerable writers, such as E.M. Forster (whose Aspects of the Novel has proved so strangely durable) and Ford Maddox Ford, may have much to offer. Ford’s chatty and opinionated The English Novel from the Earliest Days to the Death of Joseph Conrad (1930) contains many sweeping and unscholarly ...

Frank Kermode

Mary-Kay Wilmers: On Frank Kermode, 9 September 2010

... you really mean you would slog up here to have lunch with me’). Although Concerning E.M. Forster was published earlier this year and he’d been working on it for some time, the default suggestion when asked what he would like said about him in his contributor’s note was ‘FK exists in Cambridge.’ ‘Please use it again,’ he would say on the ...


Peter Robb, 20 June 1985

Selected Letters of E.M. ForsterVol. I: 1879-1920, Vol. II: 1921-1970 
edited by Mary Lago and P.N. Furbank.
Collins, 344 pp., £15.95, October 1983, 0 00 216718 2
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... value they may tell us, of what there is that makes their publication more than merely intrusive. Forster lived a long time, and there’s some sorry reading in the second of these volumes. To Joe Ackerley in 1947 from the USA: ‘the view from the window is the Californian desert, mistaken by me for the Nevadan ... we seem to have reached Nevada after all ...

True Science

M.F. Perutz, 19 March 1981

Advice to a Young Scientist 
by P.B. Medawar.
Harper and Row, 109 pp., £4.95, February 1980, 0 06 337006 9
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... offers a safe niche where you can spend a quiet life classifying spiders, away from what E.M. Forster called the world of telegrams and anger. To the ambitious poor, science offers a way to fame or reasonable wealth that needs no starting capital other than good brains and prodigious energy. In answer to the question ‘What shall I do research ...

The Miners’ Strike

Michael Stewart, 6 September 1984

... industrial disputes. It grips like a thriller. It is partly the question – identified by E.M. Forster as a simple but fundamental aspect of the novel – of what happens next. Will other unions be drawn in? Will we be into power cuts by Christmas? What will Mrs Thatcher do then? It is partly – to take another of ...

To arms!

Patrick Parrinder, 20 March 1997

The Doll 
by Boleslaw Prus, translated by David Welsh.
Central European University, 683 pp., £9.99, September 1996, 1 85866 065 3
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... which he took out of the box at the beginning of the novel, and shut away again at the end. E.M. Forster spoke of round and flat characters, as if they were two types of doll; the flat ones could be made lifelike by shaking them vigorously. The gulf between childhood toys and adult reading is bridged by fantasy tales such as Pinocchio, where the puppet comes ...

Into Council Care

John Bayley, 6 July 1995

Elizabeth Bowen and the Dissolution of the Novel 
by Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle.
Macmillan, 208 pp., £35, December 1994, 0 333 60760 0
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... were a reassurance and a bulwark, like sitting an exam with a lot of other candidates. (E.M. Forster liked to imagine novelists from all periods all writing together in the same room.) Conscious Modern (nothing to do with the Modernist movement of course) was much rarer because harder to do. A good writer in this genre, such as Martin Amis, succeeds in ...

The Human Frown

John Bayley, 21 February 1991

Samuel Butler: A Biography 
by Peter Raby.
Hogarth, 334 pp., £25, February 1991, 0 7012 0890 2
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... bad writing? But if Kipling or Wells might in their own ways have done Erewhon better, and E.M. Forster The Way of All Flesh, that does not affect Butler’s influence and individuality, his power to create himself as ‘master of his life’. It is significant that Virginia Woolf’s praise was for what was to become – had already become – the ...

The Purser’s Tale

Frank Kermode, 5 April 1984

Home and Dry: Memoirs III 
by Roy Fuller.
London Magazine Editions, 165 pp., £8.95, February 1984, 0 904388 47 6
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... Schmidt’s or even the White Tower with the likes of Joe Ackerley, John Lehmann and, once, E.M. Forster. Though a virtual civilian, he remembers getting demobbed at Olympia, choosing from the millions of pinstriped suits and raincoats, one of which proved, in his thrifty hands and posh language, ‘longevous’. And I should like here to mention that about ...

Abel the Nomad

Bruce Chatwin, 22 November 1979

Desert, Marsh and Mountain 
by Wilfred Thesiger.
Collins, 304 pp., £9.95
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... give his prose the character of an ancient epic or saga. Even plodding passages, full of what E.M. Forster called ‘those dreadful Oriental names’, will suddenly break into images of great beauty that suggest far more than they state: ‘The sun was on the desert rim, a red ball without heat,’ ‘The wind blew cold off dark water and I heard waves lapping ...

Holy Terrors

Penelope Fitzgerald, 4 December 1986

‘Elizabeth’: The Author of ‘Elizabeth and her German Garden’ 
by Karen Usborne.
Bodley Head, 341 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 370 30887 5
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Alison Uttley: The Life of a Country Child 
by Denis Judd.
Joseph, 264 pp., £15.95, October 1986, 0 7181 2449 9
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Richmal Crompton: The Woman behind William 
by Mary Cadogan.
Allen and Unwin, 169 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 04 928054 6
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... existed, apart from the great pines and lilacs which were there already, seems doubtful. E.M. Forster, who came as tutor to the children, declared that he could not find it. But it was certainly at Nasserheide that she created the new version of herself – witty, elegant, formidable, sensual, aristocratic, impayable. Resentment at her marriage and ...

Clive’s Clio

Hugh Tulloch, 8 February 1990

Not by Fact Alone: Essays on the Writing and Reading of History 
by John Clive.
Collins Harvill, 334 pp., £15, October 1989, 0 00 272041 8
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... his loose economic principles and his childlessness in the doctrine of present gratification; E.M. Forster could muster only two cheers for the democratic state, reserving three alone for ‘Love the Beloved Republic’. Subversive stuff, all this, to Professor Himmelfarb and to our own age of economic austerity, which seems to require a similar austerity in ...

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