Two Cheers for Democracy
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Two Cheers for Democracy

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  83 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Essays that applaud democracy's toleration of individual freedom and self-criticism and deplore its encouragement of mediocrity: "We may still contrive to raise three cheers for democracy, although at present she only deserves two."
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 24th 1962 by Mariner Books
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One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life, and it is therefore essential that they should�not let one down. They often do. The moral of which is that I must, myself, be as reliable as possible, and this I try to be. But reliability is not a matter of contract - that is the main difference between the world of personal relationships and the world of business relationships. It is a matter for the heart, which signs no documents. In other words, reliability is i...more
A pleasurable, low-key book that could easily be read in an afternoon or two. I liked the shorter essays better. The Forster that speaks here is middle class and comfortable, and you imagine him sitting in a library. He is a humanist and moderate social reformer who is always trying to see things from the other person's point of view. He is curious about other cultures and places, and a "free-thinker" in the British tradition - i.e. tolerant and kind, artistic and literate, flexible, some might...more
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed some of these essays. "What I Believe" contains one of my favorite quotes from literature: "What is so wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it, towards the condition of the man who wrote, and brings to birth in us also the creative impulse. Lost in the beauty where he was lost, we find more than we ever threw away, we reach what seems to be our spiritual home, and remember that it was not the speaker who was in the beginning but...more
E.M. Forster's literary output is more than Merchant-Ivory films might have you think. This collection of Forster's generally light-hearted but thoughtful prose from the 1930s through the 1950s records the myriad ways in which two wars and an uncertain peace affected European social, political, and literary culture. His keen-eyed observations gives contemporary readers a clear-eyed perspective on the changes wrought by the passing years both at home and abroad.
I had started reading this only for the "What I Believe" essay, but couldn't put it down. It is witty and insightful and I am finding myself laughing out loud while reading it. After having to read Forster for a Literature class, I am finding him to be a new favorite author of mine. He is a very fascinating man and views and ideas very close to my own.
i can think of few authors i would rather listen to babble on about religion and culture and literature and being nice to each other, dammit. sure, there are some essays on specific authors that i wasn't as interested in, but just to read his description of how much virginia woolf loved the act of writing balanced all that out.

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Edward Morgan Forster, "E.M.", was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. His humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: "Only connect".

He had five novels published in...more
More about E.M. Forster...
A Room with a View Howards End A Passage to India Maurice Where Angels Fear to Tread

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“I believe in aristocracy, though -- if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secreat understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others as well as themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but power to endure, and they can take a joke.” 39 likes
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