Allan's Reviews > E. M. Forster

E. M. Forster by Richard Canning
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Feb 22, 12

bookshelves: early, reviewer, book, in, 2010

Brief Lives: E.M. Forster, while under a hundred pages, is not slight. It is rich, informative, compact, and everything a good biography needs to be. Published by Hesperus Press, Richard Canning’s life of the author of A Passage to India and A Room With a View helps us understand how Forster, who wrote his last novel in 1924 and died in 1970 filled that span with a full life of critical writing, world travel (often in the company of his mother) and a never-ending search for love with a capital L. [return][return]He continued to write throughout his life but just not the great novel people hoped for and expected. He despised Hollywood and persistently refused to allow his books to be filmed. His libretto for Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd, was first performed in 1951 to critical acclaim. He corresponded with the vast cast of friends and acquaintances including J.R. Ackerley, Christopher Isherwood, C.P. Cavafy, T.E.Lawrence and many others. He lectured at Cambridge and wrote commentary for the BBC. He kept busy.[return][return]His inner life was a mixture of joy and sorrow. He was never willing to admit publicly to his homosexuality, partially because of the repressive laws of Britain at the time, but also to protect his overpowering (and long-lived) mother Lily. An early novel, Maurice, with it’s gay themes, would never be published in his lifetime. The foreword to Maurice describes his struggle with his own homosexuality.[return][return]His humanistic viewpoint led him to continually explore the themes of class differences.
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