Alexandria is a city which has haunted and inspired its visitors for over 2,000 years. Here, two of its best-known celebrants provide a view of Alexandria's present through the window of its past. Written during World War I, and later revised, this is Forster's tribute to Alexandria--a combined history of the city and a practicaql guide for the visitor. This annotated edition contains not only the first translation of Constantine Cavafy's famous poem "The God Abandons Antony" but also a specially commissioned ...
Alexandria is a city which has haunted and inspired its visitors for over 2,000 years. Here, two of its best-known celebrants provide a view of Alexandria's present through the window of its past. Written during World War I, and later revised, this is Forster's tribute to Alexandria--a combined history of the city and a practicaql guide for the visitor. This annotated edition contains not only the first translation of Constantine Cavafy's famous poem "The God Abandons Antony" but also a specially commissioned introduction by Lawrence Durrell, who recounts his recent return to the city that served as a backdrop for the Alexandria Quartet.
Written during World War I and later revised, this is Forester's tribute to Alexandria, which has haunted and inspired its visitors for over 2,000 years.
One of the foremost British writers of the 20th century, E. M. Forster (1879-1970) is best known for his novels examining class differences in British society during the twilight years of Empire. The colonial experience influenced his psyche, as did the encroachment of modernity and the infiltration of urban forces upon rural England. His father died when he was an infant and Forster lived with his mother for much of his life. One of his most formative epochs was his sojourn at King’s College, Cambridge with its emphasis on classicalism, the arts and liberal studies. Here Forster’s parameters, cultural and spiritual, began to expand, and in Cambridge commenced the deeper formation and emancipation of his individuality. He was a member of the Apostles, a secret society that in later years sprouted into the Bloomsbury Group. For Forster travel engendered an element of self-becoming and, of a kind, salvation—just as wanderings and the experience of Britain’s far-flung Empire influenced so many of his countrymen; T. E. Lawrence comes to mind, and later, Sir Wilfred Thesiger. Forster’s immersion into colonial life was more fleeting and fringe-like than theirs, and in photographs he perhaps appears somewhat less accustomed in his turban than they in keffiyehs. Nevertheless, the parochialism of his upper-middle-class English culture began to fall away. Awarenesses and curiosities hitherto dormant became insistent as provincialism’s mirrors began to crumble away. His years in Egypt engendered his travel classic ALEXANDRIA: A HISTORY AND A GUIDE. On a tramline he met a young conductor, Mohammed el Adl; thus ensued a romance that, apparently, held gratifications for each. Forster’s connection with el Adl revealed and prefigured a predilection for seeking fulfilment beyond the confines of class; one could say that, for Forster, the affair was the realization of the Maurice/Scudder affair in Maurice. ALEXANDRIA is the little known exotic jewel in Forster’s oeuvre.
Edward Morgan Forster was born in London in 1879, attended Tonbridge School as a day boy, and went on to King's College, Cambridge, in 1897. With King's he had a lifelong connection and was elected to an Honorary Fellowship in 1946. He declared that his life as a whole had not been dramatic, and he was unfailingly modest about his achievements. Interviewed by the BBC on his eightieth birthday, he said: "I have not written as much as I'd like to... I write for two reasons: partly to make money and partly to win the respect of people whom I respect... I had better add that I am quite sure I am not a great novelist." Eminent critics and the general public have judged otherwise and in his obituary The Times called him "one of the most esteemed English novelists of his time."
He wrote six novels, four of which appeared before the First World War, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907), A Room with a View (1908), and Howard's End (1910). An interval of fourteen years elapsed before he published A Passage to India. It won both the Prix Femina Vie Heureuse and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Maurice, his novel on a homosexual theme, finished in 1914, was published posthumously in 1971. He also published two volumes of short stories; two collections of essays; a critical work, Aspects of the Novel; The Hill of Devi, a fascinating record of two visits Forster made to the Indian State of Dewas Senior; two biographies; two books about Alexandria (where he worked for the Red Cross in the First World War); and, with Eric Crozier, the libretto for Britten's opera Billy Budd. He died in June 1970.