Forster's first three novels are presented here with questions for discussion following each chapter to enhance reader comprehension and encourage a close reading of the text.
"Forster's innovation remains: he allowed the English comic novel the possibility of a spiritual and bodily life, not simply to exist as an exquisitely worked game of social ethics but as a messy human concoction. He expanded the comic novel's ethical space (while unbalancing its moral certainties) simply by letting more of life in . Austen asks for toleration from her readers. Forster demands something far stickier, more shameful: love." - Zadie Smith
Where Angels Fear To Tread is ... a whirlwind that spins around the character of Philip Herriton, who is torn between what he believes is right, and what he has been taught to believe is right. His attraction to the swarthy Gino adds an unspoken layer of tension to that conflict. It's a surprising book because it defies convention, and oscillates between comedy and tragedy. -- Christopher Bryant, Polari Magazine
Forster's second novel, The Longest Journey, is an emotional bildungsroman described by the author himself as the book "I am most glad to have written." The novel follows the character of Rickie Elliot from his Cambridge days through a problematic engagement and involves compelling secondary characters such as the illegitimate half-brother Rickie never knew existed. Lionel Trilling described the novel as "Perhaps the most brilliant, the most dramatic, and the most passionate of [Forster's] works."
A Room With a View has been described as Forster's most optimistic novel. The second of his "Italian novels," it is also his most humorous and is well-deserving of its widespread critical acclaim.
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About the Author
Forster never married and was well-known among his friends to be homosexual. However, he remained celibate until the age of thirty-eight when he visited Egypt and had sex with a wounded soldier he met on the beach. He lived a closeted life, but eventually enjoyed a loving relationship with a married policeman named Bob Buckingham. The two met when Forster was fifty-one, Buckingham twenty-eight, and the relationship lasted forty years. Before meeting Buckingham, Forster had much briefer affairs with another policeman and a bus driver.
Date of Birth:January 1, 1879
Date of Death:June 7, 1970
Place of Birth:London
Place of Death:Coventry, England
Education:B. A. in classics, King's College, Cambridge, 1900; B. A. in history, 1901; M.A., 1910