Cambridge University Press
978-0-521-83475-9 - The Cambridge Companion to - E. M. Forster Edited - by David Bradshaw


This new collection of essays, each one by a recognised expert, both brings Forster studies up to date and provides lively and innovative readings of every aspect of his wide-ranging career. It includes substantial chapters dedicated to his two major novels, Howards End and A Passage to India, and further chapters focus on A Room With a View and Maurice. Forster’s connections with the values of Bloomsbury and the lure of Greece and Italy in his work are assessed, as is his vexed relationship with Modernism. Other essays investigate his role as a literary critic, the status of his work within the genres of the novel and the short story, his treatment of sexuality, and his attitude to and representation of women. This is the most comprehensive study of Forster’s work to be published for many years, providing an invaluable source of comment on, and insight into, his writings.

DAVID BRADSHAW is Reader in English Literature at Oxford University and Hawthornden Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford. Among other volumes, he has edited The Hidden Huxley, Decline and Fall, The Good Soldier, Brave New World, Women in Love, Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Concise Companion to Modernism and, with Kevin J. H. Dettmar, A Companion to Modernist Literature and Culture. He is a Fellow of the English Association and the post-Romantic period Editor of the Review of English Studies.





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  Notes on contributors page vii
  Chronology xi
  List of abbreviations xvii
  Introduction 1
1   Forster’s life and life-writing 8
2   Bloomsbury and other values 32
3   Forster and England 47
4   Hellenism and the lure of Italy 62
5   Forster and the short story 77
6   Forster and the novel 92
7   Forsterian sexuality 104
8   Forster and women 120
9   A Room with a View 138
10   Howards End 151
11   Maurice 173
12   A Passage to India 188
13   Forster and modernism 209
14   Forster as literary critic 223
15   Filmed Forster 235
16   Postcolonial Forster 254
  Guide to further reading 274
  Index 281


ANN ARDIS is Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities and Professor of English at the University of Delaware. She is the author of Modernism and Cultural Conflict, 1880–1922 (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and New Women, New Novels: Feminism and Early Modernism (Rutgers University Press, 1990). With Leslie Lewis, she has edited Women’s Experience of Modernity, 1875–1945 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002); with Bonnie Kime Scott, she has edited Virginia Woolf: Turning the Centuries (Pace University Press, 2000).

HOWARD J. BOOTH is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Manchester. He has co-edited Modernism and Empire with Nigel Rigby (Manchester University Press, 2000) and is the author of many articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and culture.

DAVID BRADSHAW is Reader in English Literature at Oxford University and Hawthornden Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford. Among other volumes, he has edited The Hidden Huxley, Decline and Fall, The Good Soldier, Brave New World, Women in Love, Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Concise Companion to Modernism (Blackwell, 2003) and, with Kevin J. H. Dettmar, A Companion to Modernist Literature and Culture (Blackwell, 2006). He is a Fellow of the English Association and the post-Romantic period Editor of the Review of English Studies.

PETER CHILDS is Professor of Modern English Literature at the University of Gloucestershire. He has published widely on twentieth-century literature and on E. M. Forster, Ian McEwan, and Paul Scott in particular. His books include Modernism (Routledge, 2000), Post-Colonial Theory and English Literature ( Edinburgh University Press, 1999), and A Sourcebook on ‘A Passage to India’ (Routledge, 2002). He is currently preparing a monograph on the subject of modernism and the postcolonial.

GARY DAY is a Principal Lecturer in English at de Montfort University, where he teaches drama, the eighteenth century, and modernism. He is the author of Re-Reading Leavis: Culture and Literary Criticism (Macmillan, 1996) and Class (2001). He is writing a monograph on the history of literary criticism and is a columnist for the Times Higher Education Supplement.

jane goldman lectures in English and American literature at the University of Dundee and is a General Editor of the Cambridge University Press Edition of the Writings of Virginia Woolf. Her recent publications include Modernism, 1910–1945: Image to Apocalypse (Palgrave, 2004) and The Cambridge Introduction to Virginia Woolf (Cambridge University Press, 2006). She is editing Woolf’s To the Lighthouse for Cambridge, and writing a book called Virginia Woolf and the Signifying Dog.

DOMINIC HEAD is Professor of Modern English Literature at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of The Modernist Short Story (Cambridge University Press, 1992), Nadine Gordimer (Cambridge University Press, 1994), J. M. Coetzee (Cambridge University Press, 1997) and The Cambridge Introduction to Modern British Fiction, 1950–2000 (Cambridge University Press, 2002). Most recently, he has edited the third edition of The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English (Cambridge University Press, 2006). A book on Ian McEwan is forthcoming from Manchester University Press.

JUDITH SCHERER HERZ is Professor of English at Concordia University in Montreal. She is the author of The Short Narratives of E. M. Forster (Macmillan, 1987) and A Passage to India: Nation and Narration (Twayne, 1993), as well as articles on, among others, Forster, Leonard Woolf, Milton, and Donne, including an essay in The Cambridge Companion to John Donne. She has been President of the John Donne Society and of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE).

MARCIA LANDY is Distinguished Service Professor of English and Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Her publications include Fascism in Film: The Italian Commercial Cinema, 1930–1943 (Princeton University Press, 1986); British Genres: Cinema and Society 1930–1960 (Princeton University Press, 1991); Imitations of Life: A Reader on Film and Television Melodrama (Wayne State University Press, 1991); Film, Politics, and Gramsci (University of Minnesota Press, 1994); Queen Christina (with Amy Villarejo) (BFI, 1995); Cinematic Uses of the Past (University of Minnesota Press, 1996); The Folklore of Consensus: Theatricality in Italian Cinema, 1930–1945 (State University of New York Press, 1998); Italian Film (Cambridge University Press, 2000); The Historical Film (Athlone, 2001): History and Memory in Media (Rutgers University Press, 2001); Stars: The Film Reader (with Lucy Fischer) (Routledge, 2003); and Monty Python’s Flying Circus (Wayne State University Press, 2005).

CHRISTOPHER LANE, Professor of English at Northwestern University, is the author of The Ruling Passion (Duke University Press, 1995), The Burdens of Intimacy (University of Chicago Press, 1999), and Hatred and Civility: The Antisocial Life in Victorian England (Columbia University Press, 2004, 2006). He is also the editor of The Psychoanalysis of Race (Columbia University Press, 1998) and a co-editor of Homosexuality and Psychoanalysis (University of Chicago Press, 2001), and is currently completing a book on early modernism and secular transfiguration.

ELIZABETH LANGLAND specialises in Victorian literature, feminist and gender theory, cultural studies, and theory of the novel. She is the author or editor of eight books and numerous articles, among them Telling Tales: Gender and Narrative Form in Victorian Literature and Culture (Ohio State University Press, 2002) and Nobody’s Angels: Middle-Class Women and Domestic Ideology in Victorian Culture (Cornell University Press, 1995). She joined the faculty of Purchase College in August 2004 as Professor of Literature and Cultural Studies and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. She was previously Professor of English at the University of California, Davis.

DAVID MEDALIE is a Professor in the Department of English at the University of Pretoria. His research interests lie chiefly in the areas of Modernism and South African literature. In 2002, his book on E. M. Forster, E. M. Forster’s Modernism, was published by Palgrave. His other publications include a collection of short stories, The Shooting of the Christmas Cows. His debut novel, The Shadow Follows, was published in 2006.

PETER MOREY is Reader in English Literature at the University of East London. He is the author of Fictions of India: Narrative and Power (Edinburgh University Press, 2000), Rohinton Mistry (Manchester University Press, 2004), and co-editor (with Alex Tickell) of Alternative Indias: Writing, Nation and Communalism (Rodopi, 2006). He has also published numerous essays and articles on colonial and postcolonial literature, especially pertaining to India.

PAUL PEPPIS is Associate Professor of English Literature and Culture at the University of Oregon. He is the author of Literature, Politics, and the English Avant-Garde (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and has published articles on a range of twentieth-century authors, including Ford Madox Ford, Wyndham Lewis, Mina Loy, and Gertrude Stein. He is currently at work on a book entitled, Sciences of Modernism: Sexology, Psychology, and Anthropology.

MAX SAUNDERS is Professor of English at King’s College, London University, where he teaches modern English, European, and American literature. He is the author of Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, 2 vols. (Oxford University Press, 1996), the editor of Ford’s Selected Poems, War Prose, and (with Richard Stang) Critical Essays (Carcanet, 1997, 1999, 2002), and has published essays on many other Modernist authors, and on Life-writing and Impressionism.

RANDALL STEVENSON is Professor of Twentieth-Century Literature in the University of Edinburgh. His publications include The British Novel since the Thirties (Batsford, 1986), Modernist Fiction (Prentice Hall, 1998), Oxford English Literary History vol. XII: 1960–2000The Last of England? (Oxford University Press, 2004), and The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Literatures in English, edited with Brian McHale (Edinburgh University Press, 2006). He is General Editor of the Edinburgh History of Twentieth-Century Literature in Britain series, to be published by Edinburgh University Press.


1879   Edward Morgan Forster born at 6, Melcombe Place, Dorset Square, London NW1 on 1 January, the only child of Edward Morgan Llewellyn Forster, an architect, and Alice Clara ‘Lily’, née Whichelo.
1880   Father dies of tuberculosis on 30 October.
1883   Two years of temporary lodgings and house-hunting come to an end when he moves with his mother to ‘Rooksnest’, the original for the eponymous Howards End, just outside Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
1887   Beginning of his formal education under a local schoolmaster. Bequeathed the large sum of £8,000 in trust by Marianne Thornton, his paternal great-aunt, who dies on 5 November.
1890   Enters Kent House, a preparatory school in Eastbourne, Sussex, where he will stay until 1893. Maurice Hall’s prep school in Maurice is also situated in a south coast ‘watering-place’ near the downs.
1893   Mother moves from ‘Rooksnest’ to Tonbridge in Kent when her lease on the cottage is not renewed. Forster attends Tonbridge School as a day-boy, where he is bullied and generally unhappy, until 1897. Herbert Pembroke vilifies the day-boys of Sawston School (based on Tonbridge) in The Longest Journey and one boy is mercilessly bullied.
1897   Enters King’s College, Cambridge, where he will remain until 1901 and where he first reads classics and then history.
1898   He and his mother move from Tonbridge to 10, Earl’s Road, Tunbridge Wells, also in Kent. Back at King’s, he begins to form a friendship with Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, one of the most important relationships of his life.
1900   Takes Second in the Classical Tripos, Part I. He remains at King’s for a further year studying history.
1901   Elected in February to the ‘Apostles’, an exclusive University society which primarily concerned itself with philosophical and moral questions. His friendships with Leonard Woolf, Lytton Strachey, J. M. Keynes, and others are forged through it. His first paper is entitled ‘Are Crocodiles the Best of Animals?’. He takes a second in the Historical Tripos, Part II. In October he embarks on a year-long tour of Italy with his mother. Many incidents and people from this trip find their way into Where Angels Fear to Tread, A Room with a View, and his short fiction such as ‘The Story of a Panic’ and ‘The Eternal Moment’.
1902   Soon after returning to England he begins giving a weekly Latin class at the Working Men’s College, Great Ormond Street, Bloomsbury, London.
1903   Visits Italy, Greece, and Turkey in the spring and early summer. Gives his first series of Cambridge University extension (extramural) lectures in the autumn and works intermittently on what would become A Room with a View. His first published story, ‘Albergo Empedocle’, appears in December.
1904   Works on, and by the end of the year almost finishes, Where Angels Fear to Tread. Moves with his mother to a suburban villa called Harham on Monument Green, Weybridge, Surrey. This will remain their home until 1924.
1905   Spends six months (March to August) in Pomerania, Germany, working as a private tutor. First novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread, is published on 5 October to much praise.
1907   The Longest Journey published on 16 April. Good press reviews but adverse criticism from the likes of Lytton Strachey. His friendship with a young Indian student, Syed Ross Masood, whom he met in 1906 and who is now an undergraduate at Oxford, begins to intensify.
1908   Commences occasional work as a University of London extramural lecturer in January and continues to lecture at the Working Men’s College. Howards End begins to take shape from around June. Visits Italy again. Third novel, A Room with a View, is published on 14 October, once again to laudatory reviews but to less than buoyant sales. Begins reading the Koran with difficulty and falls more deeply in love with Masood.
1910   Howards End published on 18 October in London (and three months later in New York). His most successful novel to date, both critically and commercially, it is reprinted four times before the end of the year. Tells Masood he loves him in December.
1911   The Celestial Omnibus, his first collection of short stories, published in the spring. Begins to write stories with explicitly homoerotic themes in the summer, a number of them collected posthumously in The Life to Come and Other Stories (1972). Vacations in Italy with Masood. Begins work on what was eventually published as ‘Arctic Summer: Fragment of an Unfinished Novel’ in 1963 and more fully as Arctic Summer and Other Fiction (1980). In October, gives last extension lectures until 1922.
1912   Departs in October, with Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, for his first visit to India. Travels widely and will remain there until April 1913. Becomes friendly with the Maharaja of Dewas State Senior. These experiences later find their way into A Passage to India (1924) and The Hill of Devi (1953).
1913   Growing sense of creative drought only intensifies on his return from India, even though he makes good progress with A Passage to India in the immediate aftermath of his trip to the subcontinent. In September he meets the openly homosexual and intensely progressive Edward Carpenter for the first time and this inspires him to begin work on Maurice. By the end of the year, A Passage to India has been set aside.
1914   Maurice substantially completed by July but not published until 1971. Renewed and deepening anxiety about the failure of his creative energies and his role in life. The outbreak of the First World War in August only exacerbates these feelings. Works in National Gallery (London) until 1915 as a cataloguer.
1915   Begins working for the Red Cross’s Wounded and Missing Bureau in Alexandria, Egypt, in November. He continues in this position until 1918.
1917   Appointed the Red Cross’s Head Searcher in Egypt.
1919   Leaves Alexandria in January. Begins reviewing for the Daily News, Daily Herald, Athenaeum, and other papers and journals in March.
1920   Appointed literary editor of the Daily Herald at the beginning of the year but soon gives it up.
1921   Returns to India in March to take up the position of private secretary to the Maharaja of Dewas, remaining there until January 1922. Sees a good deal of Masood during this sojourn in India.
1922   Recommences writing A Passage to India. Completes ‘The Life to Come’, but does not attempt to publish this explicitly homosexual story. Alexandria: A History and a Guide published in Alexandria in December.
1923   Pharos and Pharillon: A Novelist’s Sketchbook of Alexandria through the Ages published on 15 May in London and 30 July in New York.
1924   His last novel, A Passage to India, published on 4 June to unanimous critical acclaim. Friendships with T. E. Lawrence (‘Lawrence of Arabia’), Thomas Hardy, and J. R. Ackerley developing.
1925   Moves with his mother to West Hackhurst, Abinger Hammer, near Dorking, Surrey, in January. Also rents a flat in London. Begins his Commonplace Book (published in 1985) in October.
1926   Begins his affair with a London policeman, Harry Daley.
1927   Delivers Clark Lectures at Cambridge University from January to March, published on 20 October as Aspects of the Novel.
1928   Second collection of short stories, The Eternal Moment, published on 27 March in London and 19 April in New York.
1929   He is fifty on 1 January. At end of June leaves for three-month tour of southern Africa.
1930   26, Brunswick Square becomes his London base until 1939. Begins his lifelong relationship with Bob Buckingham, another London policeman.
1932   Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson dies on 3 August. Bob Buckingham gets married to May Hockey on 31 August with Forster as witness. Is now broadcasting regularly on BBC radio as well as continuing to review frequently for journals such as the Listener.
1934   Becomes first President of the National Council for Civil Liberties, forerunner of the modern day Liberty organisation, in March. His homage to his friend, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, published on 19 April in London and 7 June in New York.
1935   T. E. Lawrence killed in a motorcycle accident in May. Addresses International Writers’ Congress in Paris in June.
1936   First volume of essays, Abinger Harvest, published on 19 March in London and 30 April in New York.
1938   Publication of the first critical book on his work, Rose Macaulay’s The Writings of E. M. Forster.
1939   Moves from Brunswick Square to 9, Arlington Park Mansions in Chiswick, London.
1940   Broadcasts anti-Nazi talks on BBC. Continues to broadcast regularly for the BBC and to write for a range of publications throughout the Second World War.
1945   Mother dies on 11 March aged ninety. Broadcasting career continues. Visits India for the third and final time during last three months of this year.
1946   Elected to an Honorary Fellowship of King’s College, Cambridge, in January and takes rooms there for the remainder of his life in November, while retaining his flat in Chiswick.
1947   Leaves for a tour of the USA on 14 April and remains there until July. The Collected Tales of E. M. Forster published on 10 July in New York and the following year in London.
1949   Returns to USA in May to lecture accompanied by Bob Buckingham. Is offered a knighthood but declines.
1951   Two Cheers for Democracy published on 1 November. Première of Billy Budd, the opera by Benjamin Britten for which he writes the libretto with Eric Crozier, on 1 December.
1953   Made a Companion of Honour. The Hill of Devi and Other Indian Writings published in October.
1954   Seventy-five on 1 January. Still reviewing widely and frequently.
1956   Marianne Thornton, 1797–1887: A Domestic Biography published in May.
1969   Ninety on 1 January. Awarded the Order of Merit.
1970   Dies in Coventry on 7 June at the home of Bob and May Buckingham. As a humanist, his ashes are scattered on a nearby rose garden.
1971   Maurice published on 7 October. Albergo Empedocle and Other Writings appears in the same month.
1972   The Life to Come and Other Stories published.
1980   Arctic Summer and Other Fiction published.
1999   The Prince’s Tale and Other Uncollected Writings published.


AE Albergo Empedocle and Other Writings, ed. George H. Thomson (New York: Liveright, 1971)
AH Abinger Harvest and England’s Pleasant Land, ed. Elizabeth Heine, vol. 10 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: André Deutsch, 1996)
AN Aspects of the Novel and Related Writings, ed. Oliver Stallybrass, vol. 12 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: Edward Arnold, 1974)
AS Arctic Summer and Other Fiction, eds. Elizabeth Heine and Oliver Stallybrass, vol. 9 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: Edward Arnold, 1980)
GLD Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson and Related Writings, ed. Oliver Stallybrass, vol. 13 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: Edward Arnold, 1973)
HD The Hill of Devi and Other Indian Writings, ed. Elizabeth Heine, vol. 14 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: Edward Arnold, 1983)
HE Howards End, ed. Oliver Stallybrass, vol. 4 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: Edward Arnold, 1973)
LC The Life to Come and Other Stories, ed. Oliver Stallybrass, vol. 8 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: Edward Arnold, 1972)
LJ The Longest Journey, ed. Elizabeth Heine, vol. 2 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: Edward Arnold, 1984)
M Maurice, ed. Philip Gardner, vol. 5 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: André Deutsch, 1999)
MS The Machine Stops and Other Stories, ed. Rod Mengham, vol. 7 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: André Deutsch, 1997)
MT Marianne Thornton, ed. Evelyne Hanquart-Turner, vol. 15 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: André Deutsch, 2000)
PI A Passage to India, ed. Oliver Stallybrass, vol. 6 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: Edward Arnold, 1978)
PT The Prince’s Tale and Other Uncollected Writings, ed. P. N. Furbank, vol. 17 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: André Deutsch, 1998)
RV A Room with a View, ed. Oliver Stallybrass, vol. 3 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: Edward Arnold, 1977)
TCD Two Cheers for Democracy, ed. Oliver Stallybrass, vol. 11 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: Edward Arnold, 1972)
WAFT Where Angels Fear to Tread, ed. Oliver Stallybrass, vol. 1 of The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster (London: Edward Arnold, 1975)

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