By Glen Cavaliero (auth.)
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Extra resources for A Reading of E. M. Forster
Deceased Wife's Sister') The good humour of that last remark is irresistible. It is a perfect example of the imaginative common sense which makes Marianne Thornton such a satisfying conclusion to the author's literary career. III The ease and naturalness of the book were qualities that Forster had acquired over fifty years of journalism and occasional writings; his simplicity of approach had also been furthered, not always beneficially, by his teaching at the Working Men's College. But one can trace an evolution from the tiresomely arch mandarin style of his earlier essays in Pharos and Pharillon and Abinger Harvest into the firm outspokenness of the later pieces collected in Two Cheers for Democracy (a title itself perhaps condi tioned by his informal teaching career).
Biographies and Criticism 37 His literary essays are retrospective, written by one who had learned what he could do, not by one who was still an apprentice. He is not a critic in the professional sense, but an artist and a reader: the literary essays are records of enthusiasms and enjoyment. They are similar in inspiration and technique to those of Virginia Woolf, and fall under the same condemnation in certain schools. But, even without a conscious theory, Forster was in fact seeking to record the movement and awareness of life which in their differing ways both Lawrence and Virginia Woolf were also aiming for.
Mannered, a little prim, he is belles-Iettrist in the worst sense. Charm is one of his greatest endowments, but here he uses it as a stock in trade with trivialising effect. All in all, the criticism is (inevitably, given its lack of method) hit or miss; though, unlike much critical writing more forcefully organised and organising, even when it misses it is still pleasurable to read. Significantly, in Two Cheers for Democracy the literary studies occupy less space, and are, with the exception of the long (and excellent) essays on John Skelton, George Crabbe and C.
A Reading of E. M. Forster by Glen Cavaliero (auth.)