Aspects of the Novel

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Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985 - Literary Criticism - 176 pages
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A highly original and intelligent investigation of the novel from celebrated writer and “gentle genius” E. M. Forster

 

E. M. Forster’s renowned guide to writing sparkles with wit and insight for contemporary writers and readers. With lively language and excerpts from well-known classics, Forster takes on the seven elements vital to a novel: story, people, plot, fantasy, prophecy, pattern, and rhythm. He not only defines and explains such terms as “round” versus “flat” characters (and why both are needed for an effective novel), but also provides examples of writing from such literary greats as Dickens and Austen. Forster's original commentary illuminates and entertains without lapsing into complicated, scholarly rhetoric, coming together in a key volume on writing that avoids chronology and what he calls “pseudoscholarship.”

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About the author (1985)

Edward Morgan Forster was born on January 1, 1879, in London, England. He never knew his father, who died when Forster was an infant. Forster graduated from King's College, Cambridge, with B.A. degrees in classics (1900) and history (1901), as well as an M.A. (1910). In the mid-1940s he returned to Cambridge as a professor, living quietly there until his death in 1970. Forster was named to the Order of Companions of Honor to the Queen in 1953. Forster's writing was extensively influenced by the traveling he did in the earlier part of his life. After graduating from Cambridge, he lived in both Greece and Italy, and used the latter as the setting for the novels Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) and A Room with a View (1908). The Longest Journey was published in 1907. Howard's End was modeled on the house he lived in with his mother during his childhood. During World War I, he worked as a Red Cross Volunteer in Alexandria, aiding in the search for missing soldiers; he later wrote about these experiences in the nonfiction works Alexandria: A History and Guide and Pharos and Pharillon. His two journeys to India, in 1912 and 1922, resulted in A Passage to India (1924), which many consider to be Forster's best work; this title earned the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Forster wrote only six novels, all prior to 1925 (although Maurice was not published until 1971, a year after Forster's death, probably because of its homosexual theme). For much of the rest of his life, he wrote literary criticism (Aspects of the Novel) and nonfiction, including biographies (Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson), histories, political pieces, and radio broadcasts. Howard's End, A Room with a View, and A Passage to India have all been made into successful films.