A Passage to India

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Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989 - British - 362 pages
In this Readers' Guide, Betty Jay considers the establishment of Forster's reputation and the various attempts of critics to decipher the complex codes that are a feature of his novel. Successive chapters focus on debates around Forster's liberal-humanism, with essays from F. R. Leavis, Lionel Trilling and Malcolm Bradbury; on the indeterminacy and ambiguity of the text, with extracts from essays by Gillian Beer, Robert Barratt, Wendy Moffat and Jo-Ann Hoeppner Moran; and on the sexual politics of Forster's work, with writings from Elaine Showalter, Frances L. Restuccia and Eve Dawkins Poll. The Guide concludes with essays from Jeffrey Meyers and Jenny Sharpe, who read A Passage to India in terms of its engagement with British imperialism.

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About the author (1989)

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.

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