Sunday, August 20, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

E. M. Forster (1879 – 1970)


English novelist, short story writer, and essayist.
E. M. Forster
I do not believe in Belief. But this is an Age of Faith, and there are so many militant creeds that, in self defence, one has to formulate a creed of one's own. Tolerance, good temper and sympathy are no longer enough in a world where ignorance rules, and Science, which ought to have ruled, plays the pimp. Tolerance, good temper and sympathy — they are what matter really, and if the human race is not to collapse they must come to the front before long.
Forster quotes
His light blue eyes behind his spectacles were like those of a baby who remembers his previous incarnation and is more amused than dismayed to find himself reborn in new surroundings. He had a baby's vulnerability, which is also the invulnerability of a creature whom one dare not harm.
Forster
I distrust Great Men. They produce a desert of uniformity around them and often a pool of blood too, and I always feel a little man's pleasure when they come a cropper.




Forster E. M. quotes
I wrote it [Maurice] neither for my friends or the public—but because it was weighing on me; and my previous training made me write it as literature, though for a long time I meant to show it no one at all. [...] I am much dependant on criticism and now, backed by you and some others, do feel that I have created something absolutely new, even to the Greeks. Whitman nearly anticipated me but he didn't really know what he was after, or only half knew—shirked, even to himself, the statement.
Forster E. M.
Naked I came into this world, naked I shall go out of it. And a very good thing too, for it reminds me that I am naked under my shirt, whatever its colour.
E. M. Forster quotes
Romance only dies with life. No pair of pincers will ever pull it out of us. But there is a spurious sentiment which cannot resist the unexpected and the incongruous and the grotesque. A touch will loosen it, and the sooner it goes from us the better.
E. M. Forster
One can run away from women, turn them out, or give in to them. No fourth course.
Forster E. M. quotes
Probable that I am now better than most people and as good as I ever shall be at this game, and can therefore get to know anyone I wish, provided I am not physically repellent. And perhaps this is why personal relationships no longer seem to me a serious branch of study.
Forster
Always fatuity, vulgarity, as soon as human passion is touched. [...] Just as some poetry is of the eye (form, colour) and some of the ear, so Keats is of the palate. Not only has he constant reference to its pleasures, but the general sensation after reading him is one of tasting. 'What's the harm?' Well, taste for some reason or the other can't carry one far into the world of beauty—that reason being perhaps that though you don't want comradership there you do want the possibility of comradership, and A cannot swallow B's mouthful by any possibility:....and this exclusiveness (to maunder on) also attaches to the physical side of sex though not the least to the spiritual.
Forster E. M.
My difficulty with working class writes is that they don't make the working class come alive—Leslie Halward is an exception, but as you imply he is not very important. They give me information and they give their comrades gratification, but that's all; gloom, indignation, aspiration in plenty, and plenty of stains on the tablecloth and coal-dust in the mine—but no living beings to experience them.
E. M. Forster
N.B. this book and pensées not important and the temptation to mistake them for Creation must be resisted.




E. M. Forster quotes
We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.
E. M. Forster
The kingdom of music is not the kingdom of this world; it will accept those whom breeding and intellect and culture have alike rejected. The commonplace person begins to play, and shoots into the empyrean without effort, whilst we look up, marvelling how he has escaped us, and thinking how we could worship him and love him, would he but transalate his visions into human words, and his experiences into human actions.
Forster quotes
Hardship is vanishing, but so is style, and the two are more closely connected than the present generation supposes.
Forster E. M.
The only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves.
Forster E. M. quotes
If God could tell the story of the Universe, the Universe would become fictitious.
E. M. Forster
Before the civil war, Pottibakia was a normal member of the Comity of Nations. She erected tariff walls, broke treaties, persecuted minorities, obstructed at conferences unless she was convinced there was no danger of a satisfactory solution; then she strained every nerve in the cause of peace.
E. M. Forster quotes
Then she generated the light, and the sight of her room, flooded with radiance and studded with electric buttons, revived her. There were buttons and switches everywhere — buttons to call for food for music, for clothing. There was the hot-bath button, by pressure of which a basin of (imitation) marble rose out of the floor, filled to the brim with a warm deodorized liquid. There was the cold-bath button. There was the button that produced literature. and there were of course the buttons by which she communicated with her friends. The room, though it contained nothing, was in touch with all that she cared for in the world.
E. M. Forster
Think before you speak is criticism's motto; speak before you think is creation's.
Forster E. M.
I had an interesting day's reading yesterday, with the sudden sensaton of being in close contact with what I was reading. [...] But as for reading how curious it is: all these books, their lore of the ages, waiting to be embraced but usually slipping out of one's nerveless hands on to the floor. When one reads properly it is as if a third person is present.


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