Wednesday, October 23, 2019 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
She might yet be able to help him to the building of the rainbow bridge that should connect the prose in us with the passion. Without it we are meaningless fragments, half monks, half beasts, unconnected arches that have never joined into a man. With it love is born, and alights on the highest curve, glowing against the grey, sober against the fire. Happy the man who sees from either aspect the glory of these outspread wings. The roads of his soul lie clear, and he and his friends shall find easy-going.
Forster quotes
Pathos, piety, courage, — they exist, but are identical, and so is filth. Everything exists, nothing has value.
Forster
Two Cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three.




Forster E. M. quotes
The story of the Fall always fascinates me as a play ground, but I cannot find any profound meaning in it, because of my 'liberal' view of human nature: I cannot believe in a state of original innocence, still less in a profound meaning in it, and I am always minimising the conception and the extent of Sin and the sinfulness of sex.
Forster E. M.
She began to speak, but waited a moment for the maid to clear away the tea. In the waning light her room seemed gentle and grey, and there hung about it an odour (I do not write ‘the odour’) of Roman Catholicism, which is assuredly among the gracious things of the world. It was the room of a woman who had found time to be good to herself as well as to others; who had brought forth fruit, spiritual and temporal; who had borne a mysterious tragedy not only with patience but actually with joy.
E. M. Forster quotes
I have very strongly of late the wish that others may be as sensitive as myself and the fear that they will not be. Colleague Sir Frank Adcock stumped by the sunset-portent unheeding. And I can't arge that I gain, or that others would gain, anything for humanity by observing and recording what went on for a few moments in the sky on Boar Race evening. I sometimes pretend to myself that I am public-spirited. I am not. I am an hedonist who wants pleasant sensations. On the other hand I am not the usual type of hedonist, for I want sensations to be had – if not by myself, then by someone else. The show shouldn't end with my death, which becomes a minor boo-hoo.
E. M. Forster
A mirror does not develop because an historical pageant passes in front of it. It only develops when it gets a fresh coat of quicksilver — in other words, when it acquires new sensitiveness; and the novel's success lies in its own sensitiveness, not in the success of its subject matter.
Forster E. M. quotes
Faith, to my mind, is a stiffening process, a sort of mental starch, which ought to be applied as sparingly as possible.
Forster
If human nature does alter it will be because individuals manage to look at themselves in a new way. Here and there people — a very few people, but a few novelists are among them — are trying to do this. Every institution and vested interest is against such a search: organized religion, the state, the family in its economic aspect, have nothing to gain, and it is only when outward prohibitions weaken that it can proceed: history conditions it to that extent.
Forster E. M.
A wonderful physical tie binds the parents to the children; and — by some sad, strange irony — it does not bind us children to our parents. For if it did, if we could answer their love not with gratitude but with equal love, life would lose much of its pathos and much of its squalor, and we might be wonderfully happy.
E. M. Forster
Laughing at mankind is rather weary rot, I think. We shall never meet with anyone nicer. Nature, whom I used to be keen on, is too unfair. She evokes plenty of high & exhausting feelings, and offers nothing in return.




E. M. Forster quotes
I am the means and not the end. I am the food and not the life. Stand by yourself, as that boy has stood. I cannot save you. For poetry is a spirit; and they that would worship it must worship in spirit and in truth.
E. M. Forster
A man does not talk to himself quite truly — not even to himself: the happiness or misery that he secretly feels proceeds from causes that he cannot quite explain, because as soon as he raises them to the level of the explicable they lose their native quality. The novelist has a real pull here. He can show the subconscious short-circuiting straight into action (the dramatist can do this too); he can also show it in its relation to soliloquy. He commands all the secret life, and he must not be robbed of this privilege. "How did the writer know that?" it is sometimes said. "What's his standpoint? He is not being consistent, he's shifting his point of view from the limited to the omniscient, and now he's edging back again." Questions like this have too much the atmosphere of the law courts about them.
Forster quotes
I grudged her nothing except my company. But it has gone further, like the degradation of rural England: this afternoon (Sunday in April) all the young men had women with them in far-flung cameradeie. If women ever wanted to be by themselves all would be well. But I don't believe they ever want to be, except for reasons of advertisement, and their instinct is never to let men be by themselves. This, I begin to see, is sex-war, and D.H.L. has seen it, in spite of a durable marriage, and is far more on the facts than Bernard Shaw and his Life Force.
Forster E. M.
A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself.
Forster E. M. quotes
Your letter firmed me up a lot. It certainly is a comfort to know that my work is respected by someone whom I respect and am as fond as you. It confirms my beliefe that life is notall nonsense and cruelty—the inversion of Victorian complacency—but has hard spots of sense and love bobbing about in it here and there.
E. M. Forster
A humanist has four leading characteristics — curiosity, a free mind, belief in good taste, and belief in the human race.
E. M. Forster quotes
This conversation taught me that some of us can meet reality on this side of the grave. I do not envy them. Such adventures may profit the disembodied soul, but as long as I have flesh and blood I pray that my grossness preserve me. Our lower nature has its dreams. Mine is of a certain farm, windy but fruitful, half-way between the deserted moorland and the uninhabitable sea. Hither, at rare intervals, she should descend and he ascend, to shatter their spiritual communion by one caress.
E. M. Forster
The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society was eternal.
Forster E. M.
Peacefulness to be found in writing. Why do I not write every day? Partly because I feel I ought to write well and know I can't. But that is not a good enough reason for not writing, if it gains me poise & peace.


© 2009–2013Quotes Privacy Policy | Contact