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February 2014

ENGLISH READING CLUB

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E.M. FORSTER A room with a view


E.M. FORSTER (1 January 1879, Marylebone, England– 7 June 1970, Coventry, England)

-------------------------------- BIOGRAPHY Edward Morgan Forster was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. Forster was an only child, born into an Anglo-Irish and Welsh middle-class family, in London. His father, an architect, died before his second birthday. In 1887, he inherited ÂŁ8,000 from his paternal great-aunt, which was enough to live on and enabled him to become a writer. He studied at King's College, Cambridge, between 1897 and 1901. There he became a member of a discussion society, of which many members later constituted what came to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. Forster was a peripheral member of the group in the 1910s and 1920s. After leaving university, he travelled in continental Europe with his mother. In 1914, he also visited Egypt and India. He would spend a second spell in India in the early 1920s working as the private secretary to the Maharajah of Dewas. The Hill of Devi is his non-fictional account of this period. In the First World War, as a conscientious objector, Forster volunteered for the International Red Cross, and served in Alexandria, Egypt. In the 1930s and 1940s he became a successful broadcaster on BBC Radio. Forster was President of the Cambridge Humanists from 1959 until his death. His views as a humanist are at the heart of his work. His humanist attitude is expressed in the non-fictional essay What I Believe. In Forster's words: "The humanist has four leading characteristics - curiosity, a free mind, belief in good taste, and belief in the human race." Sexuality is another key theme in Forster's works. Some critics have argued that a general shift from heterosexual to homosexual love can be observed through the course of his writing career. The foreword to Maurice describes his struggle with his homosexuality, while he explored similar issues in several volumes of short stories. Forster's explicitly homosexual writings, the novel Maurice and the short story collection The Life to Come, were published shortly after his death.


----------------------------------SELECTED WORKS

Novels ♦ Where Angels Fear to Tread, 1905. ♦ The Longest Journey,1907. ♦ A Room with a View, 1908. ♦ Howards End,1910. ♦ A Passage to India,1924. ♦ Maurice, 1913–14, published posthumously in 1971.


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room with a view (1908)

A Room with a View is a 1908 novel about a young woman in the repressed culture of Edwardian era England. Set in Italy and England, the story is both a romance and a critique of English society at the beginning of the 20th century. The main themes of this novel include repressed sexuality, freedom from institutional religion, growing up and true love. Forster also contrasts the symbolic differences between Italy and England. He idealized Italy as a place of freedom and sexual expression. Italy promised raw, natural passion that inspired many Britons at the time who wished to escape the constrictions of English society. While Lucy is in Italy her views of the world change dramatically. A Room with a View is Forster's most romantic and optimistic book. He uses many of his trademark techniques, including contrasts between "dynamic" (those whose ideas and inner-self develop or change in the plot) and "static" characters (characters that remain constant).


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