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Quotations From E.M. (EDWARD MORGAN) FORSTER


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  • History develops, art stands still.
    E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster (1879-1970), British novelist, essayist. Aspects of the Novel, ch. 9 (1927).

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  • The strong are so stupid.
    E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster (1879-1970), British novelist, essayist. "What I Believe," pt. II (1939), in Two Cheers for Democracy (1951).
  • Ulysses ... is a dogged attempt to cover the universe with mud, an inverted Victorianism, an attempt to make crossness and dirt succeed where sweetness and light failed, a simplification of the human character in the interests of Hell.
    E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster (1879-1970), British novelist, essayist. "Fantasy," ch. 6, Aspects of the Novel (1927). Forster also called Ulysses "perhaps the most interesting literary experiment of our day."

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  • It will be generally admitted that Beethoven's Fifth is the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man.
    E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster (1879-1970), British novelist, essayist. Howards End, ch. 5 (1910).
  • Love and understand the Italians, for the people are more marvellous than the land.
    E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster (1879-1970), British novelist, essayist. Philip Herriton, in Where Angels Fear to Tread, ch. 1 (1905). This advice to Philip's sister-in-law Lilia was taken literally by her: his real views emerged when she decided to marry an Italian.

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  • Not only in sex, but in all things men have moved blindly, have evolved out of slime to dissolve into it when this accident of consequences is over.
    E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster (1879-1970), British novelist, essayist. Maurice, ch. 22 (1971). Completed 1914, revised later.
  • Either life entails courage, or it ceases to be life.
    E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster (1879-1970), British novelist, essayist. Pharos and Pharillon, "The Poetry of C.P. Cavafy," in the Pharillon section (1923).

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  • Love is always being given where it is not required.
    E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster (1879-1970), British novelist, essayist. letter, Dec. 5, 1914, to Syed Ross Masood. Selected Letters of E.M. Forster, vol. 1, eds. Mary Lago and P. N. Furbank (1983).

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  • Ideas are fatal to caste.
    E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster (1879-1970), British novelist, essayist. A Passage to India, pt. 1, ch. 7 (1924).
  • Very notable was his distinction between coarseness and vulgarity (coarseness, revealing something; vulgarity, concealing something).
    E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster (1879-1970), British novelist, essayist. The Longest Journey, ch. 26 (1907). On Anthony Eustace Failing's Essays.
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