English novelist E. M. Forster OM, CH was Born 1st January 1879. He was also a 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 had a humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy. His 1908 novel, A Room with a View, is his most optimistic work, while A Passage to India (1924) brought him his greatest success.Howards End tells a story of social and familial relations in turn-of-the-century England. Howards End is generally considered to be Forster’s masterpiece. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Howards End 38th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
A Room with a View is 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. Merchant-Ivory produced an award-winning film adaptation in 1985. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked A Room with a View 79th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.The first part of the novel is set in Florence, Italy, It features a young woman named Lucy Honeychurch who is touring Italy with her overbearing older cousin and chaperone, Charlotte Bartlett. At their hotel, “The Pension Bertolini.”they meet Mr. Emerson and his son, George Emerson, and also meet an Anglican clergyman named Mr. Beebe. The next day, Lucy embarks on a tour of Florence with another guest, Miss Eleanor Lavish, a novelist who shows Lucy the back streets of Florence and subsequently loses her in Santa Croce, where Lucy meets the Emersons again and while in Santa Croce Lucy sees the seedy underbelly of Florence and faints but George Emerson catches her, As a result Lucy takes a bit of a shine to George. Lucy decides to avoid George, partly because she is confused by her feelings and partly to keep her cousin happy. Later at, a party made up of Beebe, Eager, the Emersons, Miss Lavish, Miss Bartlett and Lucy Honeychurch make their way to Fiesole In the fields, Lucy asks her driver where Mr. Beebe is. Misunderstanding, he leads her to a field where George stands. George is overcome by Lucy’s beauty among a field of violets and kisses her, but they are interrupted by Lucy’s outraged cousin. The two women leave for Rome the next day before Lucy is able to say goodbye to George.
The second part starts off in Rome, where Lucy spends time with Cecil Vyse, who proposes to Lucy but is rejected. When Lucy returns to Surrey, England to her family home, Windy Corner. Cecil proposes again , and she accepts. Despite Cecil being a sophisticated and “superior” Londoner who is desirable in terms of rank and class; he is slightly comical figure. The vicar, Mr. Beebe, announces that new tenants have leased a local cottage; the new arrivals turn out to be the Emersons. Lucy’s brother, Freddy, meets George and invites him to go skinny dipping in a nearby pond with himself and Mr Beebe. They are interrupted by Lucy, her mother, and Cecil. Freddy later invites George to play tennis at Windy Corner. Although Lucy is initially mortified, she resolves to be gracious. George catches Lucy alone in the garden and kisses her again. Lucy subsequently breaks off her engagement to Cecil and decides to flee and encounters Mr. Emerson senior who finds out Lucy has been in love with his son George all along.
In some books, an appendix to the book is given entitled “A View without a Room,” written by Forster in 1958 as to what occurred between Lucy and George after the events of the novel. It is Forster’s afterthought of the novel, and he quite clearly states that “I cannot think where George and Lucy live.” They were quite comfortable up until the end of the war, with Charlotte Bartlett leaving them all her money in her will, but World War I ruined their happiness according to Forster. George became a conscientous objector, lost his government job but was given non-combatant duties to avoid prison, leaving Mrs Honeychurch deeply upset with her son-in-law. Mr Emerson died during the course of the war, shortly after having an argument with the police about Lucy continuing to play Beethoven during the war. Eventually they had three children, two girls and a boy, and moved to Carshalton. Despite them wanting to move into Windy Corner after the death of Mrs Honeychurch, Freddy sells the house becoming an unsuccessful but prolific doctor.”After the outbreak of World War II, George immediately enlisted as he saw the need to stop Hitler and the Nazi regime but he unfortunately was not faithful to Lucy during his time at war. Lucy was left homeless after her flat in Watford was bombed and the same happened to her married daughter in Nuneaton. George rose to the rank of corporal but was taken prisoner by the Italians in Africa. Once Italy fell George returned to Florence finding it “in a mess” but he was unable to find the Pension Bertolini, stating “the View was still there and that the room must be there, too, but could not be found.”
Howard’s End concerns three families in England at the beginning of the 20th century: the Wilcoxes, rich capitalists with a fortune made in the Colonies; the half-German Schlegel siblings (Margaret, Tibby, and Helen), who have much in common with the real-life Bloomsbury Group; and the Basts, a struggling couple in the lower-middle class. The Schlegel sisters try to help the poor Basts and try to make the Wilcoxes less prejudiced. The Schlegels frequently encounter the Wilcoxes. The youngest, Helen, is attracted to the younger Wilcox brother, Paul. The eldest, Margaret, becomes friends with Paul’s mother, Ruth Wilcox. Ruth’s most prized personal possession is her family house at Howards End. She wishes that Margaret could live there, as her own husband and children do not value the house and its rich history, So Ruth, who is terminally ill, bequeaths the cottage to Margaret causing great consternation among the Wilcoxes. So Mrs Wilcox’s widowed husband, Henry, and his children decide not to tell Margaret about her inheritance.Not knowing about the inheritance, free-spirited Margaret becomes friends with Henry Wilcox and eventually marries him.
However Henry’s elder son Charles and his wife try to keep Margaret from taking possession of Howards End. Helen tells Leonard Bast to quit his respectable job as a clerk at an insurance company. Bast then loses his tenuous hold on financial solvency. and Helen tries to help young Leonard Bast. Sadly it all goes terribly wrong when it is revealed that Bast’s wife had an affair with Henry in Cyprus ten years previously and abandoned her. Margaret confronts Henry about his ill-treatment. In a moment of pity for the poor, doomed Leonard Bast, Helen has an affair with him and leaves England to travel through Germany, but eventually returns to England when she receives news of her Aunt Juley’s illness but refuses to meet with Margaret but is tricked into a meeting at Howards End Henry and Margaret plan an intervention with a doctor, thinking Helen’s evasive behavior is a sign of mental illness. When they come upon Helen at Howards End, they also discover the pregnancy. Margaret tries in vain to convince Henry to forgive Helen. Unaware of Helen’s presence Mr. Bast arrives at Howards End wishing to speak with Margaret, whereupon Henry’s son, Charles, attacks him, and accidentally kills him, Charles is charged with manslaughter and sent to jail for three years. The ensuing scandal and shock cause Henry to reevaluate his life…
A Passage to India (1924) is set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. It was selected as one of the 100 great works of English literature by the Modern Library and won the 1924 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Time magazine included the novel in its “100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005″. The novel is based on Forster’s experiences in India. E.M.Forster borrowed the book’s title from Walt Whitman’s poem Leaves of Grass.The story revolves around Dr. Aziz, his British friend Mr. Cyril Fielding, Mrs. Moore, A young British schoolmistress, Adela Quested, and her elderly friend, Mrs. Moore, who visit the fictional city of Chandrapore, British India. Adela is to marry Mrs. Moore’s son, Ronny Heaslop, the city magistrate. Meanwhile, Dr. Aziz, a young Indian Muslim physician meets Mrs Moore at his favourite mosque. Mrs. Moore tells Ronny Heaslop about Dr Aziz. Adela, Meanwhile attends a party held by Mr. Turton, the city tax collector, where she meets Cyril Fielding, headmaster of Chandrapore’s government-run college for Indians. Fielding then invites Adela and Mrs. Moore to a tea party with himself, a Hindu-Brahmin professor named Narayan Godbole and Dr. Aziz. At Fielding’s tea party, Fielding and Aziz become great friends
Aziz Takes Mrs. Moore and Adela to see the Marabar Caves, a distant cave complex. In the first cave, however, Mrs. Moore is overcome with claustrophobia. Afterwards Fielding, Mrs. Moore, and Aziz return to Chandrapore on the train. When the train arrives At the train station, Dr. Aziz is arrested and charged with sexually assaulting Adela in a cave. She reports the alleged incident to the British authorities.The run-up to Aziz’s trial for attempted sexual assault releases the racial tensions between the British and the Indians. The only actual evidence the British have is the field glasses in the possession of Dr. Aziz. Despite the British colonists assertion that Aziz is guilty Fielding believes Aziz is innocent as do the Indians, who consider the assault allegation a fraud aimed at ruining their community’s reputation. Mrs. Moore also suspects Aziz is innocent. Ronny, alarmed by his mother’s assertion that Aziz is innocent, arranges for her to return by ship to England however she dies during the voyage.
E.M.Forster’s novels including Howard’s End, Passage to India and a Room with a View, continue to remain popular and have also been adapted for Stage, Screen and Television numerous times.