Download E. M. Forster's Modernism by David Medalie PDF

By David Medalie

E.M. Forster's Modernism is the 1st precise and accomplished research into Forster's courting to Modernism. A clean and unique learn, it situates Forster's fiction inside of a number of early twentieth Century contexts: socio-political, frequent and aesthetic. It advances the argument that Forster's fiction embodies a big strand inside of modernism and in doing so makes the case for a brand new definition and interpretation of 'modernism'.

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Extra info for E. M. Forster's Modernism

Example text

It is also not sufficiently attentive to the idea of necessary consequence, as indicated by Mr Jackson’s ordering severe punishments and then failing to ensure that they are carried out. This anticipates what is perhaps the greatest indictment of the liberal-humanists in the later novels: the fact that their good intentions, however admirable in themselves, may have meretricious consequences which they neither anticipate nor are competent to repair. The failure of good intentions is always far more damaging in Forster’s work than anything that malevolence may accomplish.

However, even when Hobson seems to emphasise most strongly the materialist components of identity, the language he uses betrays once more the essentialism that underlies his compassion: The material conditions of poorer working-class life are hostile to the attainment of personal efficiency: they not merely stunt physical and intellectual growth, but, still more detrimental, they maim the human will, sapping the roots of character. (Hobson 1986: 208) The greatest debilitation, therefore, is to ‘the human will’ and ‘the roots of character’: these are the humanistic foundations from which all growth and potential proceed.

She finds another way out: when the humanistic framework fails her, the romantic possibilities come to her rescue. The characters in the later works, as we shall see, are not vouchsafed that alternative passage out of the maze. ‘The Point of It’, a short story which Forster completed and published in 1911, may be seen as another indication of his sense of the increasing fragility of the liberal-humanist position. In some ways, the story looks back to the fiction written before Howards End, since narrow rationalism – associated with a failure to respond fully to the intensity of life – is contrasted with romanticism, and found wanting as a result, which is the pattern of the earlier fiction.

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