E. M. Forster

Easton Press E. M. Forster books

A Passage to India - 1992

Franklin Library E. M. Forster books

A Passage to India - Greatest Books of the Twentieth Century - 1979


E. M. Forster biography

Edward Morgan Forster, known as E.M. Forster, was an English novelist, essayist, and critic, born on January 1, 1879, in London, England. He is renowned for his novels that explore themes of class, social conventions, and the clash between individual desires and societal expectations in early 20th-century England. Forster came from an affluent and socially conservative family, and his experiences growing up would later influence his critique of British society. He attended Tonbridge School and later King's College, Cambridge, where he became associated with the Bloomsbury Group, a collective of intellectuals and artists.

His first novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread, was published in 1905, and it was followed by The Longest Journey (1907) and A Room with a View (1908). However, it was with Howards End (1910) that Forster gained widespread acclaim. The novel is a rich exploration of social class, relationships, and the changing landscape of Edwardian England. Forster's most celebrated work is A Passage to India (1924), which examines the complexities of British-Indian relationships during the period of British colonial rule. The novel delves into themes of cultural misunderstanding, racism, and the clash of civilizations, earning Forster international recognition.

Despite the critical success of his novels, Forster faced challenges in his personal life, including his struggle with his own sexuality. He was a closeted gay man during a time when homosexuality was illegal in England. After the publication of Maurice, a novel with a 
homosexuality theme, Forster chose not to publish it during his lifetime due to societal norms. Forster's later years were marked by his turn to nonfiction, including works such as Aspects of the Novel (1927), a collection of lectures on the art of fiction. He also worked as a broadcaster for the BBC during World War II. E.M. Forster passed away on June 7, 1970, in Coventry, England. His novels continue to be studied and celebrated for their insightful social commentary and exploration of human relationships. The posthumous publication of Maurice in 1971 allowed readers to experience Forster's exploration of homosexuality in a society that often suppressed such themes during his lifetime.


A Passage to India

When Adela Quested and her elderly companion Mrs Moore arrive in the Indian town of Chandrapore, they quickly feel trapped by its insular and prejudiced 'Anglo-Indian' community. Determined to escape the parochial English enclave and explore the 'real India', they seek the guidance of the charming and mercurial Dr Aziz, a cultivated Indian Muslim. But a mysterious incident occurs while they are exploring the Marabar caves with Aziz, and the well-respected doctor soon finds himself at the centre of a scandal that rouses violent passions among both the British and their Indian subjects. A masterful portrait of a society in the grip of imperialism, A Passage to India compellingly depicts the fate of individuals caught between the great political and cultural conflicts of the modern world.

Dr Aziz is a young Muslim physician in the British Indian town of Chandrapore. One evening he comes across an English woman, Mrs Moore, in the courtyard of a local mosque; she and her younger travelling companion Adela are disappointed by claustrophobic British colonial culture and wish to see something of the 'real' India. But when Aziz kindly offers to take them on a tour of the Marabar caves with his close friend Cyril Fielding, the trip results in a shocking accusation that throws Chandrapore into a fever of racial tension.

E. M. Forster's 1924 masterpiece, A Passage to India, is a novel that tackles the thorny notions of preconceptions and misconceptions through characters' desire to overcome the barrier that divides East and West in colonial India. Here we see the limits of liberal tolerance, good intentions, and good will as we try to sort through the common problems that exist between two very different cultures. But Forster's India is a country where the English and Indians stare at each other across a cultural divide and a history of imbalanced power relations, mutual suspicion, and ill will. A fresh reader must wonder whether connection is possible at all.

A Passage to India begins simply enough: with people genuinely desiring to connect and to overcome the stereotypes and biases that have divided the two cultures. Mrs. Moore accompanies her future daughter-in-law, Adela Quested, to India where both are to meet Mrs. Moore's son Ronny, the City Magistrate. From the outset, Adela makes it clear that she wishes to see the "real India" and Mrs. Moore soon befriends and Indian doctor named Aziz. Cyril Fielding, an Englishman and the principal of a local government college, soon becomes acquainted with everyone and it is his tenuous friendship with the Indian Dr. Aziz that really constitutes the backbone of this novel.

While it is true that the primary characters take great pains to accept and embrace difference, their misunderstanding, fear and ignorance made that connection far more difficult than they expected. Getting to know the "real" India proves to be a daunting and challenging task. The bulk of this perhaps falls to Dr. Aziz, who soon learns that the indignities of life under British rule and the insults unintentional and intentional of his English acquaintances make him suspect that although genuine friendship may be desired, the two cultures are not yet ready.

Britain’s three-hundred-year relationship with the Indian subcontinent produced much fiction of interest but only one indisputable E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India , published in 1924, at the height of the Indian independence movement. Centering on an ambiguous incident between a young Englishwoman of uncertain stability and an Indian doctor eager to know his conquerors better, Forster’s book explores, with unexampled profundity, both the historical chasm between races and the eternal one between individuals struggling to ease their isolation and make sense of their humanity.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your best book review and recommendation

Best books in order by author list:

A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z

Privacy Policy        |        Terms and Disclosure        |        Contact        |        About        |        Best Book Categories        |        Framed Tributes

© 2002 - 2024 Leather Bound Treasure