9th September

In September 1924 he was thinking about how to develop a philosophy of life. In a letter to his friend Malcolm Darling, he asked him whether he had managed in his life to 'formulate anything like a philosophy about it?’ He sought Darling’s opinion because he was 'one of the few people I know who have done practical work and continued to think dispassionately’. He compared the way that Cambridge academics tackled the big questions of existence: 'I heard a nice story yesterday of [politician and scholar] Gerald Balfour, who returned to France after Cambridge “to think out the secret of the Universe”. He was absent several years, and on his return was greeted by J.K. Stephen [also a scholar] with the enquiry: “Well Gerald: did you think of anything?” Freezing and frozen silence.’ (Source: Selected Letters of E.M. Forster, ed. Mary Lago and P.N. Furbank (London: Collins, 1983-1985), letter of 15 September 1924)

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