What Was Forster Thinking About This Week?

E.M. Forster's letters range across numerous subjects - his day-to-day experiences and attitudes, the books he wrote and read, the times he lived in. By sifting through these, undergraduate Colette Sensier and the Cambridge Authors team have put together an unusual virtual diary of what was on Forster's mind at different times of the year. On this page you'll find what he was thinking this week; and this will change regularly. If you wish, you can receive these updates, approximately once a week, by e-mail. Just enter your email address in the box below to receive your own 'Forster's Thought for the Week'. A great variety of thought-provoking material will come through - sometimes sad, sometimes serious, sometimes quirky and even a little objectionable. Do you see things the same way he did?



In October 1922 he was thinking about Virginia Woolf’s novel Jacob’s Room. In a letter to the author, he expressed relief that she had created 'the reader’s interest in at least one of the characters as a character – if that goes we merely swing about in blobs of amusement or pathos’. Although he called it 'beautiful’ overall, this was doubled-edged praise, making adverse comparison with other experimental work. He remarked on what he felt was the book’s welcome emotional outlook: Jacob’s Room 'is seen through happiness, you have got quite clear from the sensitive sorrower whom novelists cadge up to as the easiest medium for observations’. (Source: Selected Letters of E.M. Forster, ed. Mary Lago and P.N. Furbank (London: Collins, 1983-1985), letter of 24 October 1922)

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