E.M. Forster: “Only connect”

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Teachout, Jeffrey Frank
Zoller, Peter T.

E.M. Forster's fiction, conservative in form, is in the English tradition of the novel of manners. He explores the emotional and sensual deficiencies of the English middle class, developing his themes by means of irony, wit, and symbolism. A Passage to India (1924) treats the relations between a group of British colonials and native Indians and considers the difficulty of forming human relationships, of “connecting”. In 1971, Maurice, a novel Forster had written in 1913–14, was published posthumously. A homosexual, Forster had refrained from publishing it during his lifetime because of the work’s sympathetic treatment of homosexuality. The story of a young man's self awakening, Maurice treats a familiar Forster theme, the difficulty of human connection. This thesis examines Forster’s life and the two major novels, A Passage to India and Maurice, and shows how Forster “connected” to others while helping to revitalize and perpetuate the nearly dead form of the novel of manners, a form of the novel that continued throughout the 20th century alongside the more institutionally celebrated traditions of modernism and post-modernism.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English