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E. M. Forster’s Legacies in British Fiction


Edited By Elsa Cavalié and Laurent Mellet

Since Forster’s death in 1970, many British novelists and film directors have acknowledged and even claimed the influence of the novelist of the English soul (in Woolf’s terms) and of a renewed faith in both human relationships and a quintessentially British liberal-humanism. After the ethical turn at the end of the twentieth century, British literature today seems to go back even more drastically to the figure of the individual human being, and to turn the narrative space into some laboratory of a new form of empowerment of the other’s political autonomy. It is in this context that the references to Forster are more and more frequent, both in British fiction and in academia. This book does not only aim at spotting and theorising this return to Forster today. Rather we endeavour to trace its genealogy and shed light on the successive modes of the legacy, from Forster’s first novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) onwards, to the novelisation of Forster himself by Damon Galgut. How can the principle of connection, of correspondences and echoes, which informed Forster’s private life and approach to writing so much, equally characterise the aesthetic and political influence of his œuvre?


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Introduction: Forster and After (Elsa Cavalié and Laurent Mellet)


Elsa Cavalié and Laurent Mellet (UAPV, ICTT EA 4277 & Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, CAS EA 801) Introduction: Forster and After Since E.  M. Forster’s death in 1970, Forsterian studies have hinged round three main axes that most publications usually bring to the fore- ground at some point: his complex links to modernism, the no less intricate question of his sexuality as informing his writing (Bakshi, Martin), and the postcolonial dimension of A Passage to India and other critical writings. Many collections of essays tackle those issues and endeavour to go further. This book could not have been written without the first investigations to be found in many of those, be it Philip Gardner’s Critical Heritage (1973), Das and Beer’s seminal Centenary Essays (1979), Shahane’s Centenary Volume (1981), Herz and Martin’s Centenary Revaluations (1982) or Wilde’s Critical Essays (1985). Two more recent publications have now become landmarks for Forsterian scholars: Jeremy Tambling’s Contemporary Critical Essays (1995) and J. H. Stape’s Critical Essays. Many individual monographs have also embarked on fresh perspectives on Forster’s ethics and aesthet- ics. Catherine Lanone’s book (1998) offers a daring study of Forster’s poetics of places and spaces allowing the author to theorize on writing as a journey or an odyssey – may the editors of this book here express their deepest gratitude and warmest thanks to Catherine Lanone for sharing her love of Forster with them over all these years now. Other publications include Nicholas Royle’s equally enamoured yet rigorous monograph, David Medalie’s bold celebration of...

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