Reading progress update: I've read 83 out of 404 pages.

E.M. Forster: A New Life - Wendy Moffat

It appears that the author has given me a rest from her dissection of Forster's love life and we now a have a (hopefully extended) period of discussing the rest of his life.

 

I knew that Forster was a tutor to Elizabeth von Arnim's children but didn't know about the anecdote of his arrival at her castle, or about descriptions his employer. 

 

I am not typing these right here but much of the quotes are also provided in this post on the Books as Food blog. 

 

What was even more interesting, there are some glimpses now about Forster's, Morgan's, development as a writer - the stuff that makes his book stand out so from others of the time: 

While in Nassenheide, Morgan turned to his diary to ruminate on the wider question of how he fit into the world. He felt out of touch with modern writers. In its infancy, the novel had been novel - of all the literary forms, it made the unique promise of showing life truthfully - but the conventions of the nineteenth-century novels Morgan revered had begun to feel a little like a cage. It seemed to him wrongheaded, even trivial these days simply to end a novel with "the old, old answer, marriage": "Artists now realise that marriage, the old full stop, is not an end at all..." Resolving a plot with marriage was part of the imperative of comedy, but the blind optimism of lesser writers seemed dishonest to him: "The writer who depicts [life as a bed of roses] may possibly be praised for his healthy simplicity. But his own conscience will never approve him, for he knows that healthiness and simplicity are not, in all cases, identical with truth.