Edward Morgan Forster was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist, and librettist who was considered one of the most accomplished writers of his day. He wrote some of the most well-crafted and sarcastic novels of the twentieth century, with themes of class and hypocrisy in English society. He began writing when he was six years old. His only ever interest in life was writing, and he devoted a great deal of his time and experiences to it. His nomination for the Nobel Prize in Literature for 13 consecutive years is a monument to his genius. Forster was a world traveler who wrote about his experiences in his writings. His homosexuality and romances were the topic of his work, ‘Maurice,’ which came out after he died. ‘A Room with a View,’ ‘Howards End,’ and ‘A Passage to India’ are among his best-known works. He was a staunch opponent of book adaptations, believing that a film or stage production did not do credit to a literary piece. Despite this, many of his books have been made into tremendously successful films, which have helped to preserve his legacy.
Childhood and Adolescence
E. M. Forster was born on January 1, 1879, in Middlesex, England, to Alice Clara “Lily” Forster and Edward Morgan Llewellyn Forster. His birth name was Henry Morgan Forster, but he was given the name Edward by accident during his baptism.
Forster’s father, an architect, died of TB when he was just two years old. Marianne Thornton, his mother, and paternal great-aunt raised him. He is the great-great-grandson of abolitionist Henry Thornton through her.
When Marianne Thornton died in 1887, Forster inherited £8000 from her. This sum was sufficient to support him
while he pursued his ambition of becoming a writer.
He enrolled as a day student at Tonbridge School in Kent. This period would subsequently serve as the foundation for many of his criticisms of the English educational system.
At King’s College in Cambridge, he studied history, philosophy, and literature. He appreciated the intellectual depth he found here, and he developed a sense of distinctiveness and a healthy skepticism that contrasted sharply with his early years.
He was an active member of organizations such as the Cambridge Conversazione Society, popularly known as the Cambridge Apostles, during his time at King’s College. He joined the Bloomsbury Group as a founding member.
After college, he used his fortune to travel to Europe, Egypt, Germany, and India with his mother, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, a classical author.
E. M.’s Career
E. M. Forster gained insight into family dynamics as a result of growing up in two radically opposite families. This, together with his time at Tonbridge, inspired his early books, which depicted the fight to break free from Victorianism.
‘Where Angels Fear to Tread’ was his debut novel (1905). It was a conversation with his audience in which he encouraged people to stay connected to the Earth and to use their imagination. In ‘The Longest Journey’ (1907) and ‘Howards End,’ the same theme is repeated (1910).
In 1912, he made his first trip to India while working on ‘Maurice.’ In 1971, a year after his death, the work was finally published. Due to the novel’s blatantly homosexual subject, this was done at his request.
He volunteered as a conscientious objector for the “International Red Cross” and served for three years in Alexandria, Egypt. ‘Alexandria: A History and Guide’ (1922) and ‘Pharos and Pharillon: A Novelist’s Sketchbook of Alexandria Through the Ages’ (1923) were inspired by his observations there (1923). He wrote many short stories for local newspapers under the pen name ‘Pharos’ during this time.
In the early 1920s, when he returned to India for the second time, the country was in the midst of a revolution. He became the Maharajah of Dewas’ private secretary, “Tukojirao III.” ‘The Hill of Devi’ is a non-fiction account of this time period (published in 1953).
‘A Passage to India,’ his most recent novel, was also his most profitable (1924). It investigates British colonial rule in India. Rather than depicting a confrontation between the two countries, the novel focused on the two heroes’ relationship.
Though he stopped writing novels after ‘A Passage to India,’ he continued to create short tales till the end of his life. Several of his anthologies were published, including ‘The Eternal Moment,’ a collection of short stories (1928).
During the war, he worked as a BBC radio presenter in the 1930s and 1940s, where he provided a weekly book review.
He was able to live and study in Cambridge thanks to an honorary fellowship. He gave talks on occasion and grew to be a well-liked figure on campus.
His Major Projects
His most optimistic work was ‘A Room with a View’ (1908). The novel is set in Edwardian England and is a social critique of the country. It is ranked 79th on Modern Library’s list of the “100 finest English-language novels of the twentieth century.”
‘Howards End’ was his masterwork (1910). Many issues are explored in the story, including English social traditions, rules of behavior, and personal relationships. His desire for understanding and sympathy is conveyed in the epigraph. On Modern Library’s list of the 100 best English-language novels of the twentieth century, it is ranked 38th.
‘A Passage to India,’ based on his experiences in India, was perhaps his greatest work. This novel, set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian Independence Movement, was named on Time Magazine’s ‘All-Time 100 Novels’ list.
Achievements & Awards
In 1937, E. M. Forster received the “Benson Medal” for his weekly book evaluations while working at the BBC.
His alma mater, Tonbridge School, has a theater named after him. In 1946, he was elected as an honorary ‘Fellow’ of King’s College.
In 1953, he received the ‘Order of Companions of Honor,’ and in 1969, he received the ‘Queen Elizabeth’s Order of Merit.’
Personal History and Legacy
Many people were unaware of Forster’s homosexuality at the time. He told a few close friends about it, but not the general public. As a result, he lived his entire life as a bachelor.
Throughout his life, he was involved with a variety of guys. He fell in love with Mohammed el Adl, a tram conductor, in Alexandria. He had a brief affair with Harry Daley, a Bloomsbury group member. Arthur, a bus driver, was the object of his love until his wife discovered it and ended the connection.
At a gathering held by JR Ackerley, Forster met 28-year-old Bob Buckingham when he was 51. Buckingham was a married police officer at the time. They had a long and passionate love affair that included a covert home life at Forster’s Brunswick Square flat.
He was the godfather of Robin Morgan, Bob Buckingham’s, and May Hockey’s kid. In 1962, Robin died of Hodgkin’s disease.
He had a series of strokes in the mid-1960s that severely damaged him. At the time, his nursemaid was May Hockey. This great creative genius’s life came to an end on June 7, 1970, when he suffered his final stroke.
Estimated Net Worth
EM is one of the wealthiest novelists and one of the most well-known. EM Forster’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
E. M. Forster was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature 13 times, but he never received it.
He turned down a ‘Knighthood’ from the British honors system in 1949.
In 1960, he gave the manuscript for “A Passage to India.” The recipient was Rupert Hart-Davis, and the money raised, £6500, was donated to the London Library.