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E. M. Forster

Geburtstag: 1. Januar 1879
Todesdatum: 7. Juni 1970
Andere Namen: Е. М. Форстер

Edward Morgan Forster OM, CH war ein englischer Autor und zeitweise Mitglied der Bloomsbury Group.

Zitate E. M. Forster

„How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?“

—  E.M. Forster, buch Aspects of the Novel

Quelle: Aspects of the Novel (1927), Chapter Five: The Plot

„You are quite right; life to me is just a spectacle, which — thank God, and thank Italy, and thank you — is now more beautiful and heartening than it has ever been before.“

—  E.M. Forster, buch Where Angels Fear to Tread

Quelle: Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), Ch. 8
Kontext: I never expect anything to happen now, and so I am never disappointed. You would be surprised to know what my great events are. Going to the theatre yesterday, talking to you now — I don't suppose I shall ever meet anything greater. I seem fated to pass through the world without colliding with it or moving it — and I'm sure I can't tell you whether the fate's good or evil. I don't die — I don't fall in love. And if other people die or fall in love they always do it when I'm just not there. You are quite right; life to me is just a spectacle, which — thank God, and thank Italy, and thank you — is now more beautiful and heartening than it has ever been before.

„I haven't made my point yet, which is that it is right to be kind and even sacrifice ourselves to people who need kindness and lie in our way — otherwise, besides failing to help them, we run into the aridity of self-development.“

—  E.M. Forster

Quelle: Commonplace Book (1985), p. 243 (1963)
Kontext: I haven't made my point yet, which is that it is right to be kind and even sacrifice ourselves to people who need kindness and lie in our way — otherwise, besides failing to help them, we run into the aridity of self-development. To seek for recipients of one's goodness, to play the Potted Jesus leads to the contrary the Christian danger.

„A man does not talk to himself quite truly — not even to himself: the happiness or misery that he secretly feels proceeds from causes that he cannot quite explain, because as soon as he raises them to the level of the explicable they lose their native quality.“

—  E.M. Forster, buch Aspects of the Novel

Quelle: Aspects of the Novel (1927), Chapter Five: The Plot
Kontext: A man does not talk to himself quite truly — not even to himself: the happiness or misery that he secretly feels proceeds from causes that he cannot quite explain, because as soon as he raises them to the level of the explicable they lose their native quality. The novelist has a real pull here. He can show the subconscious short-circuiting straight into action (the dramatist can do this too); he can also show it in its relation to soliloquy. He commands all the secret life, and he must not be robbed of this privilege. "How did the writer know that?" it is sometimes said. "What's his standpoint? He is not being consistent, he's shifting his point of view from the limited to the omniscient, and now he's edging back again." Questions like this have too much the atmosphere of the law courts about them.

„Most of us will be eclectics to this side or that according to our temperament. The human mind is not a dignified organ, and I do not see how we can exercise it sincerely except through eclecticism.“

—  E.M. Forster, buch Aspects of the Novel

Quelle: Aspects of the Novel (1927), Chapter Seven: Prophecy
Kontext: Most of us will be eclectics to this side or that according to our temperament. The human mind is not a dignified organ, and I do not see how we can exercise it sincerely except through eclecticism. And the only advice I would offer my fellow eclectics is: "Do not be proud of your inconsistency. It is a pity, it is a pity that we should be equipped like this. It is a pity that Man cannot be at the same time impressive and truthful."

„If human nature does alter it will be because individuals manage to look at themselves in a new way. Here and there people — a very few people, but a few novelists are among them — are trying to do this.“

—  E.M. Forster, buch Aspects of the Novel

Quelle: Aspects of the Novel (1927), Chapter Nine: Conclusion
Kontext: If human nature does alter it will be because individuals manage to look at themselves in a new way. Here and there people — a very few people, but a few novelists are among them — are trying to do this. Every institution and vested interest is against such a search: organized religion, the state, the family in its economic aspect, have nothing to gain, and it is only when outward prohibitions weaken that it can proceed: history conditions it to that extent.

„A mirror does not develop because an historical pageant passes in front of it. It only develops when it gets a fresh coat of quicksilver“

—  E.M. Forster, buch Aspects of the Novel

in other words, when it acquires new sensitiveness; and the novel's success lies in its own sensitiveness, not in the success of its subject matter.
Quelle: Aspects of the Novel (1927), Chapter One: Introductory

„I never expect anything to happen now, and so I am never disappointed. You would be surprised to know what my great events are. Going to the theatre yesterday, talking to you now — I don't suppose I shall ever meet anything greater.“

—  E.M. Forster, buch Where Angels Fear to Tread

Quelle: Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), Ch. 8
Kontext: I never expect anything to happen now, and so I am never disappointed. You would be surprised to know what my great events are. Going to the theatre yesterday, talking to you now — I don't suppose I shall ever meet anything greater. I seem fated to pass through the world without colliding with it or moving it — and I'm sure I can't tell you whether the fate's good or evil. I don't die — I don't fall in love. And if other people die or fall in love they always do it when I'm just not there. You are quite right; life to me is just a spectacle, which — thank God, and thank Italy, and thank you — is now more beautiful and heartening than it has ever been before.

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„This woman was a goddess to the end. For her no love could be degrading: she stood outside all degradation.“

—  E.M. Forster, buch Where Angels Fear to Tread

Quelle: Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), Ch. 10
Kontext: This woman was a goddess to the end. For her no love could be degrading: she stood outside all degradation. This episode, which she thought so sordid, and which was so tragic for him, remained supremely beautiful. To such a height was he lifted, that without regret he could now have told her that he was her worshipper too. But what was the use of telling her? For all the wonderful things had happened.
"Thank you," was all that he permitted himself. "Thank you for everything."

„They are sensitive for others as well as for themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but the power to endure, and they can take a joke.“

—  E.M. Forster

What I Believe (1938)
Kontext: I believe in aristocracy, though — if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others as well as for themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but the power to endure, and they can take a joke.

„Tolerance, good temper and sympathy are no longer enough in a world where ignorance rules, and Science, which ought to have ruled, plays the pimp. Tolerance, good temper and sympathy — they are what matter really, and if the human race is not to collapse they must come to the front before long.“

—  E.M. Forster

What I Believe (1938)
Kontext: I do not believe in Belief. But this is an Age of Faith, and there are so many militant creeds that, in self defence, one has to formulate a creed of one's own. Tolerance, good temper and sympathy are no longer enough in a world where ignorance rules, and Science, which ought to have ruled, plays the pimp. Tolerance, good temper and sympathy — they are what matter really, and if the human race is not to collapse they must come to the front before long.

„What I want, I think, is the sentimental, but the sentimental reached by no easy beaten track“

—  E.M. Forster

Letter 60, to Robert Trevelyan, 28 October 1905
Selected Letters (1983-1985)
Kontext: You can gather however that I know I am not a real artist, and at the same time am fearfully serious over my work and willing to sweat at atmosphere if it helps me wo what I want. What I want, I think, is the sentimental, but the sentimental reached by no easy beaten track—I cannot explain myself properly, for you must remember (I forget it myself) that though 'clever' I have a small and cloudy brain, and cannot clear it by talking or reading philosophy.

„The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society was eternal.“

—  E.M. Forster

What I Believe (1938)
Kontext: The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society was eternal. Both assumptions are false: both of them must be accepted as true if we are to go on eating and working and loving, and are to keep open a few breathing-holes for the human spirit. No millennium seems likely to descend upon humanity; no better and stronger Ieague of Nations will be instituted; no form of Christianity and no alternative to Christianity will bring peace to the world or integrity to the individual; no "change of heart" will occur. And yet we need not despair, indeed, we cannot despair; the evidence of history shows us that men have always insisted on behaving creatively under the shadow of the sword; that they have done their artistic and scientific and domestic stuff for the sake of doing it, and that we had better follow their example under the shadow of the aeroplanes. Others, with more vision or courage than myself, see the salvation of humanity ahead, and will dismiss my conception of civilization as paltry, a sort of tip-and-run game. Certainly it is presumptuous to say that we cannot improve, and that Man, who has only been in power for a few thousand years, will never learn to make use of his power. All I mean is that, if people continue to kill one another as they do, the world cannot get better than it is, and that, since there are more people than formerly, and their means for destroying one another superior, the world may well get worse. What is good in people — and consequently in the world — is their insistence on creation, their belief in friendship and loyalty for their own sakes; and, though Violence remains and is, indeed, the major partner in this muddled establishment, I believe that creativeness remains too, and will always assume direction when violence sleeps. So, though I am not an optimist, I cannot agree with Sophocles that it were better never to have been born. And although, like Horace, I see no evidence that each batch of births is superior to the last, I leave the field open for the more complacent view. This is such a difficult moment to live in, one cannot help getting gloomy and also a bit rattled, and perhaps short-sighted.

„So two cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three.“

—  E.M. Forster

What I Believe (1938)
Kontext: Whether Parliament is either a representative body or an efficient one is questionable, but I value it because it criticizes and talks, and because its chatter gets widely reported. So two cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three.

„Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talks that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence.“

—  E.M. Forster, buch A Passage to India

Quelle: A Passage to India (1924), Ch. 14
Kontext: Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talks that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence. Inside its cocoon of work or social obligation, the human spirit slumbers for the most part, registering the distinction between pleasure and pain, but not nearly as alert as we pretend. There are periods in the most thrilling day during which nothing happens, and though we continue to exclaim, “I do enjoy myself", or, “I am horrified,” we are insincere.

„The people I admire most are those who are sensitive and want to create something or discover something, and do not see life in terms of power, and such people get more of a chance under a democracy than elsewhere.“

—  E.M. Forster

What I Believe (1938)
Kontext: Democracy is not a beloved Republic really, and never will be. But it is less hateful than other contemporary forms of government, and to that extent it deserves our support. It does start from the assumption that the individual is important, and that all types are needed to make a civilization. It does not divide its citizens into the bossers and the bossed — as an efficiency-regime tends to do. The people I admire most are those who are sensitive and want to create something or discover something, and do not see life in terms of power, and such people get more of a chance under a democracy than elsewhere. They found religions, great or small, or they produce literature and art, or they do disinterested scientific research, or they may be what is called "ordinary people", who are creative in their private lives, bring up their children decently, for instance, or help their neighbours. All these people need to express themselves; they cannot do so unless society allows them liberty to do so, and the society which allows them most liberty is a democracy.

„There's nothing like a debate to teach one quickness.“

—  E.M. Forster, buch Howards End

Quelle: Howards End (1910), Ch. 15
Kontext: There's nothing like a debate to teach one quickness. I often wish I had gone in for them when I was a youngster. It would have helped me no end.

„It looks as if there is a physical as well as a moral break in the orders I send out. I have plenty of interesting thoughts but keep losing them like the post cards I have written, or like my cap.“

—  E.M. Forster

Quelle: Commonplace Book (1985), p. 224
Kontext: Going to Bits. This phrase me to day and is indeed the one I have been looking for; not tragic, not mortal disintegration; only a central weakness which prevents me from concentrating or settling down I have so wanted to write and write ahead. The phrase "obligatory creation" has haunted me. I have so wanted to get out of my morning bath promptly: have decided to do so beforehand, and have then lain in it as usual and watched myself not getting out. It looks as if there is a physical as well as a moral break in the orders I send out. I have plenty of interesting thoughts but keep losing them like the post cards I have written, or like my cap. I can't clear anything up yet interrupt a 'good read' in order to clear up. I hope tomorrow to copy out a piece of someone else's pose: it is the best device known to me for taking one out of inself, Plunge into anothers minutiae.' 31-1-61

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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