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ELT 43 : 2 2000 summaries to wade through. I kept wondering if having separate chapters of description and argument, or consigning the summaries to the notes, might have led to tighter, more vigorous analysis. In any case, however, Johnson has abundantly fulfilled the promise of his introduction: to provide for this later fin-de-siècle generation a sympathetic reassessment of an important transitional author. W. Eugene Davis __________________ Purdue University Förster Assessments E. M. Forster: Critical Assessments. I. Memories and Impressions; Reviews : Where Angels Fear to Tread' to 'The Life to Come and Other Stories ' (xix + 350 pp. ). II. The Critical Response: Early Responses 1907-44; The Short Fiction; Forster's Criticism; Miscellaneous Writings (vii + 351 pp.). III. The Modern Response: Where Angels Fear to Tread' to 'Maurice' (vii + 455 pp.). PV. Relations and Aspects: The Modern Critical Response, 1945-90 (vii + 441 pp.). J. H. Stape, ed. Mountfield, East Sussex: Helm Information, 1998. $535.00 £325.00 J. H. STAPE'S FOUR-VOLUME contribution to the Helms Information Critical Assessments of Writers in English Series gathers 176 reviews, reminiscences, notes, and essays on Forster's life and work. Collectively , the materials reprinted here illustrate a wide range of responses to Forster and a variety of critical approaches to his work. But the collection fails to achieve its goal of contextualizing "the development of Forster's reputation since the publication of his first novel in 1905." This failure may be the result of factors beyond the control of the editor, but the omissions of many of the most significant works and trends in Forster criticism are so glaring as to make the collection seem partial at best, and idiosyncratic or haphazard at worst. Having this large quantity of material assembled in a four-volume set is helpful, but the convenience is outweighed by its creation of what amounts to a false impression of the outlines of Forsterian criticism. The first volume of the collection contains a brief introduction by the editor, a chronology of Forster's life, a checklist of Forster's major works, an unannotated secondary bibliography (which includes a rather full list of biographical studies, memoirs, and bibliographies, but that limits the list of critical work to books and collections of essays) and a "Chronological List of Criticism Included." Volume I also presents a chronologically arranged selection of "Memories and Impressions," including obituaries, then goes on to present contemporaneous reviews of For226 book reviews ster's books, beginning with Where Angels Fear to Tread in 1905 and concluding with The Life to Come and Other Stories in 1972. Volume II presents general "Early Responses" to Forster's work and then shifts to academic criticism, presenting essays and notes on Forster's short fiction , criticism, and miscellaneous writing. Volume III presents academic criticism of Forster's six novels. Volume IV ranges widely, beginning with a section on Forster and other writers and on "Forster Filmed," and ending with a section entitled "The Modern Critical Response, 1954-90," which consists primarily of academic criticism that considers more than a single work by Forster. It is good to have handily pulled together the early reviews of Forster 's works and the journalistic assessments and reminiscences, which were often published in hard-to-locate newspapers and magazines (though many of them are also available in Philip Gardner's E. M. Förster : The Critical Heritage, 1973). These reviews and memoirs and summary statements actually do give a good sense of Forster's reception history and the vicissitudes of his reputation. The same cannot be said of the academic criticism presented here, however. Stated politely, Stape includes a great deal of chaff among the wheat. To put it more bluntly, he reprints several quite mediocre essays and, worse, he fails to include many of the key works that influenced the critical response to Forster. Stape comments that "Some articles that would in an ideal world have been included are not found here because reprint fees requested were very much beyond budget, while in other cases permission was denied." He does not specify which articles he would have liked to include but could not because of these practical difficulties. In any event...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 226-229
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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