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201 REVIEW Recent Treatments of Forster and of Bloomsbury G. K. Das and John Beer (eds). E. M. Forster, A Human Exploration: Centenary Essays (Lond: Macmillan; NY: New York UP, 1979Ti £15; $24.50. Robin Jared Lewis. E. M. Forster's Passages to India (NY * Guildford, Surrey: Columbia UP, 1979)· $T6.50. Glen Cavaliero. A Reading of E. M. Forster (Lond & Basingstoke: Macmillan; Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield, 1979). $21.50. Leon Edel. Bloomsbury: A House of Lions (NY: J. B. Lippincott, 1979). $12.95. The newest books on Forster and on Bloomsbury have at least residual interest and indicate how alive Bloomsbury remains for literary historians and critics. The book of greatest importance among those listed is G. K. Das' and John Beer's E. M. Forster, A Human Exploration. All students and admirers of Forster will wish to have this book available. It is a much more substantial volume than Festschrift collections often are, and it contains a number of thoroughly relevant and authoritative essays even at this late stage in Forster studies. The two best contributions deal with formative influences on Forster. S. P. Rosenbaum in "The Longest Journey¡ E. M. Forster's Refutation of Idealism" presents a masterful review of Journey as a gloss on the philosophy of G. E. Moore; and he proves, despite Forster's own diffidence concerning Moore's influence upon him, that the "realistic" philosopher was of the greatest importance to him as a young man. The unballasted imagination, as that is revealed in Rickie Elliot, can inspire, but it can also lead astray. Thus Stewart Ansell, with his firm sense of the reality of "the cow," prevents Rickie from remaining indefinitely in spiritual darkness. And then in "A Passage via Alexandria?" John Drew demonstrates the great hold that Plotinus had on Forster, especially after his stay in Alexandria. Plotinus' influence worked in a different direction from Moore's, but it is possible to see the imprint of both thinkers in the juxtaposition of the irrefragably concrete and the intensively ineffable in A Passage to India. Alan Wilde in "The Naturalisation of Eden" has written an important general essay, maintaining that Pan is both a destructive and a connective influence in the fiction. But Pan, Wilde says, is more present as "panic" than as restorative primitive energy in A Passage to India and afterwords. Other good critics in the volume relate Foster preceptively to other writers: G. D. Das relates him to T. S. Eliot, John Beer to D. H. Lawrence, H. K. Trivedi to Virginia Woolf, and James McConkey to Chekhov. The critiques on Howards End and Passage to India have authority, originality, and suggestiveness, enforcing the conclusion that major novels, even after much criticism of them, can still yield extensions of meaning to intelligent interpreters. As for Howards End R. N. Parkinson stresses the completeness which the house elicits from those susceptible to its influence, while Wilfred Stone 202 defines the tensions generated between Forster's recognition of money as potentially a positive force and his even greater insistence upon the realm of ideal value. The treatments of A Passage are perceptive and add to our sense of the novel's weight and importance . Michael Orange in "Language and Silence in A Passage to India " and John Colmer in "Promise and Withdrawal in 5 Passage to India " explore with cogency the dichotomies indicated in the titles of their articles; while Benita Parry in "A Passage to India, Epitaph or Manifesto?" explores the tensions developed in the novel between the requirements of an elaborately articulated symbolic pattern and the refractory, open-ended nature of the culture that is India. I have by no means exhausted the significant discussions in the book, but I have, possibly, mentioned enough of the most striking essays to indicate how important this book is for the student of Forster. Robin Jared Lewis has written an interesting and informative book on Forster's experiences in India. He is especially good at isolating the importance for Forster of the major places that he visited on his first two trips to India and at defining the meaning of these places for him: Bombay, Lahore and Peshawar, Simla, Patna, Delhi and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 201-204
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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