Journal Article

E. M. Forster, Surrey, and the Golden Fleece

Philip Gardner

in The Review of English Studies

Volume 65, issue 272, pages 904-921
Published in print November 2014 | ISSN: 0034-6551
Published online April 2014 | e-ISSN: 1471-6968 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/res/hgu018
E. M. Forster, Surrey, and the Golden Fleece

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  • Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature)
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Forster’s biographical and literary relationship with the county of Surrey is a keystone of his work. Much of the material revealing this relationship has been made available by the release, and more recently the editing and publishing, of Forster’s diaries and journals and of his long essay entitled ‘West Hackhurst: A Surrey Ramble’, which is concerned with the house in Surrey he inherited from an aunt. This treatment begins in 1924, the year both of the publication of A Passage to India and of Forster’s inheritance. It then ranges backwards to his earliest acquaintance with the house in 1883, and forwards through his occupation of it until 1946, his involvement with his landlord, Lord Farrer, and other Surrey neighbours, the two pageant plays he wrote while living in the area, and the two essay collections which reflect his attachment to it. I relate the pageant plays to Forster’s deep sense of the history and beauty of rural Surrey, and also to work in this social genre contemporary with his own––T.S. Eliot’s The Rock and the ‘village pageant’ element of Virginia Woolf’s last novel, Between the Acts. My essay reveals an aspect of Forster which currently needs to be re-emphasised if his full nature as a writer and a person is to be understood.

Journal Article.  9300 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature) ; Literary Studies (American) ; Literary Studies (British and Irish)

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