The Wisdom of E. M. Forster


Edward Morgan Forster (1 January 1879 – 7 June 1970), known as E. M. Forster, was an English novelist, short story writer and essayist. He wrote a series of ironic and well-plotted novels the themes of which were mainly to do with class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society, including A Room with a View and A Passage to India. His 1910 novel Howards End contained the epigraph ‘Only connect ... ‘ which became famous as a humanistic statement of his central theme. Forster was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature thirteen times. Here are some snippets of his wisdom:

'Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its highest. Live in fragments no longer.'

'It isn't possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.'

'What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.’

'Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.'

'Death destroys a man: the idea of Death saves him.’

'How do I know what I think until I see what I say?'

'By the side of the everlasting Why there is a Yes--a transitory Yes if you like, but a Yes.’