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Edward Morgan Forster died in 1970 at the age of 91, having achieved a world-wide reputation as an outstanding writer. Though best-known for his novels – Howard’s End and A Passage to India are arguably the finest – he was also a brilliant critic and essayist and the author of some remarkable short stories.
Forster was born into a mixed family background of bohemia and prim respectability. Indulged, cosseted, dressed up and shown off by his adored mother Lily, it was not surprising that he found public school life painfully harsh. Cambridge began the emancipation – intellectual, artistic, social, and sexual – which Forster’s experiences abroad, his growing literary reputation, his deep friendships, and his love affairs were to extend.
In his closing years Forster invited Furbank, a close friend, to write his biography. Based on the full range of private diaries, correspondence, and personal reminiscences, this book (first published in 1977) is the authorized and definitive ‘life’ of Forster. In the words of John Bayley, ‘it is impossible to overpraise Furbank’s style and sympathy as a biographer’; according to Noel Annan, ‘he has done what Forster asked his biographer to do: he has told the truth’.
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