Over the past half-century Frank Kermode has established himself as one of the finest literary critics of his generation. When he delivered the Clark Lectures at Cambridge in 2007, he chose as his subject E.M. Forster - eighty years after Forster gave the same series of lectures, which became his ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL. Kermode's lectures form the core of this book: he assesses the influence and meaning of all of Forster's novels as well as his criticism, reflects on his profound musicality (Britten thought Forster the most musical of all writers) and offers a fascinating interpretation of his greatest work, A PASSAGE TO INDIA.
The second part of the book takes the form of a causerie, a brilliant and wide-ranging series of loosely organized, interweaving discussions in which Forster is reduced in size, placed in the wider context of his times, and occasionally scolded by Kermode for being not quite the author he would have preferred him to be. Kermode reflects not only on Forster's considerable talent but on the social and personal circumstances that restricted it, on the dizzying changes in English society in the first half of the twentieth century, and the preoccupations and uncertainties of those, like Forster, who found themselves caught between two worlds. Taking Forster as his starting point, Kermode also casts a spotlight on many of his great contemporary writers - Joseph Conrad, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Arnold Bennett, D.H. Lawrence and H.G. Wells.
The product of a lifetime's reading and thinking by one of our most distinguished critics, CONCERNING E.M. FORSTER is both a stimulating and original portrait of E.M. Forster and a unique panorama of twentieth-century English letters.