Wide World of Quotes > E. M. Forster Quotes


E. M. Forster
English novelist, short story writer and essayist
(1879-1970)



Share this page:

Romance only dies with life. No pair of pincers will ever pull it out of us. But there is a spurious sentiment which cannot resist the unexpected and the incongruous and the grotesque. A touch will loosen it, and the sooner it goes from us the better.
-- Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905)

It is so difficult – at least, I find it difficult – to understand people who speak the truth.
-- A Room with a View (1908), ch. 1

Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice.
-- A Room with a View (1908), ch. 14

It isn’t possible to love and to 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 from experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.
-- A Room with a View (1908), ch. 19

Railway termini. They are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out to adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.
-- Howard's End (1910), ch. 5

He believed in sudden conversion, a belief which may be right, but which is peculiarly attractive to the half-baked mind.
-- Howard's End (1910), ch. 6

She felt that those who prepared for all the emergencies of life beforehand may equip themselves at the expense of joy.
-- Howard's End (1910), ch. 7

The poor cannot always reach those whom they want to love, and they can hardly ever escape from those whom they no longer love.
-- Howard's End (1910), ch. 7

Personal relations are the important thing for ever and ever and not this outer life of telegrams and anger.
-- Howard's End (1910), ch. 19

Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height.
-- Howard's End (1910), ch. 22

Adventures do occur, but not punctually.
-- A Passage to India (1924), ch. 3

Nothing in India is identifiable, the mere asking of a question causes it to disappear or to merge in something else.
-- A Passage to India (1924), ch. 8

Pathos, piety, courage, — they exist, but are identical, and so is filth. Everything exists, nothing has value.
-- A Passage to India (1924), ch. 14

Where there is officialism every human relationship suffers.
-- A Passage to India (1924), ch. 24

Like all gossip -- it's merely one of those half-alive things that try to crowd out real life.
-- A Passage to India (1924), ch. 31

'Why can't we be friends now?' said the other, holding him affectionately. 'It's what I want. It's what you want.' But thehorses didn't want it — they swerved apart: the earth didn't want it, sending up rocks through which riders must pass single file; the temple, the tank, the jail, the palace, the birds, the carrion, the Guest House, that came into view as they emerged from the gap and saw Mau beneath: they didn't want it, they said in their hundred voices 'No, not yet,' and the sky said 'No, not there.
-- A Passage to India (1924), ch. 37

A mirror does not develop because an historical pageant passes in front of it. It only develops when it gets a fresh coat of quicksilver — in other words, when it acquires new sensitiveness; and the novel's success lies in its own sensitiveness, not in the success of its subject matter.
-- Aspects of the Novel (1927), Introductory

The test of a round character is whether it is capable of surprising in a convincing way. If it never surprises, it is flat. If it does not convince, it is flat pretending to be round.
-- Aspects of the Novel (1927), ch. 4

Ulysses
... is a dogged attempt to cover the universe with love, an inverted Victorianism, an attempt to make crossness and dirt succeed where where sweetness and light failed, a simplification of the human character in the interests of Hell.
-- Writing of James Joyce's novel Ulysses (1922) in: Aspects of the Novel (1927), ch. 6

If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.
-- Two Cheers for Democracy, "What I Believe" (1951)

Two Cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three.
-- Two Cheers for Democracy, "What I Believe" (1951)

There is much to be said for apathy in education.
-- Maurice (1971), pt. 1

They were his last words, because Maurice had disappeared thereabouts, leaving no trace of his presense except a little pile of the petals of the evening primrose, which mourned from the ground like an expiring fire.

He did not realize that this was the end, without twilight or compromise, that he should never cross Maurice's track again, nor speak to those who had seen him.
-- Maurice (1971), pt. 4


Share this page:








The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

About UsContact UsPrivacyTerms of Use
© 2005-16 Wide World of Quotes. All Rights Reserved.