Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010
A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E.M. Forster (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), by Wendy Moffat
E.M. Forster received a third life in the 1980s when his novels Howards End and A Passage to India became art-house film hits; his second life had already begun in the ’70s with the posthumous publication of his explicitly gay novel Maurice. In her sympathetic and lucid biography, Wendy Moffat examines the locked diaries and other papers of the author to show a gay man living openly in private through a long life as an essayist and academic. Although he had been a best-selling novelist, Forster had ceased publishing fiction for many decades before his death in 1970, largely, as Moffat shows, because he could not address what he considered the central fact of his life without facing the pillory of prejudice.