Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Forster Fall

I remember when I was first introduced to the work of E. M. Forster. I don't think anyone can forget the juggernaut that was the 1992 adaptation of Howards End starring Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, and Anthony Hopkins. It was the darling of the awards circuit garnering nine Academy Award nominations and winning three, Emma Thompson winning her first Oscar. I was in high school when the movie came out and didn't do much reading outside of school, I know that's shocking. But when I finally graduated in 1996 I spent that summer luxuriating in reading. The complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy started my summer, followed by all of Jane Austen. After finishing Austen I was bereft, I was encouraged by a kindly soul to read Forster. I read A Room with a View and was enchanted, despite the shoddy ending, Howards End instantly became one of my favorite books ever, A Passage to India wasn't really my cup of tea, and as for The Longest Journey, the less said the better.

It was apparent to me that Forster was a very uneven writer, and hence I hesitated to read his final two books, even though both had had lavish movie adaptations, one even by Merchant and Ivory. Despite my feeling otherwise time hasn't stood still, and it's almost twenty years now since I first read Forster. Besides wanting to re-read my two favorites, I thought I might as well bite the bullet and finally get around to reading Maurice and Where Angels Fear to Tread. Because my first introduction to Forster was through the Merchant and Ivory adaptation of Howards End I thought it would be fun to combine the two sensory experiences of literature and film. I hope you will join me this month as I delve back into Forster's work, revisiting some old friends and hopefully making some new ones. The one thing you'll be guaranteed of is a lot of Helena Bonham Carter and Rupert Graves, seeing as they couldn't keep themselves away from any adaptation!


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