Friday, March 8, 2013

Daily Dose of E. M. Forster

It has been quite some time since I have picked up and read some fiction, or rather, it's been ages since I've read a novel cover to cover. Since reading Zadie Smith's On Beauty there have been a few that I've started but abandoned halfway through, choosing instead a work of non-fiction (not all high brow history; Bossypants was devoured with relish). I'm not sure whether it's just me or maybe it's something historians experience, but the lives of imaginary characters doesn't captivate me the same way as the real life dead. There have been some interesting conversations that are coming to the forefront about the place of biography, narrative, and storytelling in history. I'm sure those who attended this year's American Historical Association are well aware of it and perhaps I shall be posting more on this in the coming weeks. But for now back E. M. Forster.

Given Smith's book was an ode to Howard's End, I figured I might as well read one of Forster's own books and I sure as hell wasn't going to read A Passage to India, and Maurice won over A Room with a View. As I began chapter two I came across a choice quote, which I feel speaks perfectly well for some quarters of academia, and one perhaps that Babur would have agreed with:

It was the land of facilities, where nothing had to be striven for, and success was indistinguishable from failure.

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