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Selected Stories (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – March 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edward Morgan Forster was born in London in 1879, attended Tonbridge School as a day boy, and went on to King’s College, Cambridge, in 1897. With King’s he had a lifelong connection and was elected to an Honorary Fellowship in 1946. He declared that his life as a whole had not been dramatic, and he was unfailingly modest about his achievements. Interviewed by the BBC on his eightieth birthday, he said: ‘I have not written as much as I’d like to . . . I write for two reasons: partly to make money and partly to win the respect of people whom I respect . . . I had better add that I am quite sure I am not a great novelist.’ Eminent critics and the general public have judged otherwise and in his obituary The Times called him ‘one of the most esteemed English novelists of his time’.

He wrote six novels, four of which appeared before the First World War, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907), A Room with a View (1908), and Howard’s End (1910). An interval of fourteen years elapsed before he published A Passage to India. It won both the Prix Femina Vie Heureuse and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Maurice, his novel on a homosexual theme, finished in 1914, was published posthumously in 1971. He also published two volumes of short stories; two collections of essays; a critical work, Aspects of the Novel; The Hill of Devi, a fascinating record of two visits Forster made to the Indian State of Dewas Senior; two biographies; two books about Alexandria (where he worked for the Red Cross in the First World War); and, with Eric Crozier, the libretto for Britten’s opera Billy Budd. He died in June 1970.


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141186194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141186191
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dave_42 on May 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
Edward Morgan Forster (January 1st, 1879 - June 7th, 1970) is best known for novels like "A Room with a View", "Howards End", and "A Passage to India". For a different side of Forster, one can look at his shorter works, and "Selected Stories" contains the short fiction of Forster's which was published in his lifetime. It differs greatly from his novels, as most of the stories contain fantasy elements, and one could easily stand as a foundation of science fiction. At the same time, these works are rather uneven. The earlier ones in general tend to be better and more direct, the later ones are more abstract and more difficult for the reader to follow.

All in all there are twelve works included in this collection, all of which would be considered either short stories or novelettes. Forster pulls from Greek mythology in a number of these stories. He also uses Christian theology as he pursues a secular humanist agenda for some of them. Only one of the stories appears to be completely devoid of some kind of fantasy or futuristic element. The stories included are:

"The Story of a Panic" - a novelette which was first published in March of 1904 in the "Independent Review". Inspired by a recent vacation in Italy, Forster sets the scene in Rovello. The story is narrated by Mr. Tytler, who is relating incidents which took place eight years in the past. In the story, Mr. Tytler and a party of tourists, including Eustace, a moody boy of fourteen go on a picnic in a secluded valley. There they encounter the spirit of Pan in the wind and flee in terror leaving Eustace behind. Eustace is invigorated by the experience and starts to behave in a manner which the adults try to prevent.
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First, the low reviews given by the previous two reviewers are patent nonsense. This volume collects a number of outstanding and in many cases classic short stories by one of the greatest Edwardian writers. I use "Edwardian" despite the fact that Forster lived until 1970. For the most part, the major phase of Forster's writing career was finished before the beginning of WW I. His only major fictional work after the war was A PASSAGE TO INDIA (1924). All but one of the stories in this collection were also completed prior to the war. ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL was published a bit later.

These stories are amazingly different from Forster's novels, with a fantastical, imaginative element missing from his other fiction. The most curious is his famous short story, "The Machine Stops," his only SF tale. But nearly all of these stories show a major writer working at the height of his powers as a writer.

If you wanted to build a Forster library, you would want to add this to the novels and ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL. Forster did write other stories, but he chose not to include them with these, which are the only stories he felt should be contained in a collection of his short stories. A strongly recommended collection.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Beammeuplori on February 12, 2014
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The book arrived in excellent condition and very quickly. I haven't read any of the stories yet, but it's next on my To Do List.
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0 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lindy on November 29, 2008
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Having read his novella, "the machine stops", and of course, the books "howard's end", and "a passage to india", I ordered this. Omigosh, dreadful...what a wast of time. Self indulgent, pedantic, written it seems to wallow in personal sociopolitical issues. while one might empathize, it just goes to show you----every painter who has done a great work doesn't always produce a masterpiece, so every writer whose written stellar works of wide appeal, can write terribly as well! don't bother with this one.
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