Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Seven from E. M. Forster

In my recent Q&A interview about the Folio Club I named a few favorite authors, including E. M. Forster—from whom I now offer the following seven quotations.

• Only a writer who has the sense of evil can make goodness readable.

• Nonsense and beauty have close connections.

• The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died and then the queen died of grief is a plot.

• The final test for a novel will be our affection for it, as it is the test of our friends, and of anything else which we cannot define.

• The work of art assumes the existence of the perfect spectator, and is indifferent to the fact that no such person exists.

• The only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves.

• At night, when the curtains are drawn and the fire flickers, my books attain a collective dignity.