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Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
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Where Angels Fear to Tread (original 1905; edition 2011)

by E. M. Forster

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2,292382,777 (3.54)145
Member:megc11
Title:Where Angels Fear to Tread
Authors:E. M. Forster
Info:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2011), Paperback, 124 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster (1905)

  1. 51
    A Passage to India by E. M. Forster (li33ieg)
    li33ieg: Same author, different setting, same core themes
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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
You can see everything that Forster writes about later forming in this novel. My misfortune is that I have very little new Forster left to me after this, but I was glad to read it over this summer (sitting on the front porch of the old farmhouse at work). As always, I love that his characters are not good people or bad people. They are people. I love his understanding of (forgive the broad word and give it some meaning again) human nature. It might not be the one I'd recommend to people starting into Forster (even if all the Forsterian themes are there), but that might be because of my pure dedication to [b:A Room with a View|1649385|A Room with a View|E.M. Forster|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1306870719s/1649385.jpg|4574872], which is perfect. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
I wonder how Forster’s contemporaries responded to this book. I imagine the conventional English would have been insulted by Forster’s descriptions of Mrs Herriton and Harriet. Today the way he portrays them seems very heavy-handed with all their insistence on what was acceptable and what was not, things which today seem so absurd. It’s not as if Forster paints a much rosier picture of Lilia, though, marrying Gino not out of an intelligent response to a society that had more natural sympathies but because, having seen Gino’s hair glow as he sat on the mud wall of a dilapidated house, she ‘was determined to have the man and the place together’.

It seems to be an encompassing criticism that Forster offers, then, Gino’s family not coming off much better than the Herritons. But then Forster himself seems rather sweeping, describing the reception room of Lilia’s house as ‘German bad taste’. And later he writes of there being ‘something majestic in the bad taste of Italy; it is not the bad taste of a country which knows no better; it has not the nervous vulgarity of England, or the blinded vulgarity of Germany’. This is certainly authorial even though at times Forster writes in the third person limited. So when we read of Italy ‘it was on her soil and through her influence that a silly woman (Lilia) had married a cad’, we know this comes from Philip. What surprises me subsequently is that when Caroline Abbott criticises the deadness and restrictiveness of Sawston, Philip readily agrees and yet he had tried to impose it on Lilia in Italy. Is this just meant to be part of Philip maturing?

It’s the author’s voice that interests me in this book; it reminds me at times of the sort of voice Butler or Fielding used. So after Forster has had Philip change his mind about Italy and think the best of everyone as a result of hearing that Gino was sorry about pushing him over eighteen months earlier, he goes on to write ‘This admirable change in Philip proceeds from nothing admirable, and may therefore provoke the gibes of the cynical. But angels and other practical people will accept it reverently, and write it down as good’. Now I’m not sure if there’s intentional levity in bunching together angels and ‘other practical people’, but if so, I think Forster has done this to soften the somewhat judgemental tone he’s taken here, telling the reader directly what his opinion is. By and large I don’t really like this sort of didacticism especially in today’s novels but, as I certainly didn’t mind it in eighteenth century ones, maybe I should accept it in what could be seen as a transitional period . . .

We can tell that in Philip Forster has constructed a character who rises above his drab, life-sapping, conventional upbringing. We are meant to approve more and more of him but I find it all a little too smug of Forster as if Philip becomes what Forster is, a man with a discerning understanding of human nature and the different nationalities. His tone has just too much certainty about it and sums up whole nations in a way that I suspect Baedecker did. When I was at university, I remember one examination paper stated that many people in England felt reassured that Forster was still alive – and asked candidates to comment on this. If I were to answer that now, I think I’d challenge that original assertion.
This, of course, was Forster’s first novel and not too much should be expected of it. It’s melodramatic at times and I find the aftermath of the baby dying unconvincing in a number of ways but this book was a step towards ‘A room with a view’ and ‘Howard’s End’, my two favourite books of Forster. ( )
  evening | Mar 26, 2017 |
Interesting story about the relations between men and women. Philip maintained a platonic relationship with Caroline, realizing later he loves her. He thought she loves her too until dramatically she admits to have fallen in love with Gino." ( )
  siok | Jan 29, 2017 |
  This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com by express permission of this reviewer.   Title: Where Angels Fear to Tread Series: N/A Author: E. M. Forster Rating: 2 of 5 Stars Genre: Classic   Synopsis: A stupid widow, neglected by her husband's family who at the same time try to rule her behavior, goes to Italy for some reason or other. There she falls in love with a young peasant, marries him, has a kid, dies and then the family tries to take the child to have a "proper" upbringing. Nothing good comes of that line of action and in the end nothing good comes of anybody's actions.   My Thoughts I enjoyed Room with a View. Unfortunately, I hated this book right from the beginning, through the middle and couldn't wait for the end to be over.   I need somebody to cheer for in a book. Just one person. In this book I found every person distasteful and it really seems like Forster did this on purpose to get his point across.   Messed up families, deliberate stupidity, pride, greed, sloth, uncontrolled lust and apathy were what I saw and read about. I am a firm believer in not just showing up bad behavior but also showing what COULD be, ie, good behavior.   So I'm 50/50 with Forster. Not good odds in my books. " ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
I should start off this review by mentioning, for those who don’t know, that [Where Angels Fear to Tread] is E. M. Forster’s first novel. When it was published, Forster was only 26 years old. I find that to be an accomplishment in itself. What is more difficult for me to communicate are my thoughts regarding this one. I tend to be a fan of books that tackle meaty topics of divisions caused by class structure, societal norms and mannerisms under the guise of troublesome family scenarios. While I appreciate that Forster takes a lighter hand here – he does not over burden the story with deep philosophical ramblings – I found the lightness of touch gave the story a rather flippant feel, one that overshadows Forester’s attack at the narrow-minded snobbery and cultural insensitivity of the English middle class the story is to portray. I struggled a bit with some of the characters – in particular, Philip, Harriet and Mrs. Herriton. I found Philip’s attraction to Caroline Abbott to be lacking in substance, more like the youthful infatuation of a young collegiate man for an older, more worldly woman. This struck me as a bit odd as I got the impression that Caroline was the younger of the two. Harriet comes across as a little unhinged, even before the tragic events unfold and as for Mrs. Harriton, well, that woman has control issues. Lilia comes across as I would expect for one who faces life with an exuberance that defies being contained. As for the writing, while good, I felt that Forster was still coming into his own as a writer. Not surprising given his youth at the time of writing.

Overall, an decent read and I am now curious to watch the movie adaptation with Helen Mirren as Lilia Harriton. ( )
  lkernagh | Oct 11, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. M. Forsterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Southall, JosephCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stallybrass, OliverEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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They were all at Charing Cross to see Lilia off--Philip, Harriet, Irma, Mrs. Herriton herself.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679736344, Paperback)

"Let her go to Italy!" he cried. "Let her meddle with what she doesn't understand! Look at this letter! The man who wrote it will marry her, or murder her, or do for her somehow. He's a bounder, but he's not an English bounder. He's mysterious and terrible. He's got a country behind him that's upset people from the beginning of the world."

When a young English widow takes off on the grand tour and along the way marries a penniless Italian, her in-laws are not amused. That the marriage should fail and poor Lilia die tragically are only to be expected. But that Lilia should have had a baby -- and that the baby should be raised as an Italian! -- are matters requiring immediate correction by Philip Herriton, his dour sister Harriet, and their well-meaning friend Miss Abbott.

In his first novel, E. M. Forster anticipated the themes of cultural collision and the sterility of the English middle class that he would develop in A Room with a View and A Passage to India. Where Angels Fear to Tread is an accomplished, harrowing, and malevolently funny book, in which familiar notions of vice and virtue collapse underfoot and the best intentions go mortally awry.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:03 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Forster's first novel, a marvelously assured tragicomedy of English men and women adrift in Italy--now the basis for a major motion picture. When a young English widow has the effrontery to marry a penniless Italian while on the grand tour, her proper relations take it upon themselves to set things right.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441453, 0141199253

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