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The Longest Journey by E. M. Forster
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The Longest Journey (1907)

by E. M. Forster

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Forster is best known for such classics as 'A Passage to India' and 'Howards End'; his other work does not get the exposure it deserves, and so 'The Longest Journey' has fallen out of its natural readership. This is a terrible shame; Forster wrote this book before he turned thirty, and yet it contains such wisdom and tact that you would expect it rather to have been the product of an older mind. But then Forster was always ahead, of himself, of his times, and of the literary world in general. I felt like I was soaking myself in culture with this novel, and adored every sentence. Remarkable. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | May 5, 2019 |
This novel starts off in Cambridge, where the main character, Rickie, is an undergraduate. Philosophical discussions are held, and nature is appreciated. The main character is sensitive, with literary inclinations, and a partially crippled foot. After Cambridge, Rickie is followed through life and unto his death, with marriage, employment, and family goings-on filling the interval.
The emphases of the novel are nature, human nature, emotions, class, poetry, art, philosophy, and family. Though the dramatic plot and characterisation were pretty good, it is the literary style and the ideas in this book that I most enjoyed. Some novels feel like they take ages to read, but this one seemed to be gone before I knew it, and felt far shorter than its 300 odd pages. This is usually a good sign. ( )
1 vote P_S_Patrick | Jan 7, 2013 |
I had mixed feelings about this book. At times, I was quite engrossed, and there were some genuinely interesting plot twists. However, this wasn't true of the novel as a whole, and I found that the first part in particular (Cambridge) dragged. ( )
  cazfrancis | Sep 16, 2011 |
One of the most intriguing relationships in the novel (and you're introduced to it early so, so this is not a spoiler in any way) is that Rickie shares with Stewart Ansell, who determinedly challenges -- and perpetuates -- class prejudice."To be born one thing and grow up another -- Ansell had accomplished this without weakening one of the ties that bound him to his home." And, ironically, it's Stewart who most notably rebuffs Agnes, who has come to visit Rickie, but has been completely and entirely ignored by the draper's son. The Longest Journey is filled with such contradictions and injuries, and it contains more than its share of disappointments and tragedies. Nonetheless, Lionel Trilling considered it "perhaps the most brilliant, the most dramatic, and the most passionate" of Forster's novels. It's also of interest to serious Forster readers for its autobiographical elements (the most obvious being Rickie's desire to write) and although it took me many months to move beyond the novel's first 100 pages (which does make this, of Forster's novels, my Longest Journey through his fiction), I'm pleased to have read it. ( )
  buriedinprint | Sep 15, 2011 |
The longest (and dreariest) journey referred to is marriage, or partnership with a single woman. The title is taken from a line of the poem Epipsychidion by Shelley, one of many echoes of Shelley's life that you come across in this book. Shelley's poem was inspired by his extra-marital love for Emilia Vivani, a love which Andre Maurois suggests was for an embodied ideal rather than for the real woman. Love for the ideal rather than the actual leads to the unsuccessful marriage at the centre of this book. And yet it seemed to me that the author was not discussing only this marriage and this woman, but marriage in general. Every marriage in this book leads to disappointment. Continued ( )
2 vote apenguinaweek | May 11, 2011 |
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Fratribus
Dedication
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"The cow is there," said Ansell, lighting a match and holding it out over the carpet.
Quotations
Rickie sat by the fire playing with one of the
lumps of chalk [that have been thrown through the window]. ... As he mused, the chalk slipped from his fingers, and
fell on the coffee-cup, which broke. The china, said Leighton [footman] was
expensive. He believed it was impossible to match it now. Each cup was
different. It was a harlequin set
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141441488, Paperback)

E. M. Forster once described The Longest Journey as the book "I am most glad to have written." An introspective novel of manners at once comic and tragic, it tells of a sensitive and intelligent young man with an intense imagination and a certain amount of literary talent. He sets out full of hope to become a writer, but gives up his aspirations for those of the conventional world, gradually sinking into a life of petty conformity and bitter disappointments.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:48 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Rickie Elliot, sensitive and idealistic, misleads himself through his conventional desire for marriage and fatherhood. Falling for and marrying Agnes Pembroke, he journeys away from the philosophical ideals of his Cambridge youth.

» see all 4 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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