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Aspects of the Novel (1927)

by E. M. Forster

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,122366,473 (3.81)1 / 95
Full of Forster's renowned wit and perceptiveness, ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL offers a rare insight into the art of fiction from one of our greatest novelists. Forster pares down the novel to its essential elements as he sees them: story, people, plot, fantasy, prophecy, pattern and rhythm. He illustrates each aspect with examples from their greatest exponents, not hesitating as he does so to pass controversial judgement on the works of, among others, Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens and Henry James. 'His is a book to encourage dreaming.' Virginia Woolf… (more)
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» See also 95 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
This is great! Even without having read all the authors mentioned or even having heard of a couple whose reputations have faded out since 1927 when this series of talks were given, there is so much here! And it is so lightly delivered. Forester does underestimate Austen's capabilities, but then as a man perhaps what he didn't see displayed he assumed didn't exist. ( )
  quondame | Aug 9, 2022 |
E.M. Forster's book, "Aspects of the Novel" is fascinating.
The book has been compiled from a series of lectures he delivered on the topic.

It harks back to a time when writing was lyrical, compared to the things we read today. You must create time to read books like this. I am going to repeat - you must create the time, and not merely have the time.

He has covered various aspects of the novel - the characters, the plot, fantasy and more. While doing so, he has also compared how different writers have dealt with these aspects.

It helps if you have some familiarity with Dostoevsky, Proust, Tolstoy, Bronte, Joyce, HG Well, Henry James etc.

Read the book, because of way he has dealt with the subject, and also because of the sheer joy that you will get from the book. ( )
  RajivC | May 31, 2021 |
For those of my friends who have read CSL's [b:An Experiment in Criticism|80007|An Experiment in Criticism (Canto)|C.S. Lewis|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347790855s/80007.jpg|77261] and Tolkien's [b:On Fairy-Stories|1362112|Tolkien on Fairy-stories|J.R.R. Tolkien|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1326706200s/1362112.jpg|1351902], this makes an interesting companion. Although Forster doesn't really address things in quite the same way, he does have chapters on "Fantasy" and "Prophecy," each of which I think has some confluence with CSL and Big T. ( )
  octoberdad | Dec 16, 2020 |
I remember a time, roughly ten years ago, when I had heard of Forster but never read him. I have now read almost everything he published in book form - and I adore his writing and his sensibilities. This too I adore, and my only reservation about his study of the novel and what works - and doesn't - in literature is that it is too short. Originally a series of lectures, this fine volume scratches at the surface but would have been better at twice the length. Perhaps Forster felt that he had said enough of what he wanted to say, and that it fell to others to continue the work he had begun. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Nov 29, 2020 |
In the 1920s, the lecture series appears to have been the equivalent of today's serial podcast, or at least that's how this collection reads to me. Forster is casual but erudite, and through his thorough and sometimes humorous analysis, he conveys his deep understanding of and love for the novel as a literary form. There was much more to this book than I expected, and I very much enjoyed it. ( )
1 vote ImperfectCJ | Aug 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forster, E. M.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kermode, FrankIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stallybrass, OliverEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To Charles Mauron
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This lectureship is connected with the name of William George Clark, a Fellow of Trinity.
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The final test of a novel will be our affection for it, as it is the test of our friends."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Full of Forster's renowned wit and perceptiveness, ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL offers a rare insight into the art of fiction from one of our greatest novelists. Forster pares down the novel to its essential elements as he sees them: story, people, plot, fantasy, prophecy, pattern and rhythm. He illustrates each aspect with examples from their greatest exponents, not hesitating as he does so to pass controversial judgement on the works of, among others, Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens and Henry James. 'His is a book to encourage dreaming.' Virginia Woolf

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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