Aspects of the Novel

Aspects of the Novel


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E.M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel is an innovative and effusive treatise on a literary form that, at the time of publication, had only recently begun to enjoy serious academic consideration. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction by Oliver Stallybrass, and features a new preface by Frank Kermode.

First given as a series of lectures at Cambridge University, Aspects of the Novel is Forster's analysis of this great literary form. Here he rejects the 'pseudoscholarship' of historical criticism - 'that great demon of chronology' - that considers writers in terms of the period in which they wrote and instead asks us to imagine the great novelists working together in a single room. He discusses aspects of people, plot, fantasy and rhythm, making illuminating comparisons between novelists such as Proust and James, Dickens and Thackeray, Eliot and Dostoyevsky - the features shared by their books and the ways in which they differ. Written in a wonderfully engaging and conversational manner, this penetrating work of criticism is full of Forster's habitual irreverence, wit and wisdom.

In his new introduction, Frank Kermode discusses the ways in which Forster's perspective as a novelist inspired his lectures. This edition also includes the original introduction by Oliver Stallybrass, a chronology, further reading and appendices.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) was a noted English author and critic and a member of the Bloomsbury group. His first novel, Where Angels Fear To Tread appeared in 1905. The Longest Journey appeared in 1907, followed by A Room With A View (1908), based partly on the material from extended holidays in Italy with his mother. Howards End (1910) was a story that centered on an English country house and dealt with the clash between two families, one interested in art and literature, the other only in business. Maurice was revised several times during his life, and finally published posthumously in 1971.

If you enjoyed Aspects of the Novel, you might like Forster's A Room with a View, also available in Penguin Classics.

Title:Aspects of the Novel
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    Aspects of the Novel Reviews

  • Paul Bryant

    They said to me "Do you do Twitter?"I said no, I have Goodreads.They said "What about Facebook?"I said no, I have Goodreads - this is funny, someone said it should be called Bookface.They didn't get t...

  • Riku Sayuj

    Towards a Poetics of The Novel Here is a nice pseudo-scholarly jaunt through what 'aspects' go towards the creation of the Novel-form. Forster isolates a few of these aspects and discusses them, bu...

  • Carolyn Marie Castagna

    "No English Novelist is as great as Tolstoy" if I couldn't love E.M. Forster even more!!!That fact that one of my favorite authors (Forster) has also read and loved the same books as I have just ...

  • Spencer Orey

    I didn't understand precisely what he meant by fantasy vs prophecy, and I have a feeling that it could be useful. But as a whole, it was a thoughtful take on writing, freed from historicizing or putti...

  • Richard Derus

    Rating: 5* of fiveOne of the best books I've read about writing novels. A truly inspirational guide to a complex and daunting effort. It is scary enough to make the decision to write a novel. To face ...

  • Helle

    As much as I absolutely love some of ForsterÔÇÖs novels, there was something about this book which failed to reach me entirely. In about half of it, he was lucid and original, using text examples that...

  • Jennifer

    Not exactly a how-to guide or a critique, Forster very basically explains different aspects of the novel through a series of lectures he gave in the late 1920s. A lot of the books that he refers to IÔ...

  • Emma

    3.5/5 StarsI had to read this series of lectures by E.M. Forster for one of my classes and I found it quite interesting, especially in some parts. I also really appreciated how clear he was in his exp...

  • Eleanor

    I enjoyed it to some extent, especially the laugh-out-loud moments where he points out how utterly ridiculous a plot is, or quotes a parody of Henry James by H G Wells. But many of the books of which ...

  • Bryan

    Like many exponents of "literary" fiction, Forster has no appreciation for the craft, difficulty, or art of story. Consider this ridiculous observation:"Curiosity is one of the lowest of the human fac...