What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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Aspects of the Novel
by E.M. Forster

Field-Tested by Dave Reidy

in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

I brought three books to the Dominican Republic. I finished the first, Steve Martin’s memoir, Standing Up, before the plane landed (it was very good). The second, Marc Eliot’s biography of Cary Grant, didn’t carry me through to the end (Cary Grant dropped acid? On his psychiatrist’s orders? For years? It was all too much). The third book was E.M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel, a collection of the lectures Forster delivered in 1927 at Trinity College, Cambridge, on the subject of the novel.

As I read, I could see Forster at the front of a dank but distinguished lecture hall, enlivening what could have been oppressively dull proceedings with witty, accessible illustrations of the novel’s parts, and of each part’s contribution to the novel’s greater sum. Forster’s words were so alive that I found myself inhabiting that gray lecture hall, imagining myself away from the tropical surroundings I’d traveled a great distance to enjoy.

Dave Reidy lives in Chicago and writes fiction. He is working on a novel. He can be found at his website.

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