Quotes by E. M. Forster

No one is India.
- E. M. Forster
Ideas are fatal to caste.
- E. M. Forster
Reverence is fatal to literature.
- E. M. Forster
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Logic! Good gracious! What rubbish!
- E. M. Forster
History develops, art stands still.
- E. M. Forster
I'm a holy man minus the holiness.
- E. M. Forster
I am certainly an ought and not a must.
- E. M. Forster
Unless we remember we cannot understand.
- E. M. Forster
Nonsense and beauty have close connections.
- E. M. Forster
Be soft, even if you stand to get squashed.
- E. M. Forster
Follow us on:
We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand.
- E. M. Forster
How can I know what I think till I see what I say?
- E. M. Forster
Love is always being given where it is not required.
- E. M. Forster
No man can be an agnostic who has a sense of humour.
- E. M. Forster
Either life entails courage, or it ceases to be life.
- E. M. Forster
Death destroys a man, but the idea of death saves him.
- E. M. Forster
There is something majestic in the bad taste of Italy.
- E. M. Forster
Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice.
- E. M. Forster
Liking one person is an extra reason for liking another.
- E. M. Forster
Charm, in most men and nearly all women, is a decoration.
- E. M. Forster
It is the vice of a vulgar mind to be thrilled by bigness.
- E. M. Forster
England has always been disinclined to accept human nature.
- E. M. Forster
I have no mystic faith in the people. I have in the individual.
- E. M. Forster
Most quarrels are inevitable at the time; incredible afterwards.
- E. M. Forster
Paganism is infectious, more infectious than diphtheria or piety.
- E. M. Forster
The sort of poetry I seek resides in objects man can't touch.
- E. M. Forster
Only a struggle twists sentimentality and lust together into love.
- E. M. Forster
One is certain of nothing but the truth of one's own emotions.
- E. M. Forster
At the side of the everlasting why, is a yes, and a yes, and a yes.
- E. M. Forster
Only a writer who has the sense of evil can make goodness readable.
- E. M. Forster
Faith, to my mind, is a stiffening process, a sort of mental starch.
- E. M. Forster
It is my fate and perhaps my temperament to sign agreements with fools.
- E. M. Forster
Creative writers are always greater than the causes that they represent.
- E. M. Forster
If there is on earth a house with many mansions, it is the house of words.
- E. M. Forster
The more highly public life is organized the lower does its morality sink.
- E. M. Forster
The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death.
- E. M. Forster
One always tends to overpraise a long book, because one has got through it.
- E. M. Forster
Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.
- E. M. Forster
Surely the only sound foundation for a civilization is a sound state of mind.
- E. M. Forster
One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.
- E. M. Forster
Love and understand the Italians, for the people are more marvellous than the land.
- E. M. Forster
The English countryside, its growth and its destruction, is a genuine and tragic theme.
- E. M. Forster
We are all like Scheherazade's husband, in that we want to know what happens next.
- E. M. Forster
The sadness of the incomplete, the sadness that is often Life, but should never be Art.
- E. M. Forster
The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society was eternal.
- E. M. Forster
I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.
- E. M. Forster
Think before you speak is criticism's motto; speak before you think, creation's.
- E. M. Forster
Two cheers for Democracy; one because it admits variety, and two because it permits criticism.
- E. M. Forster
Only people who have been allowed to practise freedom can have the grown-up look in their eyes.
- E. M. Forster
So, two cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism.
- E. M. Forster
At night, when the curtains are drawn and the fire flickers, my books attain a collective dignity.
- E. M. Forster
One of the evils of money is that it tempts us to look at it rather than at the things that it buys.
- E. M. Forster
Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man.
- E. M. Forster
The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died, and then queen died of grief is a plot.
- E. M. Forster
The woman who can't influence her husband to vote the way she wants ought to be ashamed of herself.
- E. M. Forster
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
- E. M. Forster
Those who prepared for all the emergencies of life beforehand may equip themselves at the expense of joy.
- E. M. Forster
To make us feel small in the right way is a function of art; men can only make us feel small in the wrong way.
- E. M. Forster
A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself.
- E. M. Forster
What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?
- E. M. Forster
The four characteristics of humanism are curiosity, a free mind, belief in good taste, and belief in the human race.
- E. M. Forster
One marvels why the middle classes still insist on so much discomfort for their children at such expense to themselves.
- E. M. Forster
We are not concerned with the very poor. They are unthinkable, and only to be approached by the statistician or the poet.
- E. M. Forster
But nothing in India is identifiable, the mere asking of a question causes it to disappear or to merge in something else.
- E. M. Forster
The work of art assumes the existence of the perfect spectator, and is indifferent to the fact that no such person exists.
- E. M. Forster
If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.
- E. M. Forster
There lies at the back of every creed something terrible and hard for which the worshipper may one day be required to suffer.
- E. M. Forster
What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.
- E. M. Forster
There is much good luck in the world, but it is luck. We are none of us safe. We are children, playing or quarrelling on the line.
- E. M. Forster
Very notable was his distinction between coarseness and vulgarity, coarseness, revealing something; vulgarity, concealing something.
- E. M. Forster
People have their own deaths as well as their own lives, and even if there is nothing beyond death, we shall differ in our nothingness.
- E. M. Forster
The final test for a novel will be our affection for it, as it is the test of our friends, and of anything else which we cannot define.
- E. M. Forster
America is rather like life. You can usually find in it what you look for. It will probably be interesting, and it is sure to be large.
- E. M. Forster
Oxford is Oxford: not a mere receptacle for youth, like Cambridge. Perhaps it wants its inmates to love it rather than to love one another.
- E. M. Forster
Letters have to pass two tests before they can be classed as good: they must express the personality both of the writer and of the recipient.
- E. M. Forster
For our vanity is such that we hold our own characters immutable, and we are slow to acknowledge that they have changed, even for the better.
- E. M. Forster
Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.
- E. M. Forster
I have only got down on to paper, really, three types of people: the person I think I am, the people who irritate me, and the people I'd like to be.
- E. M. Forster
I never could get on with representative individuals but people who existed on their own account and with whom it might therefore be possible to be friends.
- E. M. Forster
The only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves.
- E. M. Forster
I distrust Great Men. They produce a desert of uniformity around them and often a pool of blood too, and I always feel a little man's pleasure when they come a cropper.
- E. M. Forster
Tolerance is a very dull virtue. It is boring. Unlike love, it has always had a bad press. It is negative. It merely means putting up with people, being able to stand things.
- E. M. Forster
The fact is we can only love what we know personally. And we cannot know much. In public affairs, in the rebuilding of civilization, something less dramatic and emotional is needed, namely tolerance.
- E. M. Forster
Beauty ought to look a little surprised: it is the emotion that best suits her face. The beauty who does not look surprised, who accepts her position as her due - she reminds us too much of a prima donna.
- E. M. Forster
Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don't believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art's sake.
- E. M. Forster
I am so used to seeing the sort of play which deals with one man and two women. They do not leave me with the feeling I have made a full theatrical meal they do not give me the experience of the multiplicity of life.
- E. M. Forster
We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.
- E. M. Forster
The historian must have some conception of how men who are not historians behave. Otherwise he will move in a world of the dead. He can only gain that conception through personal experience, and he can only use his personal experiences when he is a genius.
- E. M. Forster