Edward Morgan Forster was born into an upper-middle-class family in
London on January 1, 1879. His father died when he was two, and Forster was
raised by his mother, Alice Clara Forster. She was to remain an influential and
dominant figure well into Forster's adult life. They shared a house together until
her death in 1945.
Forster was educated at Tonbridge School in Kent, and, from 1897 to 1901, at
King's College, Cambridge. In the years immediately following his graduation, he
traveled in Italy, Greece and Germany. He also began to write short stories,
which were published in the Independent Review. Forster's first novel, Where
Angels Fear to Tread, was published in 1905, when Forster was twenty-six. This
was followed two years later by the autobiographical novel, The Longest
Journey. A Room with a View appeared in 1908.
Forster's fourth novel was Howard's End (1910), which firmly established his
reputation. It was also a commercial success. By this time Forster had become a
member of the group of writers and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury
Group, which included Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes,
During World War I, Forster joined the Red Cross and served in Alexandria,
Egypt. In 1921, Forster made his second visit to India (the first was in 1912),
where he worked as a private secretary to the Maharajah of Dewas. In 1924 he
published his most acclaimed novel, A Passage to India, based on his
experiences in India under British rule.
A Passage to India is regarded as Forster's masterpiece, and it sold more than a
million copies in his lifetime. Interest in the novel was stimulated for a new
generation of readers following the success of the Academy Award-winning film
version in the late 1980s.
A Passage to India was the last novel Forster wrote, although he continued to
produce biographies, essays, reviews and short stories.
Forster refused a knighthood in 1949, but was made a Companion of Honour in
1953. In 1969 he accepted an Order of Merit.
He died on June 7, 1970.
His novel Maurice, which has a homosexual theme and was written in 1913 and
1914, was published posthumously in 1971. Forster had requested that it not be
published during his lifetime.