Quotes by Edward M. Forster

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Unless we remember we cannot understand.

Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.
If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.
I believe we shall come to care about people less and less. The more people one knows the easier it becomes to replace them. It's one of the curses of London.
Logic! Good gracious! What rubbish! How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?
Those who prepared for all the emergencies of life beforehand may equip themselves at the expense of joy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How can I know what I think till I see what I say?
Life -- No, I've nothing to teach you about it for the moment. May be writing about it another week.
The idea that nations should love one another, or that business concerns or marketing boards should love one another, or that a man in Portugal should love a man in Peru of whom he has never heard --it is absurd, unreal, dangerous. The fact is we can only love what we know personally. And we cannot know much.
Our life on earth is, and ought to be, material and carnal. But we have not yet learned to manage our materialism and carnality properly; they are still entangled with the desire for ownership.
The more highly public life is organized the lower does its morality sink.
We are not concerned with the very poor. They are unthinkable, and only to be approached by the statistician or the poet.
Lord I disbelieve -- help thou my unbelief.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Faith, to my mind, is a stiffening process, a sort of mental starch, which ought to be applied as sparingly as possible.
As long as learning is connected with earning, as long as certain jobs can only be reached through exams, so long must we take this examination system seriously. If another ladder to employment was contrived, much so-called education would disappear, and no one would be a penny the stupider.
At night, when the curtains are drawn and the fire flickers, my books attain a collective dignity.
Failure or success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars. But they retain the power of wriggling, of fighting with their star or against it, and in the whole universe the only really interesting movement is this wriggle.
Two cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism.
Death destroys a man, the idea of Death saves him.
Curiosity is one of the lowest of the human faculties. You will have noticed in daily life that when people are inquisitive they nearly always have bad memories and are usually stupid at bottom.
There lies at the back of every creed something terrible and hard for which the worshipper may one day be required to suffer.
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.
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.
Towns are excrescences, gray fluxions, where men, hurrying to find one another, have lost themselves.
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.
A funeral is not death, any more than baptism is birth or marriage union. All three are the clumsy devices, coming now too late, now too early, by which Society would register the quick motions of man.
The most successful career must show a waste of strength that might have removed mountains, and the most unsuccessful is not that of the man who is taken unprepared, but of him who has prepared and is never taken. On a tragedy of that kind our national morality is duly silent.
I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little further down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves.
One always tends to overpraise a long book, because one has got through it.
Art for art's sake? I should think so, and more so than ever at the present time. It is the one orderly product which our middling race has produced. It is the cry of a thousand sentinels, the echo from a thousand labyrinths, it is the lighthouse which cannot be hidden... it is the best evidence we can have of our dignity.
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.
Very notable was his distinction between coarseness and vulgarity, coarseness, revealing something; vulgarity, concealing something.
Creative writers are always greater than the causes that they represent.

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