Famous Quotes By E. M. Forster


  1. A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself.
  2. 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.
  3. Charm, in most men and nearly all women, is a decoration.
  4. Death destroys a man, but the idea of death saves him.
  5. Either life entails courage, or it ceases to be life.
  6. England has always been disinclined to accept human nature.
  7. Faith, to my mind, is a stiffening process, a sort of mental starch.
  8. History develops, art stands still.
  9. 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.
  10. I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.
  11. I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.
  12. I have no mystic faith in the people. I have in the individual.
  13. If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.
  14. Love is always being given where it is not required.
  15. Nonsense and beauty have close connections.
  16. One is certain of nothing but the truth of one's own emotions.
  17. One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.
  18. One of the evils of money is that it tempts us to look at it rather than at the things that it buys.
  19. Only people who have been allowed to practise freedom can have the grown-up look in their eyes.
  20. 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.
  21. The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death.
  22. The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society was eternal.
  23. The sadness of the incomplete, the sadness that is often Life, but should never be Art.
  24. The sort of poetry I seek resides in objects man can't touch.
  25. The work of art assumes the existence of the perfect spectator, and is indifferent to the fact that no such person exists.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
  29. What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?
  30. What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.
  31. 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.

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