E. M. Forster has been one of my favorite authors for many years now, particularly for his short stories, which, oddly, do not get as much critical attention as his novels.Forster, E. M. Where Angels Fear to Tread. 1905.Summary
: Rebelling against her deceased husband's oppressive family, Lilia goes to Italy and impulsively marries a young Italian man she meets there. Unfortunately, she dies of childbirth, and her family in England is determined to have the product of this union. In the end, though, Gino is unwilling to give up his son, sister-in-law Harriet kidnaps it, and the baby dies tragically.Comments
: This is Forster's first novel, and, as such, it really only hints at the magnificence which is to come. Mostly, the primary conceit of the novel glorifies the "naturalness" of Italy and Italians in the face of stiff British society and propriety...which, personally, as a person of both Anglo-Saxon and Italian descent, I find to be a rather unconvincing dichotomy. Italians can be just as stiff and preoccupied with propriety and the honor of family--read The Godfather
if you don't believe me. *sighs* Anyway, I was disappointed by the dearth of the positive female characters that populate Forster's other novels; Lilia was especially annoying and Miss Abbott decidedly unconvincing. There was no real love story, either...unless you count Philip's throes of passion and rejection toward the country of Italy, that is. Of course, Philip gets his homosocial (read: coded homoerotic) moment with Gino and other Italian men at that orgy of an opera. Gino himself is an early incarnation of Forster's fetish for swarthy, low class men. Notes
: Carroll & Graf's Great Novels and Short Stories of E. M. ForsterRating
- Though this one is Forster's first, there are a number of other works by Forster that you should be reading first.