E. M. Forster as Public Intellectual

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Abstract

This essay offers historical and theoretical context for the emergence of E. M. Forster as a public intellectual before, during, and after the Second World War. Moving well beyond the traditional domain of belles lettres, Forster's “public” capacity in print journalism and radio presented a new and significant model, mandate, and agency for modernist writers. Even as his audience grew, Forster resisted top-down attempts to place controls over his public work (such as that on behalf of the British Broadcasting Corporation) consistent with his attempts to protect personal privacy. The very fact that by the end of Forster's career arts and media were considered as not only public but subject to the judgment of opinion in the public “sphere” or domain, suggests the great extent to which his career as writer successfully negotiated the transition in post-war modernism from private (artistic) to public (popular) entitlements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-52
JournalLiterature Compass
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006

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