Books: Passages of a Buried Life

E.M. FORSTER: A LIFE by P.N. Furbank Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 619 pages; $19.95

Novelist E.M. Forster's beginnings did not promise a happy ending. There was, first of all, a hint of early mortality. His father, a feckless architect, died of tuberculosis in 1880, less than two years after Edward Morgan was born. That left his care entirely to Lily, his formidable mother, and to a zealous battalion of female relatives and friends. They coddled him mercilessly, dressed him like a fop and spoke of him in his presence as "the Important One." Naturally, the...

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