E. M. Forster quotes

  • The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death." "We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Letting Go #Inspirational Life #Sleep

  • One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Football #Motivation #Passion

  • It isn't possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Love #Romantic #Romance

  • One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Friendship #Trust #Real Friends

  • What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Stars #Wind #Tree

  • 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.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Art #Believe #Order

  • I believe we shall come to care about people less and less, Helen. The more people one knows, the easier it becomes to replace them. It's one of the curses of London. I quite expect to end my life caring most for a place.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Believe #Caring #People

  • Unless we remember we cannot understand.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Life #Memories #Understanding

  • Adventures do occur, but not punctually.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Adventure

  • It isn't possible to love and to part.
    -- E. M. Forster

  • Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Inspirational #Education #Running

  • Romance only dies with life. No pair of pincers will ever pull it out of us. But there is a spurious sentiment which cannot resist the unexpected and the incongruous and the grotesque. A touch will loosen it, and the sooner it goes from us the better.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Romance #Pairs #Unexpected

  • Books have to be read (worse luck it takes so long a time). It is the only way of discovering what they contain. A few savage tribes eat them, but reading is the only method of assimilation revealed to the West.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Book #Reading #Long

  • Life never gives us what we want at the moment that we consider appropriate.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Life And Love #Giving #Want

  • A happy ending was imperative. I shouldn't have bothered to write otherwise. I was determined that in fiction anyway two men should fall in love and remain in it for the ever and ever that fiction allows, and in this sense, Maurice and Alec still roam the greenwood.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Falling In Love #Writing #Men

  • How can I know what I think till I see what I say?
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Writing #Thinking #Literature

  • At the moment they vanished they were everywhere, the cool benediction of the night descended, the stars sparkled, and the whole universe was a hill.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Stars #Night #Hills

  • I can only do what's easy. I can only entice and be enticed. I can't, and won't, attempt difficult relations. If I marry it will either be a man who's strong enough to boss me or whom I'm strong enough to boss. So I shan't ever marry, for there aren't such men. And Heaven help any one whom I do marry, for I shall certainly run away from him before you can say 'Jack Robinson.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Running #Strong #Men

  • She must be assured that it is not a criminal offense to love at first sight.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Sight #Criminals #Firsts

  • A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Poetry #Together #Literature

  • Human beings have their great chance in the novel.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Chance #Novel #Humans

  • When love flies it is remembered not as love but as something else.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Remembered

  • At night, when the curtains are drawn and the fire flickers, my books attain a collective dignity.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Book #Night #Fire

  • But nothing in India is identifiable, the mere asking of a question causes it to disappear or to merge in something else.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Causes #India #Asking

  • 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.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #People #Wells #Nothingness

  • The four characteristics of humanism are curiosity, a free mind, belief in good taste, and belief in the human race.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Race #Curiosity #Mind

  • One is certain of nothing but the truth of one's own emotions.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #History #Emotion #Certain

  • I cannot help thinking that there is something to admire in everyone, even if you do not approve of them.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Thinking #Helping #Admire

  • One of the evils of money is that it tempts us to look at it rather than at the things that it buys.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Evil #Temptation #Looks

  • If human nature does alter it will be because individuals manage to look at themselves in a new way. Here and there people - a very few people, but a few novelists are among them - are trying to do this. Every institution and vested interest in against such a search: organized religion, the State, the family in its economic aspect, have nothing to gain, and it is only when outward prohibitions weaken that it can proceed: history conditions it to that extent.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #People #Trying #Novelists

  • Money pads the edges of things.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Pads

  • Think before you speak is criticism's motto; speak before you think, creation's.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Thinking #Criticism #Literature

  • Do not be proud of your inconsistency. It is a pity, it is a pity that we should be equipped like this. It is a pity that Man cannot be at the same time impressive and truthful.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Men #Proud #Truthful

  • I do like Christmas on the whole.... In its clumsy way, it does approach Peace and Goodwill. But it is clumsier every year.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Christmas #Holiday #Years

  • Passion does not blind. No. Passion is sanity, and the woman you love, she is the only person you will ever really understand.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Passion #Doe #Sanity

  • Have you ever noticed that there are people who do things which are most indelicate, and yet at the same time - beautiful?
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Beautiful #People

  • The kingdom of music is not the kingdom of this world.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #World #Kingdoms #This World

  • When that strange race nears the dust and is condemned as untouchable, then nature remembers the physical perfection that she accomplished elsewhere, and throws out a god-not many, but one here and there, to prove to society how little its categories impress her.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Race #Dust #Perfection

  • 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.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Book #Gone #Littles

  • While her lips talked culture, her heart was planning to invite him to tea
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Heart #Tea #Culture

  • She loved him absolutely, perhaps for half an hour.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Half #Hours

  • School was the unhappiest time of my life and the worst trick it ever played on me was to pretend that it was the world in miniature. For it hindered me from discovering how lovely and delightful and kind the world can be, and how much of it is intelligible.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #School #Lovely #World

  • If we act the truth the people who really love us are sure to come back to us in the long run
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Running #Long #People

  • This desire to govern a woman -- it lies very deep, and men and women must fight it together.... But I do love you surely in a better way then he does." He thought. "Yes -- really in a better way. I want you to have your own thoughts even when I hold you in my arms.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Lying #Love You #Fighting

  • You confuse what's important with what's impressive.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Important #Impressive

  • The work of art assumes the existence of the perfect spectator, and is indifferent to the fact that no such person exists.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Art #Perfect #Facts

  • They had nothing in common but the English language.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Common #Language #English Language

  • A novel must give a sense of permanence as well as a sense of life.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Writing #Giving #Novel

  • The armour of falsehood is subtly wrought out of darkness, and hides a man not only from others, but from his own soul.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Honesty #Men #Soul

  • It is thus, if there is any rule, that we ought to die--neither as victim nor as fanatic, but as the seafarer who can greet with an equal eye the deep that he is entering, and the shore that he must leave.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Eye #Entering #Victim

  • Liking one person is an extra reason for liking another.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Liking Someone #Literature #Reason

  • The fact is we can only love what we know personally. And we cannot know much. In public affairs, in the rebuilding of civilization, something less dramatic and emotional is needed, namely tolerance.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Emotional #Civilization #Tolerance

  • Let yourself go. Pull out from the depths those thoughts that you do not understand, and spread them out in the sunlight and know the meaning of them.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Inspirational #Life #Beautiful

  • I'm a holy man minus the holiness.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Men #Literature #Holiness

  • When love flies it is remembered not as love but as something else. Blessed are the uneducated, who forget it entirely, and are never conscious of folly or pruriency in the past, of long aimless conversations.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Blessed #Past #Long

  • Axiom : Novel must have either one living character or a perfect pattern: fails otherwise.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Character #Perfect #Patterns

  • The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society was eternal.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #People #Society #Literature

  • Don't go fighting against the Spring.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Spring #Fighting

  • Charm, in most men and nearly all women, is a decoration.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Men #Literature #Charm

  • Like all her friends, I miss her greatly...But...I am sure there is no case for lamentation...Virginia Woolf got through an immense amount of work, she gave acute pleasure in new ways, she pushed the light of the English language a little further against darkness. Those are facts.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Light #Virginia #Missing

  • At times our need for a sympathetic gesture is so great that we care not what exactly it signifies or how much we may have to pay for it afterwards.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Needs #Care #May

  • Then she lay on her back and gazed at the cloudless sky. Mr. Beebe, whose opinion of her rose daily, whispered to his niece that that was the proper way to behave if any little thing went wrong.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Niece #Sky #Rose

  • 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.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Art #Thinking #Echoes

  • Life is like a public performance on the violin, in which you must learn the intrument as you go along
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Life Is Like #Violin #Life Is

  • Nonsense and beauty have close connections.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Beauty #Connections #Literature

  • Expansion, that is the idea the novelist must cling to, not completion, not rounding off, but opening out.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Writing #Ideas #Novelists

  • Words deserted him immediately. He could only speak when he was not asked to.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Speak

  • The historian records, but the novelist creates.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Writing #Novelists #Records

  • History develops, art stands still.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Art #History #Literature

  • Mistrust all enterprises that require new clothes.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Fashion #Clothes #Mistrust

  • Love and understand the Italians, for the people are more marvellous than the land.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Land #People #Literature

  • Creative writers are always greater than the causes that they represent.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Writing #Creativity #Creative

  • The kingdom of music is not the kingdom of this world; it will accept those whom breeding and intellect and culture have alike rejected. The commonplace person begins to play, and shoots into the empyrean without effort, whilst we look up, marvelling how he has escaped us, and thinking how we could worship him and love him, would he but translate his visions into human words, and his experiences into human actions. Perhaps he cannot; certainly he does not, or does so very seldom.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Thinking #Play #Effort

  • We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won't do harm - yes, choose a place where you won't do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Moving #Sunshine #Darkness

  • You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you.
    -- E. M. Forster

  • Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Book #Interesting #Literature

  • I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Mother #War #Grateful

  • One always tends to overpraise a long book, because one has got through it.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Book #Reading #Writing

  • Death destroys a man, but the idea of death saves him.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Death #Men #Ideas

  • The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Life #Sleep #Enlightenment

  • If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Friendship #Country #Betrayal

  • Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Practice #Literature #Life Is

  • 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.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Art #Men #Creative

  • What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Reading #Men #Literature

  • Don't be mysterious; there isn't the time.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Mysterious

  • It so happened that Lucy, who found daily life rather chaotic, entered a more solid world when she opened the piano. She was then no longer either deferential or patronizing; no longer either a rebel or a slave.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Piano #Rebel #World

  • Sudden conversion ... is particularly attractive to the half-baked mind.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Mind #Atheism #Half

  • He had known so much about her once -what she thought, how she felt, the reasons for her actions. And now he only knew that he loved her, and all the other knowledge seemed passing from him just as he needed it most.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Action #Reason #Passing

  • Do you remember Italy?
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Remember

  • Aziz winked at him slowly and said: “...There are many ways of being a man; mine is to express what is deepest in my heart.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Heart #Men #Way

  • Do you suppose there's any difference between spring in nature and spring in man? But there we go, praising the one and condemning the other as improper, ashamed that the same laws work eternally through both.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Spring #Men #Law

  • Ah, but you see, I didn't want to be fair.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Book #Want #Language

  • Before the civil war, Pottibakia was a normal member of the Comity of Nations. She erected tariff walls, broke treaties, persecuted minorities, obstructed at conferences unless she was convinced there was no danger of a satisfactory solution; then she strained every nerve in the cause of peace.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Wall #War #Nerves

  • As for 'story' I never yet did enjoy a novel or play in which someone didn't tell me afterward that there was something wrong with the story, so that's going to be no drawback as far as I'm concerned. "Good Lord, why am I so bored" "I know; it must be the plot developing harmoniously." So I often reply to myself, and there rises before me my special nightmare that of the writer as craftsman, natty and deft.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Play #Bored #Special

  • Man can learn everything if he will but try.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Men #Trying

  • The story of the Fall always fascinates me as a play ground, but I cannot find any profound meaning in it, because of my 'liberal' view of human nature: I cannot believe in a state of original innocence, still less in a profound meaning in it, and I am always minimising the conception and the extent of Sin and the sinfulness of sex.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Sex #Believe #Fall

  • It is easy to sympathize at a distance,' said an old gentleman with a beard. 'I value more the kind word that is spoken close to my ear.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Distance #Gentleman #Ears

  • But I have seen my obstacles: trivialities, learning and poetry. This last needs explaining: the old artist's readiness to dissolve characters into a haze. Characters cannot come alive and fight and guide the world unless the novelist wants them to remain characters.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Character #Fighting #Artist

  • Science, when applied to personal relationships, is always just wrong .
    -- E. M. Forster

  • One has two duties - to be worried and not to be worried.
    -- E. M. Forster

    #Life #Two #Worried