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Old 08-19-2011, 06:33 PM   #14
beppe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fantasyfan View Post
I would like to offer a general comment on the theme. It isn't original with me but is a comment on Forster in general by the brilliant {but rather tendentious} Cambridge literary critic F.R.Leavis. He focuses on a specific conflict in Forster which seems to make a great deal of sense in the novel. Here is what he says:

"Pre-eminently a novelist of civilized personal relations, he has at the same time a radical dissatisfaction with civilization--"

Don't we see this in Passage to India? Both the Indians and the British have what they think is a deeply civilized behaviour pattern. Yet, there is a nearly unbridgeable gap of communication between them. And IMO I think that Forster is consciously rejecting the Imperialistic tradition, "civilization", of the latter for the deeper humanity and "civilized personal relations" of Aziz.
A very interesting and stimulating point.

There is no doubt that the general mood of the book that we are discussing is pessimistic about who populates it, maybe with the exception of the Professor and the "god" that moves the fan in the court, both lost in their own world, at the opposite ends of consciousness.

It is my impression that Forster "rejects" both the British and the Indians. That is, he makes fun of them. He exposes the British in their rigid and stern defense of an adventageous position and of the appearances they mantain. He also exposes the intricacies of the Indians' personal relations, affected as they are, by caste, religion and origins, with an emotional tint that borders on hysterics.

He does not spend much words about the British, treating them as charicatures: the intended readers knew everything about themselves.He spend most of his words with the Indians, with pieces of conversation that are as hylarious as the British skits.

Actually the characters that more attract me are British. I find Aziz pathetic in his self centered generosity that at the first disappointment becomes delirious jelousy and forces him to reject his friend, to mantain the high opinion of himself. The original sin of Fielding is to take care of the safety of Adela instead of accompanying him in his triumph.Fielding is ready to die there. Aziz, so keen in pleasing and so attentive to the most subtle nuances, he does not understand nothing, except his glorious victory and the vengeance.

He wants women to be free, oh yes, in his poems, but not in his house and not around him. An hipocrite, that is how Forster describes Aziz, slave of his passions, that become high only for a brief instant when he tries to remember is wife. But immediately he uses that bitter sweet emotion for self indulgence. Later he sacrifies her memory for a jest, when he shows the picture to Fielding. I think he is a miserable.

The gap that you mention is very interesting and important. I have comments for it but I will post them further on in the discussion.
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