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“We can only interpret by our experiences”: Nature/culture in Forster’s ‘Cambridge’ Novels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalGreen Letters
Early online date12 Oct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Oct 2018


This essay offers a reading of E. M. Forster’s two ‘Cambridge Novels’, The Longest Journey (1907), and Maurice (1971), that recasts Forster’s engagement with nature as one more directly interpretable through a phenomenological lens. The reception of these two novels often focuses on the redemptive quality of Cambridge as a ‘heaven for young men’, a notion based on Forster’s personal history. This underrepresents the evidence of Forster’s ethics of attending to nature. This essay, therefore, offers a fresh analysis of the fate of the main characters in the two novels. It considers the shifting values of the environment in the narratives at the beginning of the twentieth century, and their ramifications for Forster’s moral concern with lived experience and immanence connected to the natural environment. The resulting evaluation posits that entanglement with nature results in the complete subversion of human character into natureculture.

    Research areas

  • E. M. Forster, phenomenology, ecocriticism, education

ID: 75756738