The Heart Has Ossified
E. M. Forster. By Lionel Trilling. (sloaarth Press, 8s. 6d.) Reviewed by IRIS CONLAY WHEN a novelist • leaves a gap of fourteen years between one novel and the next; when it
is now twenty years since his last novel and when, in all, he has only produced five novels and yet he remains one of the greatest novelists of to-day-then he must be a very unique person to capture public memory so effectively.
An American professor thinks so and has discovered, cm our behalf, a Forster that we have hardly recognised ; dusted our piece of priceless fut niture for us, so to speak, saying, There, now, look at what you've got."
It would appear that we have not only an imaginative writer, but also a political satirist, and a debunker of everything that is not real, in this novelist. Hypocrisy, respectability and what the professor calls the " undeveloped heart," climb around and eventually strangle the good in the world Forster writes about. Although these are the pitfalls of the religions and the clergy come in for a lot of belabouring. Forster is really on our side. The shadow of the true religious experience falls upon all his characters and their greatness is assessed by their response to this experience.
Forster looks at life and is horrified at what he sees because it seems to him that the roots of life have been removed The generous, the spontaneous
reaction, is missing. Taste has replaced understanding and appreciation, the religions are verbose and not vital and people deny their real depths and iefuse to meet life. At the entrance gates to experience they turn away and do not enter. The heart is undeveloped.
HERE is a passage from The Longest " Journey. an early novel in which one of the characters demands of another the necessity of facing life. He says: "It's the worst thing that can ever happen to you in your life, and you've got tO mind it-you've got to mind it. They'll come saying ' Bear up trust to time ! No, no; they're
wrong. Mind it . For God's sake mind such a thing and don't sit fencing with your soul Don't stop being
with enormous faith in the am . Imbued with power of the heart, Forster is equivalently suspicious of the rigid exercise of the intellect. The world-planners who work out their paper theories with such thoughtful logic he deeply distrusts. " Casual disorder nourishes life." he observes, and later, " to me the best chance for future society lies through apathy, unimenturousness and inertia." He is weary to death of the
intellectual tradition of Europe. He believes in an order but not a consciously planned one. Out of planned and forced order comes disorder. And against this order he sets the order of art. Art to him is the sign of man's latent ability eventually to make even the right social order He preaches the moral intelligence of art