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Using Psychoanalytical Criticism, I intend to demonstrate how, in Freudian terms, the personal, social and cultural circumstances of Edward Morgan Forster’s life, until 1930, influenced the way in which he portrayed the mother figure in his novels; Where Angels Fear to Tread[1], The Longest Journey[2], A Room With a View[3], Howards End[4], A Passage to India[5] and Maurice[6].

I shall attempt to demonstrate, in purely Freudian terms, that Forster’s childhood and his relationship with his own mother and the repression of his sexuality played a very significant role in the way that he presents the mother figure in his novels. Further, I want to demonstrate how the social, cultural, and historical circumstances of the author, affected the way in which he reacted to these aspects of his life and consequently affected the way that these characters are portrayed.

Psychoanalysis is the name given to the procedure for the investigation of mental processes. It is not only a method for the treatment of neurotic disorders, but it is also a scientific discipline based on a systematic accumulation of knowledge about the mind and how it works: especially relating to mental processes which are almost inaccessible in any other way such as thoughts, feelings, emotions, fantasies and dreams.

Psychoanalytical criticism involves using the theories of a particular psychoanalytic thinker (in this case, Freud) to examine the text in order to discover what it hides or represses. Therefore, its aim is to uncover the meaning that lies behind the manifest content of a particular work.

Psychoanalytical criticism, broadly speaking, tackles the text from one of (or a combination of) four different angles. ‘It can attend to the author of the work; to the work’s contents; to its formal construction; or to the reader’[7]. For the purpose of this investigation, I will not be looking at the reader or Reader Response theory, which often uses psychoanalytical criticism to look at ways in which specific readers reveal their own obsessions, neuroses, etc. as they read a particular text. Just as there are many varying schools of psychoanalysis, there is also a wide variety of different approaches to psychoanalytic criticism. However, Freudian psychoanalytical criticism concentrates on the author and his or her psychic mechanisms, rather than the literary quality of the work. The work is analysed strictly within the context of the author’s life and this approach should not be confused with Structuralism or Post Structuralism.

The theories of Freud provide various means of investigating human culture and its artefacts, including literature. His findings have led critics, such as Norman Holland, Simon Lesser, Harold Bloom and Jacques Lacan, to treat literary works from the vantage point of psychobiography, inquiring about personality traits or traumas that shed light upon an author's work. Another mode of approach is to look within the work itself for obsessive repetitions, treating the text almost like a dream, looking carefully at images to uncover latent content, expressions of repressed fears or desires either on the part of the author or on the part of the characters that he has created. Freud's work on the language and structure of dreams, which emphasizes that all human thought and discourse is fundamentally symbolic, can produce interesting comparisons between dreams and poetic language by showing that both rely upon metaphor, simile, and synecdoche to say one thing in terms of another. Many critics, such as Feminist, Marxist and Deconstructionist critics among others, use psychoanalytical theory in support of these other approaches, however many psychoanalytic critics interpret a text to accommodate a particular theoretical framework; in this case Freudian psychoanalytical theory.

The reason that I have chosen to use Sigmund Freud, as opposed to one of the other mainstream schools of Psychoanalysis, is that Freud was the founding father of Psychoanalysis. He invented, or discovered the unconscious and defined the terms and concepts of unconscious communication. Although I am aware that some of his theories have been extended, modified, or even rejected by others, never the less, all Psychoanalysis is rooted in his original ideas and concepts, and it is almost impossible, even today, to find anything new in the field that does not at least acknowledge Freud by refuting him.

Sigmund Freud was born on 6 May 1856, in Freiberg, Moravia (now Pribor in the Czech Republic)[8]. He was the eldest of eight children of a middle-class Jewish wool merchant and his second wife. In 1860, due to financial difficulties, his father moved the family to Vienna, where Freud was to spend the majority of the rest of his life. Although not a wealthy man, Freud’s father placed a high value on education and in 1873, Freud passed his Matura (school leaving certificate) and entered the University of Vienna. During his years as a medical student, Freud became interested in physiology and spent six happy years working in the Physiological laboratory until it became obvious that he was never going to be able to make a living there. In 1881 he took his medical degree, qualified as a Doctor of medicine, and took up a position at the Vienna General Hospital. A year later, he became engaged to Martha Bernays[9] and set about trying to establish himself in the medical world in order to make the marriage possible. He worked in various departments within the hospital but was soon concentrating on neuroanatomy and neuropathology. In 1885 he went to Paris and studied under Dr Jean Martin Charcot[10] the French neurologist, at the Salpetriere; the Paris hospital famous for the treatment of nervous diseases. In France, Freud became interested in hysteria and hypnotism; an interest that started his lifelong passion for the investigation of the mind.

In 1886, he returned to Vienna and set up in private practice as a consultant in nervous diseases. It was in the same year that he finally married Martha Bernays; a happy marriage that produced six children and was to last until his death in 1939. For a while, Freud experimented with electrotherapy and hypnotic suggestion as a cure for neuroses but after some very unsatisfactory results, he turned to his friend, Dr Josef Breuer,[11] a consultant in Vienna who had earlier used the procedure, later to be known as Free Association, to cure a ten year old girl of hysteria. The treatment was based on the assumption that hysteria was the result of a trauma that had been forgotten, and by remembering the trauma and its associated feelings and emotions, the patient could be cured. The key to this theory was the assumption of the existence of unconscious mental processes that act independently of the conscious mind. Over a period of time, Freud refined and expanded the procedure and its theory and progressively, it developed into a whole system of ideas and concepts that he named ‘Psychoanalysis’ in 1896.

Freud identified three separate levels of consciousness[12]. Firstly, there is the conscious level, which deals with awareness of present perceptions, thoughts, feelings, memories and fantasies at any particular moment. The second level is the pre-conscious, which is related to thoughts, feelings, memories and fantasies that can easily be reproduced or remembered and brought to consciousness, and thirdly there is the unconscious level, which holds the thoughts, feelings, memories and fantasies not easily available to the individual's conscious awareness.

According to Freud's structural theory of the mind, there are three distinct areas of mental operation. The Id, the Ego and the Superego[13], which function at three different levels of consciousness, with a constant movement of memories and impulses from one level to another. The Id is the unconscious reservoir of instincts and drives, which are constantly active. Ruled by the pleasure principle, the Id demands immediate satisfaction, regardless of any undesirable consequences. The Ego operates mainly at the conscious and preconscious level. However, it also contains elements of unconscious thoughts and desires because both it, and the Superego are evolved from the Id. Ruled by the reality principle, the Ego takes care of the Id urges if and when an appropriate circumstance is found, otherwise, inappropriate desires are repressed. The Superego operates in a mixture of conscious and unconsciousness and serves as a censor on the Ego functions. It is the balance between the Id and the Ego. The Superego is also called the conscience and comprises of the individual’s ideals and value systems, derived from the ideals and values of family and society, and is the source of guilty feelings and fear of punishment.

Freud identified the unconscious as both a repository for repressed memories and the source of instinctive drives, or urges, that are either socially or ethically unacceptable to the individual. Freud thought that disturbing thoughts and conflicting urges were kept in the unconscious part of the mind. These instinctive urges produced feelings of guilt and anxiety in their struggle for release and therefore had to be kept out of the conscious. This process Freud identified as Repression. Anxiety is the symptomatic expression of Repression and the inner emotional conflict caused when a person represses from conscious awareness experiences, feelings or impulses that are too disturbing to live with. However, thoughts and desires that are pushed out of conscious awareness and held in the unconscious still retain much of the psychic energy (or feelings) originally attached to them. Therefore, to release a forbidden impulse or recover a deeply buried traumatic memory is threatening and so provokes anxiety. As these thoughts and urges are unwanted in the individual consciousness, it is compelled to raise defences against their intrusion in order to maintain inner harmony.

Defence mechanisms are unconscious processes that provide the ego with relief from the state of psychic conflict between the intruding id, the threatening superego and the powerful influences emanating from the external reality.

These mechanisms enable the ego to reach a compromise solution to a problem that it is unable or unwilling to confront, by letting some component of the unwelcome mental contents of the Id emerge into consciousness in a disguised form. Freud identified many different forms of defence mechanisms, but for the purpose of this investigation, I will be primarily be focusing on repression, projection, transference and sublimation.

Repression is the process by which an unwanted or unacceptable idea or desire is withdrawn from the consciousness and pushed into the unconscious part of the mind. It develops from,

‘an impulse, a mental process that endeavours to turn itself into action. We know that it can be repelled by what we term a rejection or condemnation. [ If that impulse is repressed] it would retain its energy and no memory of it would remain behind; moreover the process of repression would be accomplished unnoticed by the ego.’[14].

Projection is ‘an internal perception [that] is suppressed, and, instead, its content, after undergoing a certain kind of distortion, enters consciousness in the form of an external perception’[15]. Projection occurs when an unwanted feeling is attributed to another person and is closely connected to denial, which is the process by which the individual denies feeling a particular emotion, but asserts that someone else does.

Transference is the process by which an individual transposes an unwanted or unacceptable feeling or emotion, (usually unconscious) relating to one particular person and directs it towards someone else.

‘The unconscious impulses do not want to be remembered [and so the individual] seeks to put his passions into action without taking any account of the real situation[16]‘.

Sublimation is the process whereby the energy invested in unwanted or unacceptable sexual impulses is reassigned to the pursuit of socially acceptable achievements, such as artistic or scientific endeavours.

‘Their energy is turned aside from their sexual goal and diverted towards other ends, no longer sexual and socially more valuable’[17].

Freud theorizes that every newborn child has an inherent urge to engage in sexual acts with the parent of the opposite sex, and to kill the parent of the same sex. During his early days in practice, Freud noticed that the majority of his patients most frequently repressed events concerned with disturbing sexual ideas. He deduced that, rather than being memories of actual events, they were in fact the residues of infantile impulses and desires; or fantasies. Therefore, he concluded that anxiety was a consequence of the repressed libido, which found its expression in a variety of different symptoms[18].

The reasoning for the incestuous attraction is most probably due to proximity: As the child first develops a sense of sexuality, ‘from the third year of life onwards[19]‘, the parents are usually two of the few people within the child's close social circle. It can also be assumed that a child would develop a similar complex if raised by an aunt and uncle, or was adopted. The sexual desire develops for the opposite sex parent, and hostility develops for the same sex parent due to the fact that this individual stands in the way of fulfilment of this desire, and takes attention away from the child.

Freud believed that the sex drive was the most important, and the motivating force in all human beings. However, when he talked of sexuality, he did not necessarily mean intercourse, but all pleasurable tactile experiences, felt through the skin[20]. He identified several stages of sexual development in children that were later to become known as psychosexual stage theory:

‘For the present you should keep firmly in mind that sexual life (or, as we put it, the libidinal function) does not emerge as something ready-made and does not even develop further in its own likeness, but passes through a

series of successive phases which do not resemble one another; its development is thus several times repeated-like that of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The turning point of this development is the subordination of all the component sexual instincts under the primacy of the genitals and along with this the subjection of sexuality to the reproductive function’[21].

There are five stages that each individual passes through, and each stage brings with it various problems that need to be resolved in order for the individual to move on and develop normally; a failure to do so resulted in a basis for neurosis.

‘In view of the general tendency of biological processes to variation, it is bound to be the case that not every preparatory phase will be passed through with equal success and completely superseded: portions of the function will be permanently held back at these early stages, and the total picture of development will be qualified by some amount of developmental inhibition’[22].

The first is the oral stage, lasting from birth to around eighteen months. Next comes the anal stage which continues until approximately three or four years and is then replaced by the phallic stage which can last until about seven years. After this comes the latent stage which goes on until somewhere in the region of twelve years and is followed by the genital stage which lasts throughout puberty[23]. It is in the phallic stage, which occurs at approximately three years and lasts until approximately six years, that the Oedipal crisis occurs.

The Oedipal Complex is the foundation for many of Freud's theories and takes its name from the title character of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex[24]. In this 400BC Greek drama, Oedipus unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother.

The Oedipus complex is the central phenomenon of the phallic stage of early childhood. After that, its dissolution takes place; it succumbs to repression and is followed by the latency stage where all sexual impulses are suppressed. Freud believed that what brings about the destruction of the Oedipus crisis is the threat of castration. To begin with, the boy does not believe in the threat or obey it in the least. It is not until the child observes the female genitals that his ego turns away from the Oedipus complex and the incestuous desires are given up and he displaces his sexual impulses from his mother to other women. The authority of the father is incorporated into the ego and forms the nucleus of the superego, which takes over the severity of the father and perpetuates his prohibition against incest, securing the ego from the return of the Oedipus complex. The libidinal impulses belonging to the Oedipus complex are now desexualised and changed into impulses of affection. The whole process has preserved the genital organ; averted castration and paralysed it, ready for the start of the latency stage. For girls, it is penis envy, rather than a fear of castration, that brings about the destruction of the Oedipus complex.

Three central ideas found in the work of Sigmund Freud are frequently used in all forms of psychoanalytical criticism; the influence of the unconscious mind over the conscious, the expression of the unconscious mind through symbols, and sexuality, as a powerful force for motivating human behaviour.




Edward Morgan Forster was born in London on January 1st 1879 and died in Coventry on June 7th 1970[25] and was the only surviving son of Edward and Lily Forster. Forster’s friend and biographer, P.N.Furbank[26], relates an interesting story concerning how he came to be named Edward. In actual fact, the name that he was registered with was Henry Morgan, but on the day that he was christened, the verger asked his father what the baby’s name was to be, and he gave his own name by mistake. The verger wrote this down and he was christened Edward. After much discussion within the family, it was decided that he should keep the name that he was christened; and so Henry Morgan Forster became Edward Morgan Forster.

Having lost his father at an age that he was too young to remember, Forster lived with his mother, almost constantly, until she died in 1945. It is true to say that she dominated his life and had a profound influence on him; shaping him, both consciously and unconsciously into the man he became. His relationship with her was without doubt, the most significant relationship of his life.

Freud claims that the mother is the first love object and that from the moment she becomes so, the child has already started the process of repression that will ‘withdraw from his knowledge awareness of a part of his sexual aims’[27]. This is what Freud calls the Oedipal complex. However, the conflict at the core of the complex during this stage is with the father. The (male) child competes with his father for his mother’s affection. He wants to dispose of the father in order to secure his mother’s complete and undivided attention, until eventually, ‘the Oedipus complex would go to its destruction from its lack of success’[28], and its resolution is achieved by identification with the parent of the same sex. When there is no father, or indeed in Forster’s case, no alternative paternal presence, the Oedipus complex cannot be resolved; leaving it repressed, rather than destroyed. In On Sexuality[29], Freud says that;

‘If the ego has in fact not achieved much more than a repression of the [Oedipal] complex, the latter persists in an unconscious state in the id and will later manifest its pathogenic effect’[30].

In order to understand the relationship that developed between Forster and his mother, and the effect that it had on his life, at least, in Freudian terms, it is necessary to first look briefly at his mother’s childhood and her life in order to understand how her circumstances affected the way that she related to her son.

Alice Clara Whichelo was born in 1855,[31] the third of ten children and the eldest daughter. Her father was a drawing master, who left his family penniless when he died in 1867. Alice, or Lily as she was always known, was only twelve years old when her father died and her mother, left with no money and ten children to support, had to take in lodgers. Lily’s mother leaned on her a great deal and she did much of the mothering of her younger brothers and sisters. Therefore, by the age of twelve and nearing the end of her latent stage, Lily lost her childhood and became a maternal substitute to her siblings and a support to her mother. Taking on these adult responsibilities at such an early age would, according to Freudian concepts, have caused an interruption in the course of her normal sexual development, and when any one of the stages goes unresolved the individual can become stuck in that stage; a process that Freud terms fixation.[32] This can hamper the development of normal healthy adult relations for the individual and cause varying degrees of neurosis and anxiety in later life.

In 1867, Lily acquired a rich benefactress; Marianne Thornton. Marianne was by then, seventy years old, unmarried and living in Clapham with her niece, Henrietta Synnot. A mutual friend introduced the young Lily to the two women and they took to her immediately, eventually taking over parental responsibility of Lily from her mother. For Lily, although this type of arrangement was not uncommon in those days, and it was to benefit her materially, she must still, as a child, have felt a great sense of abandonment by her mother. This episode would not only have made her feel abandoned, but would also have made her conscious that her value had a price. Marianne who, in the beginning, treated Lily as a poor dependant reinforced this concept.

‘When Marianne took her down to Weymouth in 1869 to stay with her own niece and nephew-in-law, Emmy and Major Sykes, the kindly Dr Tayloe offered to pay for new clothes for Lily, but Marianne, who prided herself on her worldly cunning, insisted on her wearing her shabby old dress: Waifs and strays, she said, were never liked unless they showed their lowly estate’[33].

Whatever the intentions on the part of Marianne, this would have been deeply humiliating to Lily and she, in Freudian terms, would have learnt the ambivalence of opposites[34]: of greater and lesser, of superior and inferior and of material concerns being valued higher than love.

Lily gradually had her status elevated within the Thornton social circle and she was educated and found work as a governess, which she quite enjoyed. Then, in 1876, when she was twenty-one, she met and fell in love with Marianne’s nephew, Edward Forster[35], who was seven years her senior. One can see from her earlier experiences, why she should choose an older man; or a father figure, as her husband. Although Edward was not substantially older than she was, he was old enough to be a more experienced, worldly man who could take care of her. They married in 1887 and by the end of that year, Lily was expecting her first child. Unfortunately however, the baby died at birth.

A year later, Edward was born and they settled down to a short period of happy family life before his father, Edward Senior, became ill. He began to constantly catch colds and then developed a chronic cough. Lily, who had come from a very robust family and had little experience with illness, did not worry unduly. However, Marianne knew the signs and by the time that she had insisted that a doctor see him, he was in the advanced stages of consumption. By October 30th 1880, he was dead. Lily was devastated by the loss and she was also very aware that her husband’s family blamed her for not spotting the signs earlier. Not only was she aware that other people blamed her for her husband’s death, but she would have been likely to have blamed herself too and this sense of guilt, along with her grief, would have, in Freud’s view, left her very emotionally detached from her child for a period of time. In his paper, Mourning and Melancholia, Freud outlines the process of mourning. He says that it involves feelings of profound and painful dejection, a loss of interest in the outside world, a loss of the capacity to love and an inhibition of all activity.

‘This inhibition and circumscription of the ego […] leaves nothing over for other purposes or other interests’[36].

Therefore, from a Freudian analysis of the situation, the normal bonding with her child in its oral phase was interrupted. Lily was consumed by her grief and probably her guilt too, and she was, at that time not emotionally available to her son. For the next couple of years Lily and Morgan, as he was commonly known, lived a gypsy like existence. They went from one friend’s house to another, staying for a while and then moving on. Intermittently, Lily made some attempt to find them a home of their own, and Morgan was left in the care of Marianne Thornton, who having lost two adored nephews of her own, became very attached to him. The young Morgan demonstrated, or in Freudian terms, acted out how this situation had made him feel insecure by his ‘violent passions of love or fury’[37], and the way that he ran to his mother and clung to her whenever she returned. The child, in Freudian terms, felt the loss of the bond with his mother and feared a physical separation from her as it symbolised her abandonment of him. This insecurity and feelings of loss were also manifested in his,

‘misery when anything is withheld from him. He seems to have the attachment of grown up people for each other, for inanimate objects’[38].

However, this period of mourning comes to an end after a certain period of time and,

‘when the work of mourning is completed the ego becomes free and uninhibited again’[39].

In the autumn of 1892, Lily eventually found them a home. The house was an old gabled house in Stevenage; renovated and modern, but very isolated, set in four acres of land. Its name was Rooksnest[40] and Lily and Morgan moved into it in the spring of 1883. Morgan loved the house and he later said of it; ‘The house is my childhood and safety’[41].

Forster's childhood (and much of his adult life) was dominated by his mother and his aunts, and it is obvious that Forster's relationship with his own sexuality was deeply influenced by this. He lived in a familiar atmosphere inordinately dominated by the mother figure and this no doubt, had an irreversible influence on his attitudes and relationships as an adult. Although it is true that Forster did have several male relatives that he had contact with on a relatively frequent basis, none of them were close enough to have any influence and it was his female relatives that shaped his life. Indeed, it was the legacy of Marianne Thornton, which gave Forster the opportunity to travel and the freedom to write. They were his only social and emotional contact and his role models.

Once Lily had passed through the natural process of mourning, she turned all her attention to her son and became a doting mother. Morgan was already a nervous child and after her experience with her husband, Lily became morbidly anxious about his health, and obsessively coddled him throughout his childhood. In fact, it was not until middle age that Forster realised that he was not frail at all and was actually very healthy; he had internalised his mother’s fears about himself, which were, in actuality, groundless.

Morgan was a delicate and pretty child and his mother and Aunts insisted upon dressing him up in little sailor suits and growing his curly hair long. He was the darling of a group of women, mostly childless, and he was spoilt and precocious. Not having other children to play with on a regular basis and having a mother that had little experience of a ‘normal’ childhood made him rather old before his time. He read widely and had a tremendous general knowledge and a great deal of his time was spent either educating the servants, or making up stories about his dolls[42]. He was a rather intellectual child, which is not surprising, being constantly in adult company, but he so obviously craved children of his own age to play with. His only form of communication was intellectualisation, which is a defence mechanism, used as a way of expressing one's self when one is emotionally cut off. Morgan had a vivid imagination; his favourite book as a child was Swiss Family Robinson, because ‘the boys in it were happy’[43]. He could read and he could imagine but he could not play. He was burdened by his mother's morbidity and emotionally stifled by his environment. Consequently, he spent much of his childhood, especially the time he spent at school, in a state of depression and nervous anxiety.

Although the relationship between Forster and his mother was very intense, he was still not secure within it and became very upset when anything threatened it. In a letter that Lily wrote to Marianne Thornton she says;

‘ I washed my hair yesterday afternoon. S.D[44] and Morgan would look on. I left my hair down and told M. I was 15 and not his mother at all. ‘I know you are, you look just like her, do up your hair and you will be 30.’ At last he got quite nervous about it and said ‘Now do come out of joking-let me look at you. I am sure you are my mama’’[45]

Shortly after the above incident, when Forster was about six years old; during the phallic stage of his psychosexual development, and according to Freud, the stage in which the Oedipal crisis occurs, a small, but significant exchange occurred between him and his mother, that was to shape their relationship for the rest of their lives. Lily describes it in another of the frequent letters she wrote to Marianne Thornton:

‘ Morgan. When I grow up, my darling, I shall call upon you every day.

Lily. You can live with me if you like.

M. That will be best, and I will only sit with you and pay visits with you when you go with me.

L. What shall I do when you marry?

M. I shall only marry to you.

L. You can’t.

M. Why not? People can marry twice, so I don’t see it will make any difference to you.

L. Boys can’t marry their mothers.

M. What a bother. Well I shall take care then never to go to any wedding in case I should be married and I don’t want it.’[46]

As the dialogue hints, a ‘love affair’ sprang up between the two of them that was to ensure that Forster remained in the phallic/Oedipal stage throughout his life; never reaching emotional or sexual maturity. It would be easy to pass the above conversation off as a childish fantasy or an insignificant piece of fun between a six year old boy and his mother. However, nearly thirty years later, it is obvious that Forster has not moved on, as he talks about his wish to visit India, in a letter to his friend Malcolm Darling. He writes;

‘My mother is not doing well-nothing definite, but loss of spirits since her mother’s death a year ago, and I doubt whether she will ever recover them entirely. […] You see how difficult it all becomes. I know that she will mind me going even if she urges it, and that she will be lonely without me’[47].

Here, the adult is echoing the child, when he promises to ‘only sit with you and pay visits with you when you go with me’. Although Forster was by now, thirty-three years old, his relationship with his mother had not really changed from the one that they had experienced when he was six. This relationship was to frustrate Forster throughout his life. In 1915, he wrote in a letter to his friend, Florence Barger:

‘I am leading the life of a little girl so long as I am tied to home. It isn’t even as if I make mother happy by stopping-she is always wanting me to be 5 years old again, so happiness is obviously impossible for her, and she never realises that the cardinal fact in my life is my writing, and that at present I am not writing’[48].

Lily was a demanding and possessive mother, but there was ‘a coolness and briskness […] in her feelings for Morgan’.[49] In Freudian terms she was emotionally distant, being herself, most probably, stuck in the latent stage. This lack of emotional security led Forster to be anxious and nervous about their relationship and he constantly strove to gain her approval. This in turn led him to often repress his true self, in order to appear as his mother wished him to be. There were many instances in his childhood, that Forster relates to Furbank for his biography, that demonstrates his mother’s dissatisfaction with her son and in turn, his reaction to it. One such incident involved his male cousins, whom Forster did not get along with as a child and who picked on the rather effeminate Morgan and tormented him, whenever possible. On one particular visit, one of the boys blew a whistle in his ear, which made Morgan scream with fright and he cried for hours. His mother was of course, cross with the cousin, but she was equally as cross with Morgan, for being such a cry-baby. In another letter to Marianne Thornton, Lily wrote that she wished that ‘he was more manly and that he didn’t cry quite so easily’[50]. Furbank says that Forster felt his mother’s disapproval and began to act accordingly;

‘He sensed how the land lay, and when one day his mother said she believed that Jack, the lively third son, was his favourite in The Swiss Family Robinson, he was careful not to correct her, though in fact he preferred the priggish Ernest’[51].

This form of repression and distortion of personality went on for the rest of their lives. In Freudian terms, the relationship was ambivalent, because Lily was never clear or consistent with her son; on the one hand, wanting to keep him as a child and on the other

wanting him to be ‘more of a man’. This ambivalence added to Forster’s insecurity of the relationship, adding to the list of reasons he had for never confiding in her about his sexuality. Forster was never open with his mother and never told her the truth about himself; therefore, the longest and most important relationship that he had in his entire life was never to be an honest and truthful one. It is little wonder then, that by the time Forster reached puberty, he was suffering from depression. Used to being cosseted and already a nervous and anxious child, he was sent away to school at the age of eleven. Like his mother, who was taken away from her family at a young age, it was not an unusual occurrence for a middle or upper class boy, however, Morgan was deeply unhappy at school, feeling abandoned and frightened. He did not get on with the other boys, who bullied him, his mother had sent him away, he was lonely, unpopular and pubescent. He developed several crushes on older boys and started to question his sexuality, but had no one to confide in and although he wrote to his mother about his loneliness and his fear of the other boys, he could not talk to her about sex.

‘Lily’s whole attitude to sex was that it was a dreadful subject and to be thought of as little as possible. She made no attempt at any stage to tell Morgan the facts of life’[52].

In fact, according to Forster himself, it was not until he was thirty, that he fully understood how copulation took place. Freud says that the young child imagines that both men and women possess the same genitalia as themselves until they see the genitalia (usually of a younger brother or sister) of the opposite sex. It is then that the male child develops the castration complex. The child is often chastised for masturbation and terrorised by the threat of his penis being cut off and then assumes that the same has happened to his sister

or mother etc. Furbank says that it was not until he was at school that he learnt that the penis was not called ‘dirty’; his name for it, up until then. When he was younger, he had been chastised for masturbating, by his mother, who had told him it was dirty. This made such an impression on him, that ‘help me to get rid of the dirty trick, figured in his prayers’[53].

It is also often the case that when the child is fatherless or is an only child, and living in a household where there is little openness about nudity, the idea that a woman has a penis is fixed, and even when, in later life, the truth is known, the man will find himself ‘unable to do without a penis as his sexual object […and] he is bound to become a homosexual’[54]. In this case, as with Forster, the child that is frightened for his penis will react later on in life with horror at the sight of a woman’s genitalia, seeing it as a mutilated organ.

Forster’s school years were the most miserable years of his life. They were scarred by fear loneliness, guilt and shame, and it was not until he went to Cambridge that, in his own words, ‘he found himself’.[55] Although he was always on the fringe of one ‘set’ or another, he made friends there, for the first time; some of which would remain so all his life. In this freer and more open atmosphere, Forster came to know with certainty that he was a homosexual; although it would be many years before he acted upon it. However, this was enough for Forster at that time. He had always felt that he was different and coming to terms with why, was a very freeing experience for him.

In The Dynamics of Transference,[56] Freud introduces the concept that from a very early age every individual develops a sexual template that is created from a combination of genetic structure and primary experiences. This template will underpin all sexual desire for the individual and according to Freud can, through analysis, sometimes be modified, but can never be changed.

‘For the sexual life of children is already free from all these doubts from the third year of life onwards […] The mental and social phenomena of sexual life need no longer be absent; the choice of an object, an affectionate preference for particular people, a decision, even, of one of the two sexes, jealousy-all these have been established by impartial observations made independently of psycho-analysis and before its time, and they can be confirmed by any observer who wishes to see them’[57].

At The T.S. Eliot Lecture, [58] Adam Philips claimed that society imposes its ideals onto the individual; rendering nature at odds with culture. Therefore, whatever happened in Forster’s psychosexual development, the way in which he dealt with the consequences was not entirely his own choice, and has to be understood, not only within a psychoanalytical context, but also within a cultural and historical context too.

In The Gay Liberation Pamphlet, Andrew Hodges and David Hutter write of Forster;

‘Throughout his life Forster betrayed other gay people by posing as a heterosexual and thus identifying with our oppressors. The novel [Maurice] which could have helped us find courage and self esteem, he only allowed to be published after his death, thus confirming belief in the secret and disgraceful nature of homosexuality. What other minority is so sunk in shame and self-oppression as to be proud of a traitor?’[59].

However, it is easy for Hodges and Hutter to condemn Forster from the relative safety of the nineteen seventies. They call him a hypocrite for claiming a reputation as a moralist and social commentator and ‘propounding the value of freedom, individual commitment and personal honesty’[60]. Yet, it is unfair to judge Forster from a time when freedom, individual commitment and personal honesty were possible, because these things were not so freely available in the early years of the twentieth century. Homosexuality was only decriminalised in 1967[61], three years before his death. Before then, any man engaging in a sexual relationship with another man was a criminal. Forster was only sixteen when in 1895, Oscar Wilde was tried and sentenced to two years in prison with hard labour for ‘the 'love that dare not speak its name'‘[62]. In sentencing him, Mr. Justice Wills told him;

‘It is no use for me to address you. People who can do these things must be dead to all sense of shame, and one cannot hope to produce any effect upon them. It is the worst case that I have ever tried… that you, Wilde, have been the centre of a circle of extensive corruption of the most hideous kind among young men, it is equally impossible to doubt. I shall, under such circumstances, be expected to pass the severest sentence that the law allows. In my judgement it is totally inadequate for such a case as this’[63].

In a climate such as this, it would be unfair to condemn Forster’s repression of his homosexuality. In Freudian terms, Forster was demonstrating transference, by channelling his energies into changing the way that society thought and in doing so, he may not have found it possible to be free and honest himself, but certainly contributed to Hodges and Hutter’s privilege to be so.

Society, culture, class, education, religion and even politics can affect the way in which an individual deals with either a trauma or an interruption in the sexual developmental stages. In his lecture Some Thoughts on Development and Regression-Aetiology[64], Freud cites the example of two young girls, both sharing the same childhood experiences, but both developing as adults in different ways. One was a caretaker’s daughter and one a landlord’s. The girls, both at the phallic stage, play sexual games with each other, however the caretaker’s daughter puts the experience aside and goes on to have a successful career and normal healthy adult sexual relations whilst the landlord’s daughter develops neuroses ‘which cheats her of marriage and her hopes in life’[65]. Freud explains that;

‘The difference between the lives of these two, in spite of their having had the same experience, rests on the fact that the ego of one of them underwent a development with which the other never met. Sexual activity seemed to the caretaker’s daughter just as natural and harmless in later life as it had in childhood. The landlord’s daughter came under the influence of education and accepted its demands. From the suggestion offered to it, her ego constructed ideals of feminine purity and abstinence which are incompatible with sexual activity[66]‘.

Freud says that it was the education that was responsible for the way in which the Landlord’s daughter reacted to the experiences of her childhood. However, class determined which of the two girls received an education and it was the values and ideals of society in that particular historical moment that constructed the terms of that education.

In his Sex Politics and Society[67], Jeffrey Weeks states that,

‘the way in which we define masculinity and femininity, motherhood and fatherhood, even childhood, are culturally specific and often bear little relation to the expected or ascribed roles in other cultures, nor are they, of course, simple products of biology’[68].

In The History of Sexuality[69], Michel Foucault says that at the beginning of the seventeenth century, there was still a measure of frankness and openness of mind that made people less secretive and more tolerant towards sexual matters. Sex, for sex sake, was viewed as normal and healthy and the whole of society was less repressive and inhibitive. However, this attitude did not last and he says;

‘But twilight soon fell upon this bright day, followed by the monotonous nights of the Victorian bourgeoisie. Sexuality was carefully confined; it moved into the home. The conjugal family took custody of it and absorbed it into the serious function of reproduction. On the subject of sex, silence became the rule. The legitimate and procreative couple laid down the law. The couple imposed itself as a model, enforced the norm, safeguarded the truth, and reserved the right to speak while retaining the principle of secrecy. A single locus of sexuality was acknowledged in social space as well as at the heart of every household, but it was a utilitarian and fertile one: the parents bedroom. The rest had only to remain vague; proper demeanour avoided contact with other bodies, and verbal decency sanitized ones speech. And sterile behaviour carried the taint of abnormality; if it insisted on making itself too visible, it would be designated accordingly and would have to pay the penalty’[70].

The act of sodomy had always belonged to the category, both morally and civilly, of forbidden acts. However it was not until 1870 that the act of sodomy and the classification of the homosexual were separated. In 1870, Carl Westphal characterized homosexuality,

‘less by a type of sexual relations than by a certain quality of sexual sensibility, a certain way of inverting the masculine and the feminine in oneself’[71].

From this time, homosexuality was given a category of its own, transposed from the actual practice of sodomy into a deviation of character that stood alone. ‘The homosexual was now a species’[72].

In Europe, the eighteenth century was a time of enlightenment, when the ‘irrationalities of the middle ages[73]‘ were being rejected and the west was transforming itself with a new set of ideologies based upon science and reason.

By the turn of the twentieth century, two revolutions had occurred that would shape humanity as few revolutions ever have. One was in the physical sciences, with the discovery of the subatomic world, with its new principles and laws governing the universe, and the other was in the medical sciences, with what was then an astonishing proposition: human behaviour could be studied scientifically, and treatments, not prayers or incantations, could be devised.

Sigmund Freud and William James[74] led the medical sciences revolution, and while both are giants in the history of science, Freud came to symbolize, as no one else could, the search for the fundamental principles that define human behaviour. As Adam Philips said, ‘What couldn’t be understood about human experience, found a new source of reference’[75].

Due to the threat of war and worries over national decline, some of the main issues for debate at the beginning of the twentieth century were health, hygiene, morality and the population. Issues that had once been personal ones were being moved into the public and political arenas.

‘The political and theoretical debates over personal morality and national fertility, physical deterioration and a differential birth rate, major topics in the early decades of this [the twentieth] century, all caused twin questions of the population and the role and significance of sexuality’[76].

Consequently, issues of deviant sexual practices became issues not of individual significance but as significant for the whole race.

Forster was a writer of the Modernist period. The term ‘Modernism’ refers to a radical shift in aesthetic and cultural perceptions evident in the art and literature at the time. It embraced a wide range of artistic movements, such as Surrealism, Dada, Constructivism, Symbolism and Expressionism. It cannot be described as a movement in itself but rather as a term that represented a general trend in the arts, brought about by a ‘creative renaissance[77]‘which included a variety of artistic fields. Modernists were very aware of studies in other fields, such as psychology and anthropology and frequently incorporated these ideas into their art. Sigmund Freud was one of the great Modernist icons and Forster and his friends were very aware of his ideas and theories.

The Bloomsbury group was an influential literary and intellectual group (c1904-c.1941)[78] that made Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, in London, its centre. Thursday evening gatherings soon blossomed into a myriad of friendships, philosophical discussions and the dissolution of the very strict, traditional rules governing social interaction in English society. Attendees could include, Virginia Woolf, Leonard Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Vita Sackville-West, Roger Fry, Clive Bell, George Bernard Shaw, W.B.Yeats, Arnold Bennett, Lytton Strachley, Desmond MacCarthy, Saxon Sydney-Turner, Marion Richardson, John Maynard Keynes and E.M. Forster amongst others. Although Forster was not a central member of the group, he often spent time with them and was a particularly close friend of Virginia Woolf. Part of the Bloomsbury ethic was the desire to challenge social norms and rebel against what they saw as Victorian hypocrisy, and Freud had a profound effect on the group; many of its members, openly confirming Freud’s influence on their work. In 1917, Virginia’s husband, Leonard Woolf, bought a printing press and set up the Hogarth Press[79] in the basement. Later, the Hogarth Press was the first to publish Sigmund Freud in English (greatly inspiring Virginia). Therefore, it is almost completely impossible to believe that Forster himself was not very familiar with the ideas and concepts of Freud too. It is very interesting to note then, that I have so far been unable to find any more than one very brief mention of him, in a letter to David Cecil, in 1930[80], in any of his writing; either public or personal.

However, it may not be particularly surprising, when one realises that culture and chronology play a significant part in the creation of a climate that would force a homosexual to have to publicly repress his true identity, and that Freud himself contributed to the creation of that climate; so becoming, in a way, part of the problem. Michel Foucault says that,

‘there is no question that the appearance in nineteenth-century psychiatry, jurisprudence, and literature of a whole series of discourses on the species and subspecies of homosexuality, inversion, pederasty, and ‘psychic hermaphrodism’ made possible a strong advance of social controls into this area of ‘perversity’’[81].

In his lecture, The Sexual Life of Human Beings[82], Freud uses the word ‘pervert’ to describe people who do not participate in the same sexual practices as ‘normal’ people. He includes homosexuals (or inverts) in the category of pervert.

Freud says that all ‘inclinations to perversion had their roots in childhood’[83]. He claims that every child has a predisposition to every kind of deviant behaviour, but if it comes through its psychosexual developmental stages without interruption, it will leave these childish urges behind and grow into a normally functioning sexual adult. Those that do not are at risk of becoming perverts because all perversion is infantile, or immature[84]. He points out that one must not confuse sexuality with reproduction and that an individual’s sexual need as an adult is the result of the physical and mental sexual blueprints written in childhood. Freud says that children are unaware of reproduction and do not, in any case, have the means to facilitate it, therefore all sexual activities in children are merely an attainment of pleasure, which makes them perverse.

‘We actually describe a sexual activity as perverse if it has given up the aim of reproduction and pursues the attainment of pleasure as an aim independent of it’[85].

Thus paradoxically, in Freudian terms, Forster could be seen to be punishing Freud, by ignoring him; therefore denying his very existence. He may have been able to intellectualise with his friends about Freudian theories, but in his personal and creative expression (up until the year 1930) he chose to ignore them. This, according to Freud himself, is a defence mechanism. Forster was repressing his anger at Freud by denying his existence, because confronting it would be too painful. Anger leads to guilt, which in turn leads to shame, and, certainly until 1930 at least, Forster chose not to deal with these feelings.

Forster lived a very long and active life. He died a very famous and well-respected man, but, in Freudian terms, his sexual template had been established before he was three years old and he had to live with the repression of that intrinsic part of himself until he died. Much of the ‘blame’ for this lies at the feet of Lily, his mother, although it is probably as unfair to judge her in hindsight, as it is to judge him.




In his twenty third lecture in A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis, Freud says that creative people, such as artists and writers are repressed and introverted people; on the edge of neurosis. He says;

‘He is one who is urged on by instinctual needs which are too clamorous; he longs to attain honour, power, riches, fame and the love of women [or men, in Forster’s case]; but he lacks the means of achieving these gratifications. So like any other unsatisfied longing, he turns away from reality and transfers all his interest, and all his libido too, onto the creation of his wishes in the life of phantasy’[86].

Forster lived in a time when the fulfilment of his own particular instinctual needs was a crime. He was a pervert in the eyes of society and openly expressing his sexuality would have brought, not only shame and imprisonment to himself, but also terrible shame and humiliation to his mother. In Chapter one, I have already explored the relationship that Forster had with Lily, and also the effect that it had on his life, and although the relationship itself repressed and frustrated him, it was also very important to him and he had a great love for his mother and would never have done anything to hurt her.

By the turn of the twentieth century, culturally, the role of the mother was being elevated and the emphasis was shifting from woman as wife, to woman as mother. The problems of public health and high infant mortality rates were becoming a major concern and it was

becoming widely felt that the key to a healthy population lay in the hands of the mother. The old nineteenth century visions of the woman’s role within marriage were being ideologically reshaped. Jeffrey Weeks notes that;

‘A good index of this is an observable change in the recommended reasons for marriage at the turn of the century. A representative manual of the 1860’s, for instance, stressed the need for a young woman to find someone to support her, to protect her, to help her and who was qualified to guide and direct her. There was no mention of children. A 1917 book, concerned with young women and marriage, on the other hand, offered three main reasons for marriage: mutual comfort and support; the maintenance of social purity; and the reproduction of the race.[87]

However, whilst the status of the mother was elevated on the one hand, the mother also found herself responsible when things went wrong. Particularly in the working class areas, it was not poverty that was to blame for infant mortality and poor health; it was bad mothers. Mothering was no longer seen as an individual duty, but as a national one and consequently the state began to intervene into family life to a greater extent than it ever had before. Children started to be seen as a reflection of their mothers. Clean, healthy, educated children who grew up to be fine upstanding citizens were a credit to their mother’s maternal qualities. However, a child that grew up to be a sexual deviant was the product of a woman who had failed in her duty to be a good mother. In a climate such as this, it is hardly surprising that Forster felt the need to hide his sexuality; not only publicly, but from his mother also. Although by the 1920’s, there was a slightly more relaxed attitude towards sex and sexual taboos than there had been during the Victorian period, still ‘homosexuality could be hinted at but never openly talked about’[88], and marriage continued to be the only socially acceptable forum for sexual activity. Therefore, even if Lily had guessed at her sons ‘secret’ she would never have tried to bring it out into the open with him.

Unable to find social acceptance in the conventional manner, Forster, in Freudian terms, subliminated his sexual impulses and put all his energy into achieving social acceptability, status and the power that success and money bring, by means of artistic endeavour. In this way, he was not only able to achieve a level of self-respect for himself, but he was also able to, on an unconscious level, portray Lily as a ‘good mother’; having brought up her child to be an acclaimed and respected author.

In the context of Freudian theory, in his unconscious, Forster blames his mother for forcing him to repress his sexuality and hates her for not loving him enough to accept him for what he is. In a letter to Christopher Isherwood in 1938, Forster says that he would like to have Maurice published, but that he cannot do so, because of his mother.[89] On the other hand, on a conscious level, he understands why his mother would not be able to come to terms with it, and knows that it is not really she that holds him back from publishing Maurice or publicly revealing his sexuality. Forster is well aware of the social and cultural attitude towards homosexuals and the consequences that being open and honest would bring; regardless of his mother. In another letter to Christopher Isherwood in 1933, Forster talks of the way in which society was becoming a little more tolerant but warns that one must not get too optimistic and,

‘forget the millions of beasts and idiots who still prowl in the darkness, ready to gibber and devour. I think I had a truer view of civilisation thirty years ago, when I regarded myself as hiding a fatal secret’[90].

However, as Freud states, our unconscious impulses, however well controlled by our ego and superego, often find ways of making themselves felt.

Personal and social repression or conflict is a theme that consistently runs through all of Forster's novels. It is obviously something that he related to on a personal level and it may be that he depicted it especially well because of his homosexuality. His characters often seem caught between propriety and personal desire and each novel contains a character that tries to fight the system. Similarly, many of his characters are set within the boundaries of old-fashioned English restrictions, and are often depicted as being hypocritical and cruel. It appears that Forster saw English society as being cruel in many ways, and as Martin Piggford points out in Queer Forster, ‘England [was] most notably represented by the maternal figure’[91]. In Maurice, the hypnotist tells the main character that, ‘England has always been disinclined to accept human nature.[92]‘ However, as I have already said, what one knows as a rational, conscious truth is not necessarily the same as an unconscious feeling or impulse, and when the unconscious feeling is repressed or denied, then in Freudian terms, transference can occur.

In The Mind and the Book,[93] the literary critic Norman Holland talks about the films of Charlie Chaplin. He says that on the surface, they are a straightforward mix of comedy and sentimentality; however, he says that if one were to look beneath the surface, then one would see that Chaplin was, through his films, dealing with the problems of having a

promiscuous mother. She was a glamorous dancer, who ended up an impoverished seamstress, who often prostituted herself and who eventually died from Syphilis. Chaplin takes his feelings of sadness and helplessness about his mother’s life, and his desire to change her, (or his wish fulfilment[94]) and transfers them from himself onto his on-screen persona. Often, his hero rescues and repairs fallen and damaged women, and knowing his background one is able to,

‘understand the ineptitude, the childishness of the tramp-hero as he tries to attract these women, like a child playing up to an elusive mother’[95].

Similarly, Freud says in Art and Literature, that there was an ‘unmistakable connection between the murder of the father in The Brothers Karamazov[96] and the fate of Dostoevesky’s own father’[97]. As I have already discussed, Freud felt that the past experiences of a person are inextricably linked with their thoughts and feelings in the present moment. In fact, it would be true to say that the basis of all of Freud’s theories is rooted in the concept that one’s present is deeply affected by one’s past. Therefore, it is not surprising to find, from a Freudian reading, that Forster’s work is profoundly influenced by his past.

In all of Forster’s novels, one can see the transference of his repressed feelings of frustration, anger and resentment towards his own mother, let loose on the mothers that he portrays in the books.

If one looks at the way that the mothers are portrayed in the novels, from a purely Freudian psychoanalytical viewpoint, one begins to get a sense of unease with the mismatch between the overt saintliness of some of these women and what lies beneath the surface. One of the things that is most striking about the mothers in Forster’s novels is that there is not a truly ‘nice’ one amongst them. Even the ones that are supposed to be nice, like Mrs Moore in A Passage to India or Mrs Wilcox in Howards End, lack some intrinsic motherly quality that makes them a really ‘good mother’. They are all flawed in some way; some in an overt sense and others in a far more subtle and cloaked manner. All of the very worst incidents that occur in all the novels are caused, directly or indirectly, by a mother, who although not necessarily a main character, sets off a chain of events that leads to disaster.

As Forster matured, the anger directed towards his mother, through the women in his novels became subtler. In his earlier works, the mothers, such as Lilia and Mrs Herriton in Where Angels Fear to Tread, or Rickie’s mother in The Longest Journey were overtly bad people or bad mothers. However, the mothers in his later novels became, on the surface, better mothers and better people, culminating in the near saintly Mrs Moore, in his last novel. Interestingly though, the more covert his anger became, the more symbolic his works became.

In 1916, Ernest Jones, a follower of Freud wrote that;

‘only what is repressed is symbolised; only what is repressed needs to be symbolised’[98].

Freud asserted that the unconscious works in pictures and symbols. Each of the pictures or symbols in our unconscious represents, or stands for something. Although each person has their own personal connections to particular things, in general, there are certain objects or scenarios that function as representations of certain things for everyone. For example, in The Interpretation of Dreams, he explains that;

‘ Boxes, cases, chests, cupboards and ovens represent the uterus, and also hollow objects, ships and vessels of all kinds. Rooms in dreams are usually women’[99].

He also says that ‘the male organ [is] represented by persons and the female organ by landscapes’[100]. Therefore, Freud makes three distinct categories of female symbolism or representation; the individual woman, the female genitals and the uterus, or mother.

In all of Forster’s works, the female symbolism is predominantly maternal, rather than sexual. Furthermore, all of the worst events in all of the novels happen in a symbolic womb.

Where Angels Fear to Tread was his first novel and the anger that Forster directs towards the mothers in this book is very evident. Forster treats his characters with a hostility that is savage at times, and leaves no room for ambiguity about his feelings for them. Lilia is a terrible mother; abandoning her child in search of her own pleasure and leaving it with a woman she despises, but it is with Mrs Herriton that one can really see the transference at work. One can see how Forster has transferred all his repressed feelings about his own mother and turned them onto Mrs Herriton. Once he has presented her as a rigid and insular woman, who interferes in other peoples lives; judging others by her own standards and imposing her own views on other people, he then projected his own feelings of frustration and resentment onto Philip. It is interesting that the most brutal attacks on Mrs Herriton, come, not through Philip’s voice, but through the voice of the narrator; or Forster himself:

‘Her ability frightened him. All his life he had been her puppet. […] She had let him talk as much as he liked. But when she wanted a thing she always got it. […] But he could not rebel. To the end of his days he would probably go on doing what she wanted’[101].

In Freudian terms, Forster is saying that he was his mother’s puppet and he could not rebel, but instead of confronting his feelings, he projects them onto Philip and tells the reader that it is not he, but Philip who feels these things. This form of merging the voice of a character with that of the narrator is known in literary terms as ‘free indirect discourse’. However although this literary forms shares the basic elements with Freudian theories of projection, there is an essential difference. Indirect free discourse is the conscious transferral of subjectivity to the narrative voice, whereas projection, in Freudian terms, is an unconscious action. When one ‘attributes to another person, a thought or feeling which we can not see is in fact a part of our selves; this is known as projection’[102].

In this book, more than any of the others, Forster’s voice is heard quite clearly through the narrator, and it is in this novel, more than any other, that his feelings are most apparent.

In, The Mechanism of Paranoia, Freud explains projection as;

‘An internal perception [which] is suppressed, and, instead its content, after undergoing a certain kind of distortion, enters consciousness in the form of an external perception’[103].

Whether it is a lack of literary skill[104] or a lack of maturity, in as much as he was not yet able to conceal his feelings and distance himself from his work, or a mixture of both; the line between his own feelings and those of Philip’s, are often blurred.

‘To what purpose was her diplomacy, her insincerity, her continued repression of vigour? Did they make anyone better or happier? Did they even bring happiness to herself?[105]

Here, Forster is clearly projecting his own feelings about his mother[106], onto Philip. However, he does so without actually giving Philip the words. There are times in the novel, as in free indirect discourse, when the voice of the characters and that of the narrator, becomes indistinguishable. It is as if he has momentarily forgotten them and is talking directly to the reader himself;

‘For a wonderful physical tie binds the parents to the children; and-by some sad, strange irony-it does not bind us children to our parents. For if it did, if we could answer their love not with gratitude but with equal love, life would lose much of its pathos and much of its squalor, and we might be wonderfully happy’[107].

The use of the words ‘us’ and ‘our’ includes the reader and himself in a private conversation; excluding the characters, in an almost Freudian slip of the tongue. For a moment, Forster’s unconscious thoughts break through, giving us an insight into his own feelings directly, rather than through those of the characters. Although, this can be viewed as an intentional literary technique; Freudian criticism would see this as an unconscious utterance of the author’s own thoughts and feelings that were not intended to be discovered.

With the shocking death of the baby in the concluding part of the novel, Forster creates a model that is repeated in different ways in many of his other works. A mother, sets into motion a series of events that leads to a tragedy or disaster of some kind. In this case, Mrs Herriton sends her children to Italy to bring home a child that she is not actually related to and that she does not actually want. However, Forster then either removes the mother from the scene of the tragedy, or as in this novel, removes the scene of the tragedy from the mother, thereby never directly blaming her for what has happened. In Where Angels Fear to Tread, Forster lays the blame for the baby’s death firmly at Harriet’s feet. Harriet acted entirely on her own and Mrs Herriton remained blameless, far away in England. Harriet kidnapped the baby and it died, in a carriage; as in so many of Forster’s tragic places, a symbolic womb.

In the authors note to The Longest Journey, Forster writes;

‘The Longest Journey is the least popular of my five novels but the one that I am most glad to have written’[108].

As can be seen in any of the many biographical works written about him, this book was certainly his most autobiographical, and written at a time when he was coming to terms with his sexuality. He continues in the Introduction that he had dealt with ‘the ethical idea that reality had to be faced’[109], through the characters of Rickie and Stephen; obviously relating himself to Rickie, who will not face Stephen with the truth.

This novel is far more controlled than Where Angels Fear to Tread, and ostensibly, his anger at his mother is contained. The book appears to be about himself, and not his mother. When one approaches this book with a Freudian view, it is easy to interpret Rickie’s lameness as a symbolic representation of Forster’s homosexuality. It is important to remember that at the turn of the twentieth century, it was a common belief that homosexuality was hereditary and it is clear that Forster believes this to be true.[110] Rickie’s lameness is inherited from his father and reflects Forster’s thoughts on the subject in a letter he wrote to a friend about Maurice.

‘…one is left with perverts (an absurd word, because it assumes they were given a choice…[111]

Like Rickie being lame, Forster believed that he could not help being a homosexual, because it was an inherited condition. As I have already said, I am not certain about how much Forster knew of Freud, but it would be surprising to find that he was not aware of his emphasis on early childhood development being the catalyst of homosexuality in adults. Whilst discussing Leonardo da Vinci’s sexuality in Art and Literature, Freud says that;

‘the presence of a strong father would ensure that the son made the correct decision in his choice of [sexual] object, namely someone of the opposite sex’[112].

As I discussed earlier, either Forster was unaware of Freud’s theories or he was in denial. However, it is very telling to note that virtually none of Forster’s characters has a living father; not even Maurice Hall. Either way, it is very interesting that once he had taken up his position, and had introduced his father as cold, cruel and violent, he should have laid the blame for everything that happened to Rickie, at his mother’s feet. As in his first novel, the mother sets off a chain of events that leads to the eventual disaster. However, in this book, he removes the mother from the scene of Rickie’s death, even further than he removed Mrs Herriton from the baby’s, in Where Angels Fear to Tread. Mrs Elliot is dead long before the story begins, leaving the reader with only a perception of her, from Rickie’s memory. He idealises her, calling her, ‘beautiful without and within[113]’ and telling us that ‘her kindness and unselfishness knew no limits’[114]. However, after he has put her on a pedestal and turned her into a martyr to her awful husband, Forster rather viciously tears her apart by exposing her as an adulteress, who abandoned one son for her lover, and then abandoned the other one because she had nowhere to go after her lover drowned, than back to her husband.

According to Freud, ‘omission functions like repression or denial’.[115] The author might omit some material or ignore some obvious observation, and this very gap in the communication would reveal that the association was avoided due to its potential evocative power to bring the underlying hidden memories or feelings to the surface of consciousness. In the beginning of the book, Rickie is asked if he hated his mother and he ‘turned crimson’[116]. It is a question that he never answers, and as his mother shares more than a few characteristics with Forster’s own mother[117], it is, from a Freudian point of view, obviously a question that Forster has no wish to deal with. There are many instances in this novel when Forster refuses to deal with an ambivalence relating to Mrs Elliot. Rickie worships her, but she was cold, aloof, and unaffectionate, and no one appears to notice. Forster does not ever make any comment or put forward any explanation as to why Rickie should idolise a woman who had made him ‘sob for loneliness’[118], as a child. Even after Rickie finds out that Stephen is his mother’s son, he forgives her; and this is the only moment in the book when his loyalty to his mother is questioned. Herbert says;

‘You thought it was your father, and you minded. It is your mother. Surely you ought to mind more?’[119].

However, Rickie’s answer is vague and rather brief and the subject is quickly changed. In Freudian terms, Forster has asked the question, but he cannot confront the answer.

A Room With a View was written during a relatively happy period in Forster’s personal life, which coincided with a period of peace and optimism in an age of emerging liberalism, in Edwardian England. His diary entry for New Years Eve 1907 read;

‘[outward events], many and pleasant…my prospects are very good-may I be equal to them’[120].

According to Freud, social, cultural and historical circumstances play a large part in determining what motivates people to do the things that they do and to feel the way that they feel. Both our conscious and subconscious are ‘contaminated by factors that lie outside it’[121]. Although it was published in 1908, he had been working on A Room with a View, on and off, for several years. This period of personal happiness is reflected in this book, in its lighter and gentler tone, and its happy conclusion. This novel does not resound with the anger and bitterness that can be heard in the earlier books and Forster’s description of Lucy’s feelings as she falls in love with George is probably written from his own experience, as he himself fell deeply in love for the first time, with Syed Ross Masood[122]. In this book, he portrays a woman with a depth that few other male authors have achieved.

By this time, Forster had also begun to focus his attention on social issues such as personal freedom and liberalism and the sweeping aside of the old Victorian values. The novel demonstrates his support for the new liberal social values of the Edwardians. Mrs Honeychurch, is a cheerful, good natured and warm hearted mother, who, although at times appearing a little petty and obsessed with civilities, is very different from the cold, mean spirited and emotionally crippled mothers in his previous works. On the surface, it appears that Forster has, by this time, resolved the problems that he had with his mother and managed to purge himself of his anger and resentment towards her. However, if one reads A Room With a View from a Freudian viewpoint, then it is possible to see some very telling signs that this was not the case. According to Freud, an issue that has not been confronted does not go away. It remains in the unconscious, making itself available to consciousness in a disguised form. Dreams, symbols and slips of the tongue or pen, for instance, are concealed examples of unconscious content not confronted directly.

As I have already stated, Freud explains that a room is symbolic of a particular woman, and when we are introduced to Lucy’s mother, she is in the drawing room. Forster tells the reader that the heavy curtains are kept drawn, to protect the carpet. He likens them to ‘sluice-gates’ that have been;

‘lowered against the intolerable tides of heaven. Without was poured a sea of radiance; within, the glory, though visible was tempered to the capacities of man’[123].

A Freudian interpretation of this scene would be to see the room as a symbol of his mother, who closes her eyes to, or shuts out, what she does not want to see. The ensuing conversation between mother and son is also an interesting extension of the same theme. Freddy is trying to tell his mother why he feels uncomfortable about Lucy’s marriage, but Mrs Honeychurch will not listen to him; blocking his attempts to explain his feelings by changing the topic or ignoring his attempts to elaborate. Here, it is clear that, however well Forster has managed to repress his feelings, he still feels the resentment towards his mother for not seeing him as he really was. By this time, Forster had come to terms with his sexuality, and a large part of the reason that he could not publicly reveal it was, as I have said already, the effect it might have on his mother. Being a homosexual was a large part of what Forster was, and by either not noticing it, or choosing to ignore it, his mother was denying him the freedom to be himself. As I have already discussed, Forster was aware of the social conventions that stifled his freedom to be open about his sexuality, but however rational or reasonable one is, one always expects more from one’s own mother.

Howards End took nearly two years to complete and deals with the vast social changes sweeping the nation in the years before World War 1. It deals primarily with the issue of class, through the lives of three sets of different people, and was, on publication, an immediate success. On the surface, there is nothing in this novel to indicate that the issues that clouded his earlier life had not been resolved; however, a Freudian reading would hear some resonance of those unconscious feelings that Forster had tried so hard to repress.

The mothers, dead or alive, and even the substitute mother in Howards End are different from most of the mothers in his previous books. Mrs Schlegel was never spoken of badly, Mrs Munt was at times tiresome and interfering, but not a bad person, and Mrs Wilcox was a gentle and loving mother, who dies early on in the novel. However, as in previous works, but in a far more subtle way here; a mother sets off a chain of events that leads to disaster, and then is removed by Forster, before it actually happens. In this case, Mrs Wilcox writing the note in hospital leads to the eventual destruction of her family. In Freudian terms, this can be seen as a rejection of her family, by giving their home; the symbolic womb, to an outsider. For Forster, this was a symbolic representation of his own feelings of rejection by Lily. His mother’s (perceived) concern with the outside world made him repress his sexuality and his inability to tell her, and her inability (or unwillingness) to see, denied him a true existence. Although in Howards End Mrs Wilcox’s crime is far more covert than the crimes of the mothers in his previous novels, Forster has made her just as responsible for Charles’ imprisonment and Henry’s breakdown, as Mrs Herriton was for the death of Gino’s son in Where Angels Fear to Tread. By leaving the house to Margaret, Mrs Wilcox had made Charles both angry and suspicious. He felt ‘that it [was] a case of undue influence’[124] and that his mother was not in her right mind when she wrote the note. He was always sure that Margaret wanted the house, and was determined to protect his inheritance ‘even though he disliked the house’[125]. When he found out that Margaret and Helen were sleeping at the house, he went there to force them to leave, and that is when he came across Leonard Bast. If Mrs Wilcox had not written the note, then Charles would not have been so anxious to keep Margaret away from Howard’s End and he would not have gone there so angry and so early in the morning. If he had not gone there so early, he would not have met Leonard leaving and would not have killed him. Obviously, if he had not killed Leonard, he would not have been sentenced to three years in prison, and if Charles had not been sent to prison, then Henry would not have had a breakdown. Although, in reality, each person acted according to his or her own free will, and therefore Mrs Wilcox can not be held responsible for their actions; these people were characters, created by Forster, and as such, were only able to do what he made them do.

As I have already discussed, in Freudian terms, Forster was, by channelling his energies into matters of social change, using Transference to repress his feelings about his sexuality. Although, he genuinely wanted to change society, and genuinely cared about the issues he wrote about; he could never be completely happy about his success, because he was always working with a hidden agenda. This unease can be seen in his reaction to the novel which, along with A Passage to India, has always been considered his greatest achievement; a fact that irritated him throughout his life. He never understood why Howards End should be singled out for special praise, and he felt that ‘there isn’t any reason why it should be this book and not another’[126].

Years later, in 1958, Forster was still troubled by the book, when he wrote;

‘Have only just discovered why I don’t care for it: not a single character in it for whom I care… I feel pride in the achievement, but cannot love it…’[127]

In the introduction to Howards End, Oliver Stallybrass points out that the house in the novel is a conscious replica of the one that he lived in as a child. It was named ‘Rooksnest’;

‘Or Rooks Nest or Rooks’ Nest or Rook’s Nest or-its present name-Rook’s Nest House. But before the Forsters’ day the house was known, after the family that lived there for many years as-Howards. I am indebted to the present owner, Elizabeth Poston, for this intriguing fact, which apparently lay dormant in Forster’s subconscious memory and startled him considerably when brought to his attention’. [128]

Therefore, it is obvious from a Freudian reading that Forster’s conscious and unconscious thoughts were not always in agreement, and although by this time his unconscious feelings were far more controlled, or repressed, there were still times that they appeared on the surface, without him even knowing it. That he was never happy with the novel, nor did he ever like the characters is a reflection of the toll that the mental strain of repression was having on him. Howards End preceded the unpublished Maurice by four years, and A Passage to India, which was to be his last novel, by fourteen

After years of private and public repression, Forster wrote Maurice. He knew that he could never have it published in his lifetime, but it was something that he felt he needed to write for his own peace of mind.

‘The time had come for him to commit himself, in imagination if it could not be in life, to the belief that homosexual love was good. He needed to affirm, without possibility of retreat, that love of this kind could be an ennobling and not a degrading thing and that if there were any “perversion” in the matter it was the perversity of a society which insanely denied an essential part of the human inheritance’[129].

In writing Maurice, Forster was finally free of the constraints of the repressive attitudes of British society, which had forced him to repress his true feelings in his other works. The anger that is evident in his earlier novels is not felt in this one; and because his thoughts and feelings do not have to be concealed behind other issues, nor veiled in symbolism and innuendo, his criticisms of a society that will not accept him as he is, are calm and measured, whilst the mother escapes relatively unscathed.

In Freudian terms, while dealing directly with, or working through the issues that had been repressed, Forster was able to let go of the anger that he had felt, especially towards his mother. In Maurice, one sees none of the mental defence mechanisms that are evident in his other novels, because, not only is Forster writing freely and honestly; he is also writing with the certainty that this novel would not be published.

In my opinion, Maurice is the most positive of all his novels, with the most uncompromisingly happy conclusion. This was very important to him from the start and the positive attitude with which he embarked on this exercise is apparent. In the terminal note to the 1960 revision of the novel Forster writes;

‘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 that sense Maurice and Alec still roam the greenwood’[130].

After Maurice, it was to be ten years before Forster finally published his final, and arguably his greatest novel, A Passage to India. It was also his most symbolic novel, and the one in which he shows the greatest restraint, in Freudian terms, of his unconscious thoughts and feelings. Whereas in earlier works, one can frequently hear Forster’s voice quite clearly through the narrator, and see the projection of his own feelings on to his characters; in this book Forster himself appears quite remote and far removed from them. There are times when he appears so detached, that he is indifferent to what he is writing. Although this could be interpreted as an intentional literary device to reflect the theme of alienation that runs throughout the story; in light of his own feelings towards the novel, this is probably not so. In 1922, Forster wrote in a letter to a friend that he was working on A Passage to India again; ‘but without enthusiasm’. He felt that;

‘the characters are not sufficiently interesting for the atmosphere. This tempts me to emphasise the atmosphere and so to produce a meditation rather than a drama’[131].

The atmosphere in this novel is certainly very powerful and the landscape is a constant presence throughout; taking on a major role, as important as any character. In her article, The Geography of A Passage to India, Sara Suleri claims that Forster creates a metaphor of India as a ‘hollow or a cave’[132]. This metaphor is not only female, but in Freudian terms, it is symbolic of the womb. Indeed the Marabar Caves are present, at least in spirit, throughout the whole of the novel and it is there in the symbolic womb that, not only does Adela’s imagined rape take place, but she also realises that she does not love Ronny.

A Passage to India is a book about empire. It explores British attitudes and behaviour towards its colony during a period when the British Empire was in decline. Forster travelled to India on a number of occasions and this book draws heavily on those visits; not only representing, but criticising the colonial rulers. As with Howards End, Forster uses the mental defence mechanism, displacement to keep his own anger out of his work, by redirecting it to another issue. He spent the rest of his life highlighting injustice and championing social reform and personal freedom; but never saying what he really felt or dealing with the issues that he really wanted to deal with. However, as I have already discussed, repressed feelings do not disappear. They remain in the unconscious striving for release and although Forster had by the time of writing A Passage to India, developed his defence mechanisms, there are still times areas where he does not manage to keep them in place.

If one looks at Mrs Moore in a purely Freudian way, then one is able to see a parallel between her, and his feelings towards his own mother. Forster idealised his mother, who is (probably unconsciously) symbolised in the book by Mrs Moore. He waited until after his mother had died before allowing his homosexuality to become, in any way public, thereby saving her from the inevitable embarrassment and shame that she would have been subjected to, in view of the repressive nature of the time, and furthermore, saving himself from her almost inevitable rejection of him. In the novel, Adela is held responsible for what happens to Aziz, even though it was Mrs Moore’s meeting with him in the temple that actually set off the entire chain of events. Forster, in his idealisation of the mother, protects Mrs Moore from having any responsibility for the disaster that befalls Aziz, keeping her as the all good, idealised, uncontaminated figure. Mrs Moore is then removed before the trial, so that her ‘goodness’ can not be tested. Forster could not face being abandoned by his own mother because of his sexuality and making Mrs Moore die before she got home meant that she could never be questioned about whether or not she would have supported Aziz at the trial. Therefore, she was never given the opportunity to disappoint. If Forster had trusted his mother to love him unconditionally, then he would have told her that he was a homosexual. However, in Freudian terms, he did not believe that she would love him, no matter what, and so he never put her love to the test by telling her.




The literary critic, Norman Holland says that;

‘ literary criticism is about books and psychoanalysis is about minds. Therefore, the psychoanalytic critic can only talk about the minds associated with the [particular] book’[133].

In this dissertation, I have used a purely Freudian approach to examine the mind of E.M.Forster and the way that he represented the mothers in his six novels.

Using Freudian theory, I have examined how Forster’s own conscious and unconscious motivations influenced the way that he portrays the mothers in his books, and the ways in which his feelings towards Lily shaped them. I have also examined how Lily’s own childhood experiences influenced the way that she thought and felt, and in turn how those experiences shaped the way that she related to her son. Freudian literary analysis can take many different approaches, but in this instance, I have concentrated on a psycho- biographic approach, and have sought to explain Forster’s work by examining, not only his childhood experiences, but also his social, cultural and historical circumstances. Through an understanding of Forster’s unconscious, one can gain a greater understanding of his works. In Freudian terms; everything that he has written, was a symbolic representation of a part of himself. Therefore, the way that he presented the mother in his works was a symbolic representation of his feelings towards his own mother, and the anger and resentment that he projected on to these women was his way of dealing with the issues that he was never able to directly confront in reality.

The most important relationship that Forster had in his entire life, and the one that had the greatest influence on him, was the one that he had with his mother. It was a co-dependant relationship, that never really made either of them truly happy; and Forster himself sums the ambivalence of the relationship up best, when he writes to his friend J.R. Ackerley;

‘Although my mother has been intermittently tiresome for the last thirty years, cramped and warped my genius, hindered my career, blocked and buggered up my house, and boycotted my beloved, I have to admit that she has provided a rich subsoil where I have been able to rest and grow’[134].

Freudian theory states that although one possesses a genetic predisposition for certain instinctual reactions, the external influences that one has as a child have as much, if not more of an impact on the formation of our personality.

In Freudian terms, Forster’s early life experiences shaped the way he thought and felt. As his mother was at times the sole, and certainly the most important influence on his formative years, it was her responses and attitudes that he internalised or introjected. As Michael Jacobs says in The Presenting Past;

‘This introjection gradually takes up a permanent position within a child’s mind, and forms (as Freud felt) the basis for the super-ego, or what might more popularly be called the conscience’[135].

Therefore, as Forster had internalised his mother’s conscience into his own, he was faced with a difficult dilemma. On the one hand he was a homosexual and longed to be free to be open about his sexuality, but on the other hand he was tormented by his own shame and guilt over his sexuality. For many years, he projected his anger at himself onto his mother; using her as his excuse to hide his true self and blaming her for never allowing him to be himself.

In Queer Forster, Martin Piggford says that in Forster’s writing;

‘it is the mother, “Mater”, or imperial memsahib who is posited as an agent of the son’s conscience and Law: [she is] the figurative presence of a cautionary agency that still inhibits attempts to confess or “speak unprophylactically” in the homosexual subject position’[136].

However, it is interesting to remember that Forster lived for a further twenty five years after his mother’s death, but never published Maurice, the book that he had supposedly held back from publishing to save his mother from public humiliation. In fact, he made careful plans to have the book published after his death, which was not until 1970. By that time, society and its attitudes towards homosexuality had changed enormously, and as his mother and his aunts were no longer alive, there was no one to stop him. This hold that Lily had over her son can be seen reflected in both The Longest Journey and Howards End, where the influence of both Mrs Elliot and Mrs Wilcox can be felt from beyond the grave.

In a letter to Florence Barger in 1924, Forster writes;

‘I thought I would like to feel what it is to be in my own house, for a minute, and I cannot do that while she is in con— ! command!’[137].

The letters ‘con’ are crossed out, and it is apparent that Forster began to write control, but substituted it with the word command instead. The word command is less harsh and more jovial than the word control, but it is obvious from this slip of the pen, what Forster really felt. This feeling of being controlled by his mother was reflected throughout his work; in the way that he presented the mothers in his novels. From Mrs Herriton in Where Angels Fear to Tread, to Mrs Moore in A Passage to India, all of his mothers were in some way responsible for the events that occurred. Although some of these women were more overtly to blame than others, there is always a route from the mother to the tragedy that can be found. These mothers have the power to control a situation in some way; even as in Howards End, in the most indirect of ways.

Foster was an outsider; a homosexual who did not address that subject in any of the novels that he published during his lifetime, and probably stopped writing novels in 1924 when he found he could no longer ignore such a central aspect of his life. Maurice, which was the only book about homosexuality that he wrote, was published posthumously. In 1920, Forster told his friend Siegfried Sassoon in a letter, that Maurice was ‘among the few things I have cared about’[138]. Most of his novels, however, address the alienation that he felt; his most important characters are strangers in strange lands. His starting place is always the complacent, self-contained, comfortable world of the Edwardian upper-middle and upper classes. They are respectable people who know who they are, who their families are, and where their money will come from. Into these worlds venture outsiders; by class, race, income, or ideology, who are initially rejected by the English, but inevitably end up changing them in ways that could not have been anticipated.

Forster often created characters that were destined to fail in relationships, but he also allowed love for some of them. When one examines the success rate of human relationships, he may have been kinder to his characters than life had been to him or to most of the people he knew.

I think that Forster's homosexuality had an enormous influence on his writings and life views. His experiences with inadequacy, fear and shame that would necessarily have resulted from his sexuality also conditioned him to possess the sensitivity, compassion and understanding that is very apparent in all of his novels.




[1] E.M.Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread (London: W.Blackwood and sons, 1905).

[2] E.M.Forster, The Longest Journey (London: W.Blackwood and sons, 1907).

[3] E.M.Forster, A Room With a View (London: Edward Arnold, 1908).

[4] E.M.Forster, Howards End (London: Edward Arnold, 1910).

[5] E.M.Forster, A Passage to India (London: Edward Arnold, 1924).

[6] E.M.Forster, Maurice (London: Edward Arnold, 1971). Written in 1913-14 and published posthumously.

[7] Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction, 2nd edn (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996). p.155

[8] Sigmund Freud Museum.Vienna [online]. Available from: [Accessed October 12 2000]

[9] Sigmund Freud Museum.Vienna [online].

[10] The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia, ed. by David Crystal, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). p.195

[11] The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia (Cambridge University Press, 1994). p.352

[12] Sigmund Freud, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud:Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (Parts I and II) (1915-16) Vol. XV, Trans. James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press, 1958).

[13] Sigmund Freud, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud:The Ego and the Id and Other Works (1923-25) Vol. XIX, Trans. James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press, 1958).

[14] Freud, The Standard Edition.Vol. XV, ( Hogarth Press, 1958). p.294

[15] Sigmund Freud, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud:The Case of Schreber, Papers on Technique and Other Works (1911-13) Vol.XII, Trans. James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press, 1958). p.66

[16]Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol.XII, (Hogarth Press, 1958). p. 108

[17] Sigmund Freud, A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (New York: Washington Square Press Inc., 1967). p.27

[18] Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol XIX, (Hogarth Press, 1958).

[19]Freud, The Standard Edition.Vol. XV, ( Hogarth Press, 1958). p.325

[20]Freud, The Standard Edition.Vol. XV, ( Hogarth Press, 1958). pp.320-325

[21] Sigmund Freud, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud:Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (Part III) (1915-16) Vol. XVI, Trans. James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press, 1958). p.328

[22] Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol. XVI, (Hogarth Press, 1958). p.339

[23] Dr. C. George Boeree, Personality Theories [online]. Available from: [Accessed 12 January 2001]

[24] The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia, (Cambridge University Press, 1994). p.880

[25] The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia, (Cambridge University Press, 1994). p.342

[26] P. N. Furbank, E. M. Forster. A Life (London: Cardinal, 1991). Furbank met Forster in 1947 and they remained friends until Forster’s death. Forster asked Furbank to write his biography and cooperated fully during its writing; supplying letters, documents, photographs and stories. Much of the biographical detail in this dissertation is taken from Furbank’s book.

[27] Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol. XVI, (Hogarth Press, 1958). p.329

[28] Sigmund Freud, On Sexuality: Volume 7 (London: Penguin Books, 1991). p.315

[29] Freud, On Sexuality:Volume 7 ( Penguin Books, 1991).

[30] Freud, On Sexuality:Volume 7 ( Penguin Books, 1991). p.319

[31] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.2

[32] Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol. XVI, (Hogarth Press, 1958). p.340

[33] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.5

[34] Freud, A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (Washington Square Press Inc., 1967). p.341

[35] Edward Morgan Llewellyn Forster. (1847-80)

[36] Sigmund Freud, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud:Studies on Hysteria (1893-1895) Vol II, Trans. James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press, 1958). p.252

[37] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.14

[38] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.15

[39] Freud, The Standard Edition.Vol II, (Hogarth Press, 1958). p.253

[40] Rooksnest was the model for the house in Howards End.

[41] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.16

[42] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.20 The story of Sailor Dollar is a good example of the way in which Forster related to and interacted with his dolls in the absence of siblings or friends.

[43] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.19

[44] S.D stands for Sailor Duncan, which was one of Forster’s dolls; a replacement when Silver Dollar was broken.

[45] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.21

[46] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.21

[47] Selected Letters of E.M. Forster: Volume One 1879-1920, ed. by Mary Largo and P.N.Furbank (London: Collins, 1983). p.134

[48] Selected Letters. Volume One (Collins, 1983). p.229

[49] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.22

[50] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.23

[51] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.23

[52] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.37

[53] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.36

[54] Freud, On Sexuality:Volume 7 ( Penguin Books, 1991). p.194

[55] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.49

[56] Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol.XII, (Hogarth Press, 1958). pp.97-108

[57] Freud, The Standard Edition.Vol. XV, ( Hogarth Press, 1958). p.325

[58] Adam Philips, The T.S.Eliot Lecture 2001: The Soul of Man Under Psychoanalysis, (University of Kent) 25 April 2001

[59] Andrew Hodges and David Hutter, The Gay Liberation Pamphlet: With Downcast Gays (1974) [online]. Available from: [Accessed 26 April 2001]

[60] Hodges and Hutter, The Gay Liberation Pamphlet: With Downcast Gays (1974) [online].

[61] The Lesbian and Gay Helpline. Available on: 02078377324 {Accessed 5 May 2001]

[62] Oscariana [online]. Available from: [Accessed 19 March 2001]

[63] Oscariana [online].

[64] Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol. XVI, (Hogarth Press, 1958). pp.339-357

[65] Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol. XVI, (Hogarth Press, 1958). p.253

[66] Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol. XVI, (Hogarth Press, 1958). p.354

[67] Jeffrey Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society : The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800 (London: Longman, 1989).

[68] Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society, (Longman, 1989). p.111

[69] Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality : An Introduction (London: Penguin, 1990).

[70] Foucault, The History of Sexuality (Penguin, 1990). pp.3-4

[71] Foucault, The History of Sexuality (Penguin, 1990). p.43

[72] Foucault, The History of Sexuality (Penguin, 1990). p.43

[73] Gary Zabel, Land of Dreams:Western Denials of Indian History [online] Available from: {Accessed 7 December 1999]

[74] The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia, (Cambridge University Press, 1994). p.489

[75] Adam Philips, The T.S.Eliot Lecture 2001: The Soul of Man Under Psychoanalysis, (University of Kent) 25 April 2001

[76] Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society (Longman, 1989). p.122

[77] The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English, ed. by Ian Ousby, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). p.639

[78] The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English, (Cambridge University Press, 1993). p.95

[79] Bloomsbury:The Omega Workshop & Hogarth Press [online] Available from: [Accessed 14 March 2001]

[80] Selected Letters of E.M. Forster: Volume Two 1921-1970, ed. by Mary Largo and P.N.Furbank (London: Collins, 1985). p.90

[81] Foucault, The History of Sexuality (Penguin, 1990). p.101

[82] Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol. XVI, (Hogarth Press, 1958). pp.303-319

[83] Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol. XVI, (Hogarth Press, 1958). p.311

[84] Freud also puts masturbation and oral sex into the category of infantile sexuality.

[85] Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol. XVI, (Hogarth Press, 1958). p.316

[86]Freud, A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (Washington Square Press Inc., 1967). p.384

[87] Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society, (Longman, 1989). p.126

[88] Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society (Longman, 1989). p.200

[89] Selected Letters. Volume Two (Collins, 1985). p.159

[90] Selected Letters. Volume Two (Collins, 1985). p.119

[91] Robert. K. Martin, Queer Forster (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997). p.197

[92] E. M. Forster, Maurice (New York: W.W.Norton and Company, 1987). p.211

[93] Norman N. Holland, The Mind and the Book: A Long Look at Psychoanalytic Criticism [online] Available from: [Accessed 5 July 2001]

[94] See Freud, A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (Washington Square Press Inc., 1967).

[95] Holland, The Mind and the Book [online]

[96] Christiaan Stange, Dostoevsky Research Station (1996) Available from: [Accessed 4 August 2001]

[97] Sigmund Freud, Art and Literature: Volume 14 (London: Penguin Books, 1990). p.446

[98] Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate, Introducing Freud (Cambridge: Icon Books, 1999). p.172

[99] Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams: Volume 4 (London: Penguin Books, 1991). p.471

[100] Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams: Volume 4 (Penguin Books, 1991). p.485

[101] E. M. Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread (New York: Bantam Books, 1996). p.90

[102] Jacobs, The Presenting Past ( Open University Press, 1995). p.53

[103] Freud, The Standard Edition. Vol.XII, (Hogarth Press, 1958). p.66

[104] See Selected Letters. Volume One and Two (Collins, 1983). Forster himself accepts that his style and literary techniques improved as he got older, and discusses the shortcomings of his early works in numerous letters.

[105] Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread (Bantam Books, 1996). p.90

[106] See chapter 1 and Selected Letters. Volume One (Collins, 1983). p.229

[107] Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread (Bantam Books, 1996). p.146

[108] E. M. Forster, The Longest Journey, ed. By Elizabeth Heine (London: Penguin Books, 1989). p.xvi

[109] Forster, The Longest Journey (Penguin Books, 1989). p.xvi

[110] Forster also makes this point in Maurice.

[111] Forster, The Longest Journey (Penguin Books, 1989). p.xxiv

[112] Freud, Art and Literature: Volume 14 (Penguin Books, 1990). p.191

[113] E. M. Forster, The Longest Journey (New York; Vintage Books, 1989). p.25

[114] Forster, The Longest Journey (Vintage Books, 1989). p.26

[115] Holland, Norman N., The Mind and the Book: A Long Look at Psychoanalytic Criticism [online] Available from: [Accessed 5 July 2001]

[116] Forster, The Longest Journey (Vintage Books, 1989). p.22

[117] See Chapter 1.

[118] Forster, The Longest Journey (Vintage Books, 1989).

[119] Forster, The Longest Journey (Vintage Books, 1989). p.267

[120] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.158

[121] New York Freudian Society: Freud Abstracts [online]. Available from: [Accessed 18 September 2000]

[122] Furbank, A Life (Cardinal, 1991). p.146

[123] E. M. Forster, A Room With a View (New York: Vintage Books, 1989). p.94

[124] E. M. Forster, Howards End (New York: Vintage Books, 1989). p.97

[125] Forster, Howards End (Vintage Books, 1989). p.309

[126] E. M. Forster, Howards End Abinger Edition, Volume 4, ed. by Oliver Stallybrass (Cambridge: Edward Arnold, 1973). p.xvi

[127] Forster, Howards End (Edward Arnold, 1973). p.xvii

[128] Forster, Howards End (Edward Arnold, 1973). p.vii

[129] Forster, Maurice (London: Edward Arnold, 1971).

[130] Forster, Maurice (Edward Arnold, 1971). p.236

[131] Selected Letters. Volume Two (Collins, 1985). p. 42

[132] Literature in the Modern World, ed. by Dennis Walder (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990). p.p.246

[133] Holland, The Mind and the Book [online]

[134] Stephen Da Silva, Transvaluing Immaturity: Reverse Discourses of Male Homosexuality in E.M. Forster’s Posthumously Published Fiction [online] Available from: [Accessed 8 August 2001]

[135] Michael Jacobs, The Presenting Past (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1995). p.104

[136] Martin, Queer Forster (University of Chicago Press, 1997). p.196

[137] Selected Letters. Volume Two (Collins, 1985). p.59

[138] Selected Letters. Volume One (Collins, 1983). p.317


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