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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It Gets Better: E.M. Forster

Posted by on Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 10:42 AM

"Your efforts on behalf of It Gets Better is the best work you've ever done by far," writes Robert, "and while on vacation I read the new biography of E.M.Forster, An Unrecorded History, and was blown away on what I found on page 38."

Forster, who was gay and was tormented in the private schools he attended, wrote...

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and bies; school was the unhappiest time of my life, and the worst trick it played on me was to pretend that it was the world in miniature. For it hindered me from discovering how lovely and delightful the world can be, and how much of it is intelligible. From this platform of middle age, this throne of experience, this alter of wisdom, this scaffold of character, this beacon of hope, this threshold of decay, my last words to you are: "there's a better time coming."

"This, over 100 years ago," says Robert. "Keep up the good fight."


Comments (16) RSS

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despicable me 1
It Gets Better. It really does.
Posted by despicable me on February 8, 2011 at 11:00 AM · Report this
A lovely quote, but the earlier Furbank bio of Forster gives the the the quote not as from "over 100 years ago" but from a 1936 Spectator article.

The more recent date makes sense, since a hundred years ago Forster was 31 years old - and no gay, however closeted, has *ever* described himself as being in "middle age" at 31.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 8, 2011 at 11:12 AM · Report this
Canuck 3
More for the Nobel file...seriously, this is becoming quite the amazing legacy.

(...gus, at the lgbt youth group where I volunteer, they said it would be good to have an "old" person there...I'm 46.)
Posted by Canuck on February 8, 2011 at 11:22 AM · Report this
@3, we have to get used to it, we do....
Posted by gloomy gus on February 8, 2011 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Posted by Jamie in Pittsburgh on February 8, 2011 at 11:55 AM · Report this
nocutename 7
I hope it wasn't Forster who wrote "alter" when he clearly meant "altar."
Posted by nocutename on February 8, 2011 at 12:04 PM · Report this
gus, I think the point was that he went to school more than a hundred years ago.
Posted by Furcifer on February 8, 2011 at 12:05 PM · Report this
@9, ah, you've nailed the ambiguity nicely. Thanks.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 8, 2011 at 12:11 PM · Report this
samanthaf63 11
If you've never seen it, look up "Maurice" - a story about a young gay man and his first love (Hugh Grant and James Wilby). Very well done.
Posted by samanthaf63 on February 8, 2011 at 12:25 PM · Report this
This should go in the book, Dan...
Posted by Michael Wells on February 8, 2011 at 6:21 PM · Report this
Vampireseal 13
Lovely quote.
Posted by Vampireseal on February 8, 2011 at 11:35 PM · Report this
What a great quote! Very uplifting and timeless.
Posted by AllisonM on February 9, 2011 at 5:51 AM · Report this
Fantastic. Such a brilliant quotation.
Posted by LadyGrinSoul on February 9, 2011 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Just goes to show that Forster is NEVER "dated."
Posted by David Ehrenstein on February 9, 2011 at 12:42 PM · Report this
Forster is indeed never dated. I watched the Merchant Ivory renditionm of Maurice with mynew bride and realied then and there i made a mistake. Heart Heart
Posted by Big Ted on February 9, 2011 at 10:28 PM · Report this
Duane Williams 19
It doesn't always get better, not for everyone. It might make people feel good to believe otherwise, but such a belief isn't true.
Posted by Duane Williams on February 10, 2011 at 10:00 AM · Report this

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