Please give a summary of Aspects of the Novel by E. M. Forster.
This is a rather long and complex work to summarise in its entirety, so I will outline Forster's introductory chapter for you. I have also included a link to a complete enotes summary to this work below, so you can access this to gain further information regarding the work as a whole.
In his first chapter, Forster presents some basic rules that act as a foundation to his further discussion of the English novel. He defines various terms, such as a novel as being "a fiction in prose of a certain extent," and then defines English literature as being any literature written in the English language, disregarding geographical location. What stands out from this introduction is the way that Forster wants to ignore time and periods in his examination of the novel. Rather he imagines a variety of novelists sitting in a circle and writing their works, allowing them and their qualities to be compared regardless of their context. He defines the title of the work as refering to the seven aspects that each section of his book will refer to and study: story, characters, plot, fantasy, prophecy, pattern, and rhythm.
Out of the seven chapters, probably Forster's work is most famous for its discussion of character and his introduction of the concept of flat and round characters. Looking at Dickensian characters, Forster distinguishes between two types of characters. "Flat" characters are ones that have but one or two defining characteristics and are not fully developed. "Round" characters are fully developed and characters that the authors enable us to see their full psychological complexity. However, this is but one of Forster's contributions to literature through this work, and the rest of this book is worthy of attention.