Aspects of the Novel Questions and Answers
by E. M. Forster

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Please give a summary of Aspects of the Novel by E. M. Forster.

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E.M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel began as a collection of lectures on fiction he gave at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1927. He was talking about the novel from his role as a distinguished novelist. In other words, his perspective is that of a writer thinking about the task of composing novels rather than that of a critic whose only concern is reading and reception of literary works. At this point in his career, Forster had already published his major novels Where Angels Fear to Tread, The Longest Journey, A Room with a View, Howards End, and A Passage to India

Forster begins by saying that the only thing all novels have in common is that they are over 50,000 words. Beyond that, they are works of imaginative prose with a great degree of diversity. He says that rather than attempting to study the novel historically, he will be concerned with what makes a novel a successful work of art by trying to look at common elements of the craft of writing that go into composing an effective novel. Although he admits that there are intuitive and emotional elements which affect our appreciation of the novel, he argues that there are several important aspects to the craft of the novel, namely: story, plot, fantasy, prophecy, pattern, and rhythm. He then discusses each of these individual elements in detail. 


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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...

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