Study Day, Saturday 17 March 2018, 2.00-5.30 p.m.

Price: £50.00 / £45.00 students. Tea and coffee provided.
Venue: Stapleford Granary, Bury Road, Stapleford, Cambridge CB22 5BP
Bookings now open.

CAMcard holders and members of Forster societies can book at the student price. Please bring proof of status to the event.

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For Love of Italy

Italy is the setting for some of Forster’s best-loved works: Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), A Room with a View (1908), ‘The Story of a Panic’ (1904).

What does Italy mean to Forster? What do his characters find in Italy, and in themselves, when they go there? A unique opportunity to study Forster in depth with leading scholars.

Alison Hennegan will explore how Italy helped Forster to understand repression, and to find ways out of it. Why did Italy appeal to gay English writers of the early twentieth century?

Jeremy Thurlow will discuss why music is important in Forster’s Italy novels, especially for the women characters. Music can express ambitions and passions which women in the early twentieth century were not usually allowed to explore. Jeremy is a wonderful pianist and will play examples on the piano to illustrate his lecture.

The day finishes with a round-table seminar in which everyone can join the discussion.

We will study Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) and A Room with a View (1908). You might also like to read ‘The Story of a Panic’ (1904); link below.

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Alison Hennegan is a Fellow and Director of Studies in English at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. After working for many years in gay activism, literary journalism, publishing and broadcasting, she returned to Cambridge to teach for numerous Cambridge colleges, specialising in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and in Tragedy. She has published on Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth von Arnim, First World War writings, Benjamin Britten, gay fiction, and many other topics. Website.

Jeremy Thurlow is a composer, pianist, and Fellow in Music at Robinson College, Cambridge. He has produced books, articles and radio broadcasts on many nineteenth- and twentieth-century composers. He lectured on Woolf, Bloomsbury and music for the Literature Cambridge 2017 summer course, Reading Bloomsbury, illustrated by some wonderful playing on the piano. Website.


E. M. Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905)
E. M. Forster, A Room with a View (1908)

Further reading: E. M. Forster, ‘The Story of a Panic’ (short story). Available online.

British Library online copy of the 1904 manuscript of Where Angels Fear to Tread.

International E. M. Forster Society.
Special issue of PJES journal (2017) on Forster.


Italy in A Room with a View
‘… the traveller who has gone to Italy to study the tactile values of Giotto, or the corruption of the Papacy, may return remembering nothing but the blue sky and the men and women who live under it.’

‘One doesn’t come to Italy for niceness … one comes for life.’

‘Then the pernicious charm of Italy worked on her, and, instead of acquiring information, she began to be happy.’



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