Forster and Virginia Woolf: the Critical Friends

  • H. K. Trivedi


In terms of personal relationship, E. M. Forster was probably closer to Virginia Woolf than to any other contemporary novelist of comparable stature. His friendship with her spanned just over three decades, from about 1910 to the suicide of Virginia Woolf in 1941, and the congeniality and affection which existed between them is vividly suggested by a number of little incidents described in the autobiographical or biographical publications relating to them which have been appearing recently.1x For instance, on a visit to Cambridge in 1915, Virginia Woolf found Forster spending his time in ‘rowing old ladies upon the river’ (Bell II, 29) and somewhat solicitously associated this with the fact that he was not able to get on with his novel (eventually A Passage to India). In 1919, on being asked to come down to the Woolfs’ cottage in Sussex for a weekend, Forster candidly explained, according to her (Diary I, 295), that he would do so if they paid his fare, for he had at the time only £26 left in the bank. When he did pay this visit a month later, the indigent Forster sold to Virginia Woolf a page from his manuscript of ‘Old Lucy’, an earlier version of A Room with a View, for the sum of 2s. 6d.


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  1. 4.
    Leonard Woolf, Sowing (1960) p. 171; Furbank 1, 66.Google Scholar
  2. 12.
    Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry: A Biography (1940) p. 294.Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    C. B. Cox, The Free Spirit: A Study of Liberal Humanism in the Novels of George Eliot, Henry James, E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Angus Wilson (1963).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1979

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  • H. K. Trivedi

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