The Spirit behind the Frieze?

  • John Drew


In A Passage to India, the poet—for there is one in E. M. Forster—identifies himself wholly with Professor Godbole. Whatever difficulties are experienced by the other characters are a direct result of their failure to live life according to Godbole’s philosophy and the action of the novel, which sterns from their inadequacies, is an exposition of this truth. It is the passages where Godbole briefly appears which give rise to the music that Forster suggests reverberates in the mind when the reading of a good novel is over and allows the novel a dimension which is not only larger than life but also, paradoxically, larger than literature. The further question of whether Godbole can embrace not simply the other characters but even ‘birds, caves, railways and the stars’ may be resolved as much as it ever can when it is understood that, faced with this issue, Forster is left confronting not the limitations of Godbole so much as the limitations of the novel. In so far as the novel form permits him to, Forster the poet identifies himself wholly with Godbole.


Mystical Experience Phenomenal World Emotional Centre Absolute Reality Mystical State 
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© John Beer 1985

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  • John Drew

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