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Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905)

de E. M. Forster

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2,722443,821 (3.51)176
A wonderful story of questioning, disillusionment, and conversion, "Where Angels Fear to Tread" tells the story of a prim English family's encounter with the foreign land of Italy. When attractive, impulsive English widow Lilia marries Gino, a dashing and highly unsuitable Italian twelve years her junior, her snobbish former in-laws make no attempts to hide their disapproval. But their expedition to face the uncouth foreigner takes an unexpected turn when they return to Italy under tragic circumstances intending to rescue Lilia and Gino's baby.… (més)
  1. 60
    Viatge a l'Índia de E. M. Forster (li33ieg)
    li33ieg: Same author, different setting, same core themes
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casually prejudiced about pretty much everything but okay nonetheless. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
Even considering that a couple of E.M. Forster's books are considered to be flat-out twentieth century classics, "Where Angels Fear to Tread" is a remarkable performance, a debut novella that never seems to put a foot wrong. The book works on a number of levels. It's an acid satire of comfortable upper-class British life at Sawston -- apparently Tunbridge Wells -- transposed to an Italian setting. Skewering the manners and manias of the economically comfortable is never all that difficult, but his upper-class would-be rebels aren't necessarily heroes. They may complain about the dreadfully dull culture of the moneyed upper classes, but lack the fortitude to leave it behind entirely. Being Forster, this little book is splendidly observan about character: about what makes some people strong or weak, about which of our connections are really most meaningful to us, about and which values really help us develop. And although Forster didn't know too many Italians personally when he wrote this one, it's a not-too-unsuccessful study in the contrast between Southern European and Northern European attitudes, and, perhaps most delightfully, its a canvas on which the author can describe -- and express his own enthusiasm for -- Italy. Even if it had nothing else to recommend it, "Where Angels Fear to Tread" would be worth reading just for the author's descriptions of Italy's natural beauty, its ancient towns, and its complex social customs that, to a visiting Englishman, must have seemed delightfully novel and strange. You can't fake the sort of enthusiasm that Forster displays here.

What really struck me about "Where Angels Fear to Tread" is how well I felt I knew the characters after spending a mere one hundred and sixty pages with them. Although I've seen Forster's style described as "light," he had the rare gift of describing character: his insight into people's characters and their motivations seems, at times, nothing short of supernatural. The book itself may be brief, but -- from the clever but ineffectual Phillip to the reckless Lilia to the louche but undeniably charming Gino, each of his characters seem to breathe on the page. The changes they undergo -- their character arcs, if you'll permit me the phrase -- also seem significant and complex for such a short book. Forster, in other words, fit a lot of humanity into this little volume.

Lastly, while it's been a while since I've picked up anything by this author, "Where Angels Fear to Tread" seemed to confirm my suspicions that he serves as an important link between nineteenth and twentieth century writing. He writes exclusively in the third person and doesn't hesitate to describe a reader's character or moral precepts to his readers, which may not be to every modern reader's taste. Still, while these descriptions are often remarkably insightful and economical, I felt that something else was constantly trying to emerge here. Forster doesn't hesitate to describe the lazy, likeable, pleasure-seeking Gino in forthrightly physical, almost erotic, terms. Italy itself, with its opera performances and its food and its cafés and its warm, scented night breezes, is portrayed as a garden of sensual delights, something that often disorients our English visitors and makes them question their own values and customs. The body, in all its messy, sensual glory, keeps trying to break through here, and sometimes it does. In "Where Angels Fear to Tread," threadbare Victorian morality constantly seems as risk of toppling over once and for all, and it's sometimes thrilling to watch. I'm not sure if this one is read as often as Forster's "A Passage to India" or his "A Room with a View," but honestly, I can't see why it shouldn't be. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vota TheAmpersand | Jan 9, 2021 |
These classics are always worth a read. I listened to the version read by Edward Petheridge. He uses a certain English voice which is like Ernest in The Importance of Being Ernest. At first I was put off, but I grew to appreciate that he did a good job and it wasn't any more over the top than the overwrought story. Fun yet full of pathos. ( )
  Okies | Oct 31, 2020 |
This is such an odd book I'm not sure I know where to start. It feels veryt stilted and Victorian, with the family, society and appearances taking such a high profile in the behaviour of the English people depicted. Lilian marries into the Herriot family, and is not approved of. After she is left a widow, she goes to Italy and falls in love. At which point, her former husband's brother is sent out to sort things out. He is destined to fail, being unable to undertsand either of them. From here, events take a turn for the worse and the stuck up Victorian attitudes of the family, comerned more with the appearance of good than of actually doing good mean that this ends up being a sorry tale. It almost comes to murder apart from the interference of a woman who comes into her own and sees the disctintion between looking good and doing good. It all ends up ina bot of a farce, with misplaced affections all over the place. I couldn;t help thinking that this could have had a very different outcome at any number of points, but I think that's the point, society's expectations were so conditioning that it would have taken a fool or a very brave person to have stepped in and crossed that line of expected behaviour.
It had some beautiful descriptions and some really joyful passages, but the overwhelming effect was of constriction tot he point of claustophobia. I'm very glad I'm not a Victorian. ( )
1 vota Helenliz | Oct 15, 2020 |
I went to see the film with somebody who is seriously Anglo-Saxon. So when we came out, we fell on each other. He was appalled at the way Italians respond to grief. I was appalled at the way the Anglo-Saxons do.

Not that I am a whole-hearted supporter of that Italian way of being emotional. Part of the reason I took up knitting was to learn to control my Italian 'fly off the handle and get it over and done with'. That isn't necessarily the wrong way to deal with things, but it certainly isn't always the best either.

Yeah, well. I've just gotten my Italian citizenship and passport. With that and my Australian citizenship/passport, I hope to have the best of all worlds. Slow to anger and quick to forgive. That'd be perfect. ( )
1 vota bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Forster, E. M.Autorautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Dowling, DavidEpílegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Smith, ZadieIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Southall, JosephAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Stallybrass, OliverEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Timonen, Hanna-LiisaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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(Note) Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) was the first of several influential novels written by English author and critic Edward Morgan Forster (1879-1970).
They were all at Charing Cross to see Lilia off--Philip, Harriet, Irma, Mrs. Herriton herself.
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.... in England a dentist is a troublesome creature, whom careful people find difficult to class. He hovers between the professions and the trades; he may be only a little lower than the doctors, or he may be down among the chemists, or even beneath them.
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

A wonderful story of questioning, disillusionment, and conversion, "Where Angels Fear to Tread" tells the story of a prim English family's encounter with the foreign land of Italy. When attractive, impulsive English widow Lilia marries Gino, a dashing and highly unsuitable Italian twelve years her junior, her snobbish former in-laws make no attempts to hide their disapproval. But their expedition to face the uncouth foreigner takes an unexpected turn when they return to Italy under tragic circumstances intending to rescue Lilia and Gino's baby.

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Mitjana: (3.51)
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1.5 7
2 45
2.5 13
3 144
3.5 56
4 172
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5 55

Penguin Australia

Penguin Australia ha publicat 2 edicions d'aquest llibre.

Edicions: 0141441453, 0141199253

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