Edward Morgan Forster was born into an upper-middle-class family in London on January 1, 1879. His father died when he was two, and Forster was raised by his mother, Alice Clara Forster. She was to remain an influential and dominant figure well into Forster's adult life. They shared a house together until her death in 1945.
Forster was educated at Tonbridge School in Kent, and, from 1897 to 1901, at King's College, Cambridge. In the years immediately following his graduation, he traveled in Italy, Greece and Germany. He also began to write short stories, which were published in the Independent Review. Forster's first novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread, was published in 1905, when Forster was twenty-six. This was followed two years later by the autobiographical novel, The Longest Journey. A Room with a View appeared in 1908.
Forster's fourth novel was Howard's End (1910), which firmly established his reputation. It was also a commercial success. By this time Forster had become a member of the group of writers and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Group, which included Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes, and others.
During World War I, Forster joined the Red Cross and served in Alexandria, Egypt. In 1921, Forster made his second visit to India (the first was in 1912), where he worked as a private secretary to the Maharajah of Dewas. In 1924 he published his most acclaimed novel, A Passage to India, based on his experiences in India under British rule.
A Passage to India is regarded as Forster's masterpiece, and it sold more than a million copies in his lifetime. Interest in the novel was stimulated for a new generation of readers following the success of the Academy Award-winning film version in the late 1980s.
A Passage to India was the last novel Forster wrote, although he continued to produce biographies, essays, reviews and short stories.
Forster refused a knighthood in 1949, but was made a Companion of Honour in 1953. In 1969 he accepted an Order of Merit.
He died on June 7, 1970.
His novel Maurice, which has a homosexual theme and was written in 1913 and 1914, was published posthumously in 1971. Forster had requested that it not be published during his lifetime.
A Passage to India: Biography: Edward Morgan