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Additional resources for E. M. Forster and the Politics of Imperialism
Forster, however, is in agreement with Kipling that there is a gulf ‘an enormous gulf, between East and West’, but he strongly objects to the way Kipling and others like him deal with the problem, and the difference between the two different attitudes held by an imperialist and an anti-imperialist. 1 Again A Passage to India can be summed up by the following sentence which is central to the discourse of the narrative: ‘And it is inability to realize this gulf that is at the bottom of all our mistakes in India’ (AS, 246).
Above, at the top of the picture, heaven opens, and we perceive George Meredith and Algernon Swinburne, sitting on a cloud and both serenely indifferent to the whole affair. ’ Kipling is not literature. (KCLC) Forster then goes on to say that the caricature ‘will be made a very good starting point for our survey’ for having ‘much food for thought in this picture’. Addressing his audience he tells them how ‘The caricaturist has put the case against Kipling – unfairly if you like, but not untruly’ [my emphasis].
A Passage to India (and the fragment in question) can, I believe, equally be added to the two. Said is conscious of the special place Forster enjoys among the British novelists and the subtlety of his novelistic art receives a serious discussion in Said’s criticism. 3 ‘Hassan in England’ serves as an important supplement for any reading of A Passage to India in a cultural context, as it illuminates Forster’s preoccupation with the global issue which has been developing over the years since the fragment was written.