“What did you learn from Jane Austen technically?” Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 1, E. M. Forster

E.M. Forster and John Crozier, by Kurt Hutton (Kurt Hubschman), bromide print, 1949

In the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, E.M. Forster and John Crozier, by Kurt Hutton (Kurt Hubschman), bromide print, 1949

INTERVIEWER

You have said elsewhere that the authors you have learned most from were Jane Austen and Proust. What did you learn from Jane Austen technically?

FORSTER

I learned the possibilities of domestic humor. I was more ambitious than she was, of course; I tried to hitch it on to other things.

INTERVIEWER

And from Proust?

FORSTER

I learned ways of looking at character from him. The modern subconscious way. He gave me as much of the modern way as I could take. I couldn’t read Freud or Jung myself; it had to be filtered to me.

via Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 1, E. M. Forster.

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