How and where did you access it?
My university library. I first became aware of these astonishing posthumously published stories after reading about them in academic works on Queer Forster – initially, Piggford & Martin (Ed.)’s 1997 collection of the same title, and a wonderful essay by the late Forster scholar June Perry Levine (‘The Tame in Pursuit of the Savage: The Posthumous Homosexual Fiction of E. M. Forster’, 1984).
How did it make you feel?
Thrilled – elated – I literally laughed and snorted out loud on public transport at some of the stories (e.g. ‘The Obelisk’, ‘The Classical Annex’); devastated by others (e.g. ‘Dr Woolacott’, which had earlier devastated T. E. Lawrence when Forster sent it to him to read; ‘The Other Boat’, ‘The Life to Come’). I felt so excited to find that these (suspiciously little-known) Forster stories were so bold, funny, overtly gay, sexual and subversive.
Did you share it?
Not the book itself (it had to go back to the library), but I certainly ‘shared’ the stories: I haven’t stopped talking about them since my first reading!
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about it?
It’s a shame that neither The Life to Come stories nor Forster’s Maurice have yet been nominated for your bookshelf, so I wanted to rectify that. I wonder why Forster’s queer short stories, especially, remain lower-profile than they deserve, and why he seems to have gone unmentioned in your exhibition – particularly when (for example) he also spoke out in court to defend other works the exhibition/nominations do acknowledge (The Well of Loneliness, and James Hanley’s Boy) against ‘obscenity’ charges.