We remember E. M. Forster as the guy who wrote novels such as Room With a View and Passage to India, brought to millions in Merchant Ivory’s wonderful films. But Forster wrote much non-fiction that discussed the world crisis in the 1930s and 40s, topics covering the human condition, ethics, class, race and totalitarianism and much on the arts, which he saw as “an antidote against our present troubles” (1951). As early as 1935 Forster spoke out against “the menace to freedom”, against Hitler’s persecution of the Jews and disregard for freedom of opinion and individualism, “assailing the human mind at its source”. He worried that “people do not believe in freedom any more”. They were in the state “of being half-frightened and half-thinking about something else at the same time”. This was a “moment of general collapse, this moment when the governments kill and the Churches have nothing to say”(1939).
Forster collected many of his earlier essays in Two Cheers for Democracy (1951).