Where Angels Fear To Tread Background

Where Angels Fear To Tread Background

Where Angels Fear to Tread is a novel written by E. M. Forster. The title comes from a line in Alexander Pope’s An Essay of Criticism: “For fools rush in where angels fear to tread”, but at first Forster wanted to title his novel Monteriano, after the small Italian town where Lilia met Gino, but his editor thought it was a boring name for the story, so Forster changed it.

The story was pleasantly accepted by critics, and its originality and conflicts in particular were highlighted. The reviewer for UK daily newspaper The Manchester Guardian wrote that "Where Angels Fear to Tread is not at all the kind of book that its title suggests. It is not mawkish or sentimental or commonplace. The motive of the story […] is familiar and ordinary enough, but the setting and treatment of this motive are almost startlingly original". The review noted "a persistent vein of cynicism which is apt to repel, but the cynicism is not deep-seated. […] [I]t takes the form of a sordid comedy culminating, unexpectedly and with a real dramatic force, in a grotesque tragedy." It concluded by saying, "We wonder whether EM Forster could be a little more charitable without losing in force and originality. An experiment might be worth trying.”

Forster had written his story when he was 26, but, as critics mention, it appeared to be a work by mature and wise man, completely original and the only one of this kind.

In 1991 the novel was put into a silver screen by Charles Sturridge starring Rupert Graves, Giovanni Guidelli, Helen Mirren, Helena Bonham Carter, and Judy Davis. Also a ten-part radio adaptation of the novel was broadcast on BBC Radio and there was an opera based on the novel by Mark Weiser was premiered at the Peabody Institute of Music in 1999, and received its professional premiere at Opera San Jose in 2015. The story is still popular not only because it is interesting and the writing manner is perfect, but also because it highlights the most topical problems of love, happiness, marriage and society.

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