- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New impression edition (29 Oct. 1970)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140023623
- ISBN-13: 978-0140023626
- Package Dimensions: 18 x 11.2 x 1.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Two Cheers for Democracy Paperback – 29 Oct 1970
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Top Customer Reviews
I was in no way prepared, however, for the profound effect that this collection of essays, articles and broadcasts would have on me. Before long I was hooked, and it wasn't long before I was underlining bits that I particularly liked, and even now, three years later, I have some of his more perceptive phrases stuck on the wall of my bedroom. It is as if he articulated vague impressions that I had already been entertaining, as if he gave me a nudge and I suddenly understand things.
It was not the entire book that affected me in this way. Two Cheers for Democracy can be divided into two halves. The first half was mostly writing just before and during the second world war and is more philosophical in outlook. The rest of the book is more to do with criticism of literature, art and music. While it is a hugely satisfying read in its entirity, it is the first half that had the most profound impact upon me.
Forster discusses a myriad of subjects, including the threat from Nazi Germany, the importance of criticism, the necessity of the defence of culture, the dangers of belief systems, and the need for tolerance. His insights of the world around him are perceptive almost to the point of prophetic , and always underlined with that humanity that uplifts all of his writing. He is worried, and at times repulsed, by the world of men, but he is also not without hope that things will get better and that mankind is essentially good . Understanding, kindness, humour and hope underpin even the most gloomy of his essays.Read more ›
He saw a huge economic movement from agriculture towards industrialization. It meant the destruction of feudalism and relations based on land, and also the transference of power from the aristocrat to the bureaucrat. (`Personally, I hate it.') (!)
He sees a class `which strangled the aristocracy, and has been haunted ever since by the ghost of its victim. It is a class of tradesmen and professional men and little Government officials, and it has come to power consequent on the Industrial Revolution. (Its) minds still hanker after the feudal stronghold which we condemned as inhabitable.'
Liberalism (economical, political, spiritual)
E.M. Forster has `no faith in the people', only in the individual.
He also has no faith in economic liberalism, which `led to the black market and the capitalist jungle.'
What he wants is political and spiritual liberalism; not an authoritarian State which tries to control men's mind and creates censorship, the secret police, the road to serfdom, the community of slaves. What he wants is real democracy which starts from the assumption that the individual is important as well as free speech.
What he also wants is tolerance and in no way force and violence. Some people call the absence of force and violence `decadence', for him it is civilization.
Another anti-liberal power is religion (Christianity): `I cannot believe that Christianity will ever cope with the present world-wide mess, and I think that such influence that it retains in modern society is due to the money behind it, rather than to its spiritual appeal'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A mixed bag - Forster's book/music reviews now rather dated, even a bit tedious, but his political, moral, social commentaries are as sharp and relevant as they can ever have been. Read morePublished on 16 Jan. 2015 by Martin
A collection of essays and newspaper or magazine articles written by E.M. Forster. Interesting reading.Published on 26 Sept. 2014 by Baudouin De Witte