Dear Friends, Colleagues, Members of the IEMFS,
We would like to welcome you in 2021, hoping it will be a better year for us all. 2020 certainly failed to deliver on our hopes. Instead of meeting in person in Cambridge to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Forster’s death we found ourselves locked down in our homes, trying to combine family and professional lives in often rather limited space. Many of us have been directly afflicted by the pandemic. And yet we have soldiered on, trying to make the best of the situation. The plans of our Society had to be altered as well but, I am proud to say, this letter will not deal with things that did not happen but rather with those that did or at least will as we have a surprise for you.
Our most important project of 2020 was the special issue of the Language and Literary Studies of Warsaw. Originally, we planned to publish a section dedicated to Forster and offer this opportunity to those Forsterians who could not attend the Cambridge conference to share their recent work. We changed our plans when the conference had to be cancelled and instead prepared to publish the whole Forsterian issue. The response to our call for papers was quite overwhelming and we are now in the final stages of editing a volume of over 500 pages of typescript. We hoped to complete our work by the end of 2020 but the size of our task proved too big and at the moment we expect the volume to appear online by February 2021 and in print soon afterwards. The volume will be accessible from the webpage of the journal but also through the new ProQuest full-text database One Literature and other databases.
As the work is still in progress we do not want to reveal too many details. However, as it has become something of a tradition to publish some new material from the Society for Forster’s birthday, we have put the very first article on academia.edu – it is available here. It is a very special version of the text dealing with all possible adaptations of Forster works as it includes links to those adaptations which are available online which, quite obviously, will not be included in the printed version.
The second of our publication projects, the edited volume The World of E. M. Forster – E. M. Forster and the World, is now in proof-reading, we hope to see it published by Cambridge Scholars Press in the summer of 2021.
Many conferences planned for 2020 had to be cancelled. Some, however, did take place as the 40th annual conference of the Virginia Woolf Society of Japan which included a panel entitle “E. M. Forster and the Contemporary Culture”. Thanks to the modern technologies (which some of us are beginning to hate) the Society was able to take part and you can see the brief speech if you check the conference report (the link in the middle of the page!).
We have also become much more active on our Society Facebook page. Unfortunately, Facebook expects us to pay if we want to reach a wider audience (on the average our posts reach about 50 out of almost 400 people who follow our page) so if you want to receive the most recent information from the world of E. M. Forster make sure you like our page, add it to your preferred pages, and click “like” every time you see our post in your feed. You don’t want to miss Tommaso Gambini’s latest record The Machine Stops or this 1965 TV adaptation of A Passage to India, do you? You are also welcome to join and post your own Forster-related content in our FB group.
2020 left us with lasting memories and some unfinished business but we must always look to the future and try to make 2021 as good as it is possible. The board of the Society decided that we must make use of the possibilities that are available at the moment, instead of waiting for the virus to go way, and consequently we would like to invite you all to online conference – E. M. Forster – Shaping the Space of Culture – which will take place on June 7th 2021, the 51st anniversary of Forster’s death and the 11th anniversary of the establishment of our Society. You will find all the details in the attached call for papers, the event is free so we hope to see you all in June. Do not forget to share the information with your friends and colleagues.
We wish you happy, healthy, peaceful, and successful 2021!