An unpleasant and unpatriotic truth has here to be faced. No English novelist is as great as Tolstoy -that is to say, has given so complete a picture of man’s life, both on its domestic and heroic side. No English novelist has explored man’s soul as deeply as Dostoevsky. And no novelist anywhere has analysed the modem consciousness as successfully as Marcel Proust. Before these triumphs we must pause. English poetry fears no one -excels in quality as well as quantity. But English fiction is less triumphant: it does not contain the best stuff yet written, and if we deny this we become guilty of provincialism.

E. M. Forster – Aspects of the novel



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