E M Forster's radio talk on Bengali literature


This is the handwritten script of a talk on Bengali literature by E M Forster for the BBC Eastern Service, part of the literary series ‘Some Books’. In it Forster reviews a number of books by Bengali authors which he had acquired during his latest trip to India. He particularly praises the work of the writer Sarat Chandra Chatterjee.

Forster wrote his talk after his third and last visit to India in 1945, where he had attended a conference of writers in Jaipur. He later travelled to Calcutta, his first ever visit to Bengal. Forster begins his talk by stressing the special relationship that ties him to India:

I know that India today is not a pleasure garden, still less is it a fun fair, and I was conscious all the time of political tensions and economic tragedy. Nevertheless, the country did bring me personal happiness. It always does, it always will, and I want to say ‘thank you’.

Forster and the BBC

Forster was a regular contributor to the BBC for more than 30 years, delivering radio talks on books and culture. His engaging style and his capacity to appeal to a non-expert audience made him one of the most valued contributors. The majority of his speeches were on literary subjects, devoting talks to writers such as Rebecca West, Rudyard Kipling and Stefan Zweig. But Forster did not exclude political commentary from his broadcasts. During the Second World War he wrote a series of talks on Nazism and culture, speculating about the effects that a German victory would have for society.

Full title:
Edward Morgan Forster papers. Manuscript draft by Edward Morgan Forster (1879-1970) of a talk on Bengali literature for the BBC Eastern Service series `Some Books'.
Manuscript / Radio script
E M Forster
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© The Provost and Scholars of King's College, Cambridge and The Society of Authors as the E.M. Forster Estate. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.  

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British Library
Mss Eur D964

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