Christopher Lord is the author of the Dickens Junction Mysteries, a past recipient of a Literary Arts Fellowship, and has been a frequent Delve Guide for works by Dickens, Hardy, Forster, and the “Golden Age” of Detective Fiction. Christopher will be leading E.M. Forster: The Italian Novels this winter. Here is what he has to say about this seminar!
Q:What interests/excites you about the author(s) your Delve is focused on?
A: I chose to do a second Forster Delve for a few reasons: I thought reading more of his work would appeal to some of the Delvers who did “Maurice” with me this year;I spent time in 2017 re-reading all of Forster’s novels, stories, and biography; and I wanted to do another gay author.The early novels are exciting because, right off the bat, Forster established his trademarks: an interesting setting, characters who often stand for aspects of English society yet also exist as true fictional characters, not just allegorical representations (as in, say, some of Hawthorne), and daring yet approachable symbolic writing.
Q:What can participants expect to happen in your Delve seminar?
A: I like to go over the text pretty thoroughly, so Delvers can expect a methodical exploration of each chapter, with highlights of particular passages that are either representative of the writer’s work in general, contain specific technical finesse (use of indirect dialogue, for example), or manifest some of the writer’s use of symbols or figurative writing.
Q:What do you think is the best way to have a good Delve experience in your seminar?
A: The best way to have a good Delve experience is to do the reading, and to bring an open mind and an inquisitive nature to the work. Each Delver has a unique experience base that will inform his or her approach to the novel or story under review, and no interpretation is necessarily wrong. I expect that each Delver will offer at least one contribution each session.
Q: What do you like most about being a Delve guide?
A: What I like most: being in a room with people who love good writing as much as I do, and spending time with novels I love (because I wouldn’t be a Delve guide for a novel for which I wasn’t fully committed). The canon may be expanding, but certain authors will remain anchors, and Forster is, to some critics, “the last Victorian,” although I tend to see him as an early modernist, because his novels don’t often resolve in the neat way that the Victorians (particularly the early ones) chose.