Though both Willa Cather and E. M. Forster have been alternately praised as progressives and criticized as conservatives, the novels of both writers embody the tenets of liberal humanism, while at the same time reflecting the tensions associated with modernism (though both of these terms have come under intense critical scrutiny in recent years.) And while a few critics have offered brief comparisons of individual works or particular tendencies of Cather and Forster, none has provided the systematic comparative analysis of the relationship between liberal humanist/modernist tensions and the search for transcendence in their work that this book offers. The principal aims of the present study are to locate the imagined alternatives to the lamentable present embodied in the novels of both writers and to explore how literature and the arts might assist in transcending the deficiencies and disunities of life in the modern era.
About the Author
Alan Blackstock is professor of English at Utah State University.