The Romantic Ideology of Education and the Modern Bildungsroman

The Longest Journey as Forster’s “Prelude”


  • Sajjad Ali Khan Associate Professor, Department of English, GC University, Lahore


The recent studies of Forster tend to put him in the category of ‘Queer Forster’. What these ‘queer’ readings of Forster are missing is his essential connection with Wordsworth. In this sense, my study of Forster is more traditional. It is argued that neither ‘liberal humanism’ nor ‘humanism’ nor ‘naturalism’ describe Forster adequately. Though he seems to embody some of these ideas in his novels, none of these describe him in totality. Forster is, in fact, a Wordsworthian. The Longest Journeyis a novel of education, and the mode of education that is authorized here is the Wordsworthian mode of education. The Longest Journey offers a scathing criticism of the British public school system of education. Forster picks on the public school system because it has a direct bearing upon the character formation of the middle classes of England. He explores in the novel a substitute system of education. As Wordsworth is assured of his literary gifts toward the end of The Prelude, similarly The Longest Journey is certainly a major step forward in assuring Forster of his literary gifts.