Forster wrote about sub-national, regional and local English places which can be found on maps. He also constructed ideas of place by combining zones which actually existed and intuiting or generalising about their identities. Examination of this reveals tensions, ambiguities and micro-narratives. He was less secure in Cambridge than is often thought. People have thought him anti-London. He wasn't. Yes, he demonised it in earlier writings, but in later ones he saw it as a site of liberation. As a famous writer, he has sometimes become a token in a game played by others, even after his death. At Stevenage, something called the 'Foster Country' has been constructed and used as a way of blocking schemes for building on farm land.
This study conceptualises his view of the relationship between the Home Countries around London and England beyond visually as a target, with a multiple London at the centre, then two rings beyond, the Home Countries and, outside that, an idea of Wild England, first pursued, later abandoned. In youth, Foster understood England by means of his own part of it. When young, he mockingly and satirically portrayed the comfortable, hypocritical public-school field he dubbed 'Sawston'. Later on, he cast this aside. Forster was not only attached to English places but also calculatingly dismissive of their importance.
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