In a season of crises, from Iran to North Korea to the Gulf of Mexico, the revelation of a Russian spy ring in the United States has been greeted as a source of welcome comic relief. It’s not just Jon Stewart, or the headline writers of the New York Post, who can’t keep a straight face talking about the eleven Russian “illegals,” long-term secret agents who built up elaborate cover identities as ordinary Americans.
A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E.M. Forster By Wendy Moffat (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 404 pp., $32.50) Concerning E.M. Forster By Frank Kermode (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 180 pp., $24) Whenever E.M. Forster is discussed, the phrase “only connect” is sure to come up sooner or later. The epigraph to Howards End, the book he described with typical modesty as “my best novel and approaching a good novel,” seems to capture the leading idea of all his work—the moral importance of connection between individuals, across the barriers of race, class, and nation.
This week, as I looked forward to the launch of Entanglements, I happened to be reading selections from the Spectator of Addison and Steele.