[Read] ➲ Pharos and Pharillon ➮ E.M. Forster – Marjoriejane.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “Pharos and Pharillon

  1. says:

    This is an utterly delightful book of essays on the subject of Alexandria, Egypt E.M Forster writes with a crystalline prose which at times rises to the memorable, as when he described The Solitary Place near Lake Mariout But what impresses one most in the scene is the quiet persistence of the earth There is so little soil about and she does so much with it Year after year she has given this extraordinary show to a few Bedouins, has covered the Mareotic civilization with dust and raised flowers from its shards Will she do the same to our own time and barbed wire Probably not, for man has now got so far ahead of other forms of life that he will scarcely permit the flowers to grow over his works again His old tins will be buried under new tins This is the triumph of civilization, I suppose, the final imprint of the human upon this devoted planet, which should exhibit in its apotheosis a solid crust of machinery and graves In cities one sees this development coming, but in solitary places, however austere, the primaeval softness persists, the vegetation still flowers and seeds unchecked, and the air still blows untainted hot from the land or cold from the sea.And this was written back in 1923 The book ends with an essay on Constantine P Cavafy, the poet of Alexandria, with a few excerpts from his work translated, I suspect, by Forster himself This is a gem of a book I recommend to everyone.


  2. says:

    Lisbon Book Fair 2017.


  3. says:

    Very poetic and determinedly beautiful The chapter on Cavafy is a jewel.


  4. says:

    E.M Forster shares his love and deep appreciation of Alexandria, Egypt by evoking the sense of being on the margins that he felt Alexandria embodied On the coast of Africa, peopled by Egyptians, Greeks and Jews, inhabiting a city of steeped in history, the city imparts a poetic feeling to those who position themselves to receive it Lawrence Durell in his Quartet and C.P Cavafy, the great poet wrote both drew from this well Forster shares the interest of Cavafy in a different Greece , not Athens and Sparta, so drubbed into us at school but the Greek legacy from Alexander and the Ptolemies, Greek Pharaohs descended from Alexander s generals, through the Byzantine Empire He brings a characteristic wit and skeptical eye toward the rich as here when he describes Clement of Alexandria, an early Christian Clement wrote The Rich Man s Treatise and handles with delicacy a problem on which business men are naturally sensitive and arrives a the comforting conclusion that Christ did not mean what he said.Often when I read books from the early 20th century or earlier times I make allowances for, and gird myself against, the offensive racism and Anti Semitism that was so openly on display It is important to note that authors of this time do not deserve this free pass of being just a product of their time The works of thinking people as represented by E.M Forster prove that, even then, racism was a failure of sympathy and a weakness of character Forster rose above this and in so doing demonstrates that in our own time we can not fall back on cultural norms or whatever justification we manufacture to excuse bigotry There is a glittering vein of gold in human action, celebrating nature, our bodies and each other Forster mined this vein Pharos and Pharillon is one of his gems.


  5. says:

    Sketches of Alexandria, it s origins, architecture the famous lighthouse , it s founding Alexander , notables especially the early Church Fathers and notable industries hashish , cotton associated with the city Particularly interesting, from a literary perspective, is that C.P Cavafy s poetry is essentially introduced to English readers here About 100 pages A slight book, in Forster s clear, characteristically humane and ironic style A delightful way to spend a drizzly December evening.


  6. says:

    Hmm mixed feelings on this small collection of stories cum essays cum historical facts the blending of the genres is quite interesting The difficulty is the shortness of the texts, reading like vignettes, that make it hard for me as a reader to connect with anything except the place And as someone who has never been to Alexandria nor share Forster s infatuation with it, it s hard to relate Still, the writing and the references are beautifully rendered.


  7. says:

    A wonderful take on the old area of Alexandria and the mid 20th century update Not a travel book but it will make you want to visit.


  8. says:

    A minor bit of Forster, but damn, this man can write.How about this for an arresting and succinct first sentence The career of Menelaus was a series of small mishaps The final essay on Cavafy s poetry is lovely and acute.


  9. says:

    I mean, seriously, folks E.M Forster is a great writer He superbly arranges his ideas and thinks great thoughts, while he crafts phrases of sublime beauty.


  10. says:

    Free download available at


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