They were snobs, but the Wilde bunch were satirists in a class ...

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They were snobs, but the Wilde bunch were satirists in a class of their own

English fiction is littered with products of a class system who willingly, and dazzlingly, turn their pens on themselves

Claire Allfree

“A snob first, novelist second.”

This was the Booker Prize-winning Marlon James’s assessment of EM Forster in this week’s episode of his podcast Marlon and Jake Read Dead People, in which he and his editor, Jake Morrissey, spiritedly discuss the deceased authors they grew up reading.

I’m a fan of James’s fiction, but I can only imagine what the quietly radical Forster might have thought of such a blunt dismissal. For Forster understood better than most novelists that great truth about the British: it’s class that makes them who they are...

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