1st Edition

E. M. Forster’s Material Humanism Queer Matters

By Nour Dakkak Copyright 2024

    Through attending to the nonhuman, E. M. Forster’s Material Humanism: Queer Matters places Forster’s fiction in conversation with contemporary debates concerned with the intersection of neomaterialism, environmental humanities, and queer ecology. The book revisits Forster’s liberal humanism from a materialist perspective by focusing on humans’ embodied activities in artificial and natural environments. By examining the everyday embodied experiences of characters, the book thus brings to the fore insignificant and sometimes overlooked aspects in Forster’s fiction. It also places importance on the texts’ treatment of queer intimacy as an embodied experience that can transcend sexual desire. The book acknowledges nonhuman agency as central to our understanding of queerness in Forster’s texts and studies the representation of formless matters such as dust as a way through which Forster’s ecological concerns arise by linking the fate of oppressed humans with oppressed nonhuman others.


    Introduction: E. M. Forster’s Material Humanism

    Liberal Non/Humanism
    Embodied Humanism
    Disembodied Modernity
    Queering Nature
    Queer Matters

    1. Artificial Matters: Modernity, Apathy, Conformity

    Nonconforming Bodies
    Idealised Bodies
    Apathetic Bodies

    2. Organic Matters: Chaos, Unpredictability, Intimacy

    Chaperoned Encounters
    Chaotic Encounters
    Vulnerable Bodies

    3. Queer Matters: Dust

    Dust as a Thing
    Controlling Dust
    The "Other" Dust



    Nour Dakkak is Assistant Professor of English Literature at the Arab Open University, Kuwait. She’s the co-editor of Sandscapes: Writing the British Seaside (2021) with Jo Carruthers and Anticipatory Materialisms in Literature and Philosophy, 1790-1930 (2020) with Jo Carruthers and Rebecca Spence. Her research examines human–world relations in early-twentieth century literature and culture.