Edward Morgan Forster was born on January 1, 1879, in London, England. He never knew his father, who died when Forster was an infant. Forster graduated from King's College, Cambridge, with B.A. degrees in classics (1900) and history (1901), as well as an M.A. (1910). In the mid-1940s he returned to Cambridge as a professor, living quietly there until his death in 1970. Forster was named to the Order of Companions of Honor to the Queen in 1953. Forster's writing was extensively influenced by the traveling he did in the earlier part of his life. After graduating from Cambridge, he lived in both Greece and Italy, and used the latter as the setting for the novels Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) and A Room with a View (1908). The Longest Journey was published in 1907. Howard's End was modeled on the house he lived in with his mother during his childhood. During World War I, he worked as a Red Cross Volunteer in Alexandria, aiding in the search for missing soldiers; he later wrote about these experiences in the nonfiction works Alexandria: A History and Guide and Pharos and Pharillon. His two journeys to India, in 1912 and 1922, resulted in A Passage to India (1924), which many consider to be Forster's best work; this title earned the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Forster wrote only six novels, all prior to 1925 (although Maurice was not published until 1971, a year after Forster's death, probably because of its homosexual theme). For much of the rest of his life, he wrote literary criticism (Aspects of the Novel) and nonfiction, including biographies (Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson), histories, political pieces, and radio broadcasts. Howard's End, A Room with a View, and A Passage to India have all been made into successful films.
P. N. Furbank was born Philip Nicholas Furbank in Cranleigh, Surrey on May 23, 1920. He studied at Cambridge University. During World War II, he served in the British Army in Italy. He was a lifelong stammerer, and this challenge led him to leave Cambridge, where he had taught in the late 1940s and early 1950s, to work in London as a librarian and an editor. He was a critic and scholar who wrote several books including Italo Svevo: The Man and the Writer, E. M. Forster: A Life, and Diderot: A Critical Biography, which was the first recipient of the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in 1995. He and fellow scholar W. R. Owens began their Daniel Defoe collaboration in the early 1980s, and over 20 years they published four books and were the general editors of a 44-volume collection of Defoe's works. He died on June 27, 2014 at the age of 94.