Episode 17: "The Celestial Omnibus" by E. M. Forster

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By Cindy Rollins and Angelina Stanford. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

On this week’s episode of The Literary Life, Angelina Stanford and Cindy Rollins are joined once more by Thomas Banks for their discussion of “The Celestial Omnibus” by E. M. Forster. Angelina and Cindy tell why they love this short story so much and how it encapsulates their own ideas about literature. Thomas gives us some biographical background on E. M. Forster. We get a brief look at the plot of the story, as well as some discussion of how allegorical Forster makes this story. Angelina highlights the idea presented in “The Celestial Omnibus” that what we see in fairy land is more real than what we see in our own world.

Other themes our hosts bring up include modern educational theory, wonder and innocence, using poetry versus enjoying it, and literary critique contrasted with experiencing literature. Their conversation hinges around the contrast between Mr. Bons’ pride and pretension and the boy’s humility and sincerity. This story embodies everything that The Literary Life podcast is all about, so we hope you enjoy both the story and this episode!

Summer of the Short Story:

Ep 18: “Vulture on War” by Samuel Johnson

Upcoming Events:

September 22: How to Love Poetry Webinar with Thomas Banks

Port of Aerial Embarkation

by John Ciardi

There is no widening distance at the shore— The sea revolving slowly from the piers— But the one border of our take-off roar And we are mounted on the hemispheres.

Above the waning moon whose almanac We wait to finish continents away, The Northern stars already call us back, And silence folds like maps on all we say.

Under the sky, a stadium tensed to cry The ringside savage thrumming of the fights, We watch our engines, taut and trained for sky, Arranged on fields of concrete flowered with lights.

Day after day we fondle and repeat A jeweler’s adjustment on a screw; Or wander past the bulletins to meet And wander back to watch the sky be blue.

Somehow we see ourselves in photographs Held in our hands to show us back our pride When, aging, we recall in epitaphs The faces just behind and to each side.

The nights keep perfect silence. In the dark You feel the faces soften into sleep, Or tense upon the fraught and falling arc Of fear a boy had buried not too deep.

Finally we stand by and consciously Measure the double sense of all our talk, And, everyman his dramatist, anxiously Corrects his role, his gesture, and his walk.

Book List:

(Amazon affiliate links)

Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton

Mental Efficiency by Arnold Bennett

How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett

Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett

Howards End by E. M. Forster

Kristen Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

Til We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis

Religio Medici by Thomas Browne

Support The Literary Life:

Become a patron of The Literary Life podcast as part of the “Friends and Fellows Community” on Patreon, and get some amazing bonus content! Thanks for your support!

Connect with Us:

Find Angelina at https://angelinastanford.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ANGStanford/

Find Cindy at https://cindyrollins.net and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cindyrollins.net/

Jump into our private Facebook group, The Literary Life Discussion Group, and let’s get the book talk going! http://bit.ly/literarylifeFB

27 episodes