In this searching tragicomedy of manners, personalities, and world views, E.M. Forster explores the "idea of England" he would later develop in Howards End. Bookish, sensitive, and given to wild enthusiasms, Rickie Elliot is virtually made for a life at Cambridge, where he can subsist on a regimen of biscuits and philosophical debate. But the love-smitten Rickie leaves his natural habitat to marry the devastatingly practical Agnes Pembroke, who brings with her, as a sort of dowry, a teaching position at the abominable Sawston School.
Out of this misalliance comes Forster's most stylistically daring novel. As it follows Rickie from the comforts of Cambridge to the petty intrigues of Sawston to the lush, haunted environs of rural Wiltshire, The Longest Journey gives us a comic yet immensely moving vision of a country split between pragmatism and imagination, sober conformity and redemptive eccentricity, upright Christianity and delirious paganism.