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April 24, 2013

In the Footsteps of E. M. F.

by mlmitche


The Italian hill town of Monteriano in Forster’s novel Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) is modeled on San Gimignano and Santa Deodata is modeled on Santa Fina. Forster writes:

“One of the towers, rough as any other, was topped by a cross–the tower of the Collegiate Church of Santa Deodata. She was a holy maiden of the Dark Ages, the city’s patron saint, and sweetness and barbarity mingle strangely in her story. So holy was she that all her life she lay upon her back in the house of her mother, refusing to eat, refusing to play, refusing to work. The devil, envious of such sanctity, tempted her in various ways. He dangled grapes above her, he showed her fascinating toys, he pushed soft pillows beneath her aching head. When all proved vain he tripped up the mother and flung her downstairs before her very eyes. But so holy was the saint that she never picked her mother up, but lay on her back through all, and thus assured her throne in Paradise. She was only fifteen when she died, which shows how much is within the reach of any schoolgirl.”


Film Adaptation of Where Angels Fear to Tread Seen in New York (26 March 1992)

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