Irish novelist, literary critic and translator FORREST REID, was born (d: 1948); Reid was a close friend of E.M. Forster, and their works are in some respects quite similar, through Reid’s are unfairly neglected today.
As Francis King writes, “Reid led a simple life in the company of his dogs and cats and the boys whom he befriended. An extremely ugly man, he was a pederast who, like many pederasts, perpetually harked back to the lost heaven that had lain about him in his boyhood. He is usually represented as having been happy and uncomplicated; but in fact his was a dark, involuted, troubled nature and in the course of his life he made more than one attempt at suicide.
When, as inevitably happened, the boys whom he loved grew up, had girlfriends and got married, he indulged in scenes of bitter recrimination and maudlin self-pity.” While still in his twenties, Reid correctly surmised that Henry James was Gay and dedicated his mildly homosexual novel The Garden God: A Tale of Two Boys (1905) to the American writer. James, true to his nature, was not flattered and publicly condemned the book for its “artless portrayal of sinister matters.”
His Following Darkness (1912) was said to have been an inspiration for James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. A later book was dedicated to Forster, who was delighted. It was to Reid that Forster felt able to write about the loss of his beloved Charles Mauron in WWII. In 1952 Forster traveled to Belfast to unveil a plaque commemorating Forrest Reid’s life (at 13 Ormiston Crescent).