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Howards End by E. M. Forster
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Howards End (1910)

by E. M. Forster

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,414105826 (3.99)463
First published in 1910, Howards End is the novel that earned E. M. Forster recognition as a major writer. Soon to be a limited series on Starz. At its heart lie two families--the wealthy and business-minded Wilcoxes and the cultured and idealistic Schlegels. When the beautiful and independent Helen Schlegel begins an impetuous affair with the ardent Paul Wilcox, a series of events is sparked--some very funny, some very tragic--that results in a dispute over who will inherit Howards End, the Wilcoxes' charming country home. As much about the clash between individual wills as the clash between the sexes and the classes, Howards End is a novel whose central tenet, "Only connect," remains a powerful prescription for modern life. Introduction by Alfred Kazan (Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)… (more)
  1. 30
    A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (sturlington)
    sturlington: Where A Room with a View is comedy, Howards End is tragedy.
  2. 32
    On Beauty by Zadie Smith (GCPLreader)
    GCPLreader: contemporary novel is an homage to Howard's End
  3. 00
    The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (Limelite)
1910s (3)
My TBR (96)
Modernism (122)
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» See also 463 mentions

English (102)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (104)
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
I didn’t originally realize that this was by the same author who wrote the short story “The Machine Stops,” which I enjoyed, and more so than this one. But both seem to have themes of disconnection, alienation, and the decay of creativity and the ability to form new ideas.

“The Machine Stops” tells the story of what happens when people do not really connect, and interact only virtually, getting offended at being touched by another even by accident, and never travel unless they have to. And when the main character finally does travel and catches a glimpse of Mediterranean Europe from the air, she is capable of concluding that, “there were no ideas in Greece.” It was a story of no connections ever being made. But Howards End is the story of connections that should have been made, but were just missed – connections between people, connections between ideas, and connections between people and ideas. This makes Margaret’s ideas all the more poignant:

“She would only point out the salvation that was latent in his own soul, and in the soul of every man. Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.” (Page 195).

I found it intriguing that the book was published in 1910, only four years before World War One, and it I think it gave a good idea of some of the tensions inherent to the time. The references to the possibility of armed conflict between England and Germany – and the idea that every article speculating on the topic made it more likely that would happen – were interesting, and I also found the prediction that “life’s going to be melted down, all over the world” very prescient. The book’s perspective is even more interesting because I would also place the end of the Gilded Age just around this time as well, or perhaps a little later, and so visible class differences would have been very stark indeed (it’s interesting to think that at the time this was written, the Titanic was likely under construction), and this book does a good job of throwing them into high relief.

I couldn’t really sympathize with any of the characters – although I have the fairly strong suspicion that I wasn’t really supposed to - so I am not going to find fault so far as that goes. This may be hindsight speaking, but I can see how a world like the one portrayed in the book was unsustainable and bound to crash in some way – as it did four years later.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find the ending very satisfying, but YMMV.
( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
I didn’t originally realize that this was by the same author who wrote the short story “The Machine Stops,” which I enjoyed, and more so than this one. But both seem to have themes of disconnection, alienation, and the decay of creativity and the ability to form new ideas.

“The Machine Stops” tells the story of what happens when people do not really connect, and interact only virtually, getting offended at being touched by another even by accident, and never travel unless they have to. And when the main character finally does travel and catches a glimpse of Mediterranean Europe from the air, she is capable of concluding that, “there were no ideas in Greece.” It was a story of no connections ever being made. But Howards End is the story of connections that should have been made, but were just missed – connections between people, connections between ideas, and connections between people and ideas. This makes Margaret’s ideas all the more poignant:

“She would only point out the salvation that was latent in his own soul, and in the soul of every man. Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.” (Page 195).

I found it intriguing that the book was published in 1910, only four years before World War One, and it I think it gave a good idea of some of the tensions inherent to the time. The references to the possibility of armed conflict between England and Germany – and the idea that every article speculating on the topic made it more likely that would happen – were interesting, and I also found the prediction that “life’s going to be melted down, all over the world” very prescient. The book’s perspective is even more interesting because I would also place the end of the Gilded Age just around this time as well, or perhaps a little later, and so visible class differences would have been very stark indeed (it’s interesting to think that at the time this was written, the Titanic was likely under construction), and this book does a good job of throwing them into high relief.

I couldn’t really sympathize with any of the characters – although I have the fairly strong suspicion that I wasn’t really supposed to - so I am not going to find fault so far as that goes. This may be hindsight speaking, but I can see how a world like the one portrayed in the book was unsustainable and bound to crash in some way – as it did four years later.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find the ending very satisfying, but YMMV.
( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
Originally read Mar 06, 2008. ( )
  charlyk | Nov 15, 2019 |
Rated: B+ ( )
  jmcdbooks | Oct 20, 2019 |
Published in 1910, but I'd never read it. I was out of books to read and I found it on my youngest daughter's shelf, leftover from her high school days. Parts made me laugh out loud. Forster definitely had a gift with the English language. And it came full circle, which always satisfies me in stories. I also liked that while it was published over 100 years ago and reflected the times (particularly attitudes toward women), there were scenes that could have happened today. For instance:

"You shall see the connection if it kills you, Henry! You have had a mistress—I forgave you. My sister has had a lover—you drive her from the house. Do you see the connection? Stupid, hypocritical, cruel . . ." [spoken by Margaret]

Later, Margaret thinks about her outburst, reflecting, "No message came from Henry; perhaps he expected her to apologize. Now that she had time to think over her own tragedy, she was unrepentant. She neither forgave him for his behaviour nor wished to forgive him. Her speech to him seemed perfect. She would not have altered a word. It had to be uttered once in a life, to adjust the lopsidedness of the world. It was spoken not only to her husband, but to thousands of men like him . . ." (italics mine) #metoo

This is a classic I overlooked. If you've overlooked it also, check it out. ( )
  DonnaMarieMerritt | Jul 21, 2019 |
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"The season's great novel"
added by GYKM | editDaily Mail
 
"A fine novel"
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"My impression is that the writer is a woman of a quality of mind comparable to that of the Findlater sisters or to May Sinclair."
added by GYKM | editChicago Tribune
 
"A story of remarkably queer people"
added by GYKM | editWestern Mail
 

» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forster, E. M.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hynes, SamuelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ivory, JamesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klett, ElizabethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lodge, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pascual, ToniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennanen, EilaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pessarrodona, MartaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petherbridge, EdwardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Only Connect . . ."
Dedication
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Editor's Introduction
Idea for another novel shaping, and may do well to write it down.
One may as well begin with Helen’s letters to her sister.
Quotations
Theatres and discussion societies attracted her less and less. She began to ‘miss’ new movements, and to spend her spare time re-reading or thinking . . . she had outgrown stimulants, and was passing from words to things. It was doubtless a pity not to keep up with Wedekind or John, but some closing of the gates is inevitable after thirty, if the mind itself is to become a creative power.
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.
Margaret greeted her lord with peculiar tenderness on the morrow. Mature as he was, she might yet be able to help him to the building of the rainbow bridge that should connect the prose in us with the passion. Without it we are meaningless fragments, half monk, half beasts, unconnected arches that have never joined into a man. With it love is born, and alights on the highest curve, glowing against the grey, sober against the fire. Happy the man who sees from either aspect the glory of these outspread wings. The roads of his soul lie clear, and he and his friends shall find easy-going.
The train sped northward, under innumerable tunnels. It was only an hour’s journey, but Mrs. Munt had to raise and lower the window again and again. She passed through the South Welwyn Tunnel, saw light for a moment, and entered the North Welwyn Tunnel, of tragic fame. She traversed the immense viaduct, whose arches span untroubled meadows and the dreamy flow of Tewin Water. She skirted the parks of politicians. At times the Great North Road accompanied her, more suggestive of infinity than any railway, awakening, after a nap of a hundred years, to such life as is conferred by the stench of motor-cars, and to such culture as is implied by the advertisements of antibilious pills. To history, to tragedy, to the past, to the future, Mrs. Munt remained equally indifferent; hers but to concentrate on the end of her journey.
They were both at their best when serving on committees. They did not make the mistake of handling human affairs in the bulk, but disposed of them item by item, sharply. ... It is the best—perhaps the only—way of dodging emotion.
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014118213X, 0141199407

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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HighBridge

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