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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
6,24984647 (3.97)392
  1. 41
    On Beauty by Zadie Smith (GCPLreader)
    GCPLreader: contemporary novel is an homage to Howard's End
  2. 10
    A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (sturlington)
    sturlington: Where A Room with a View is comedy, Howards End is tragedy.
  3. 00
    The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (Limelite)
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» See also 392 mentions

English (82)  Dutch (1)  English (83)
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
I suspect that everyone I know has read this book, and if they haven’t, they’ve seen the Merchant Ivory film, but my copy of E.M. Forster’s fourth novel has been sitting on the TBR since I picked it up years ago in an OpShop for $7.00, and it was time to read it at last.

I’ve been an Aussie for decades now, but Forster resurrected my residual Englishness with his description of the panorama from the summit of the Purbeck Hills.

If one wanted to show a foreigner England, perhaps the wisest course would be to take him to the final section of the Purbeck Hills, and stand him on their summit, a few miles to the east of Corfe. Then system after system of our island would roll together under his feet. Beneath him is the valley of the Frome, and all the wild lands that come tossing down from Dorchester, black and gold, to mirror their gorse in the expanses of Poole. The valley of the Stour is beyond, unaccountable stream, dirty at Blandford, pure at Wimbourne – the Stour, sliding out of flat fields, to marry the Avon beneath the tower of Christchurch. The valley of the Avon – invisible, but far to the north the trained eye may see Clearbury Ring that guards it, and the imagination may leap beyond that onto Salisbury Plain itself, and beyond the plain to all the glorious downs of central England. Nor is suburbia absent. Bournemouth’s ignoble coast cowers to the right, heralding the pine trees that mean, for all their beauty, red houses, and the Stock Exchange, and extend to the gates of London itself. So tremendous is the city’s trail! But the cliffs of Freshwater it will never touch, and the island will guard the Island’s purity till the end of time. Seen from the west, the Wight is beautiful beyond all laws of beauty. It is as if a fragment of England floated forward to greet the foreigner – chalk of our chalk, turf of our turf, epitome of what will follow. And behind the fragment lie Southampton, hostess to the nations, and Portsmouth, a latent fire, and all around it, with double and treble collisions of tides, swirls the sea. How many villages appear in this view! How many castles! How many churches, vanquished or triumphant! How many ships, railways, and roads! What incredible variety of men working beneath that lucent sky to what final end! The reason fails, like a wave on the Swanage beach; the imagination swells, spreads and deepens, until it becomes geographic and encircles England. (Beginning of Chapter XIX, p.170)

Ah, the power of words! I don’t feel like ‘the foreigner’ Forster says will be impressed: I feel like Forster’s England is my England still.

BEWARE: SPOILERS (Not big book-ruining ones, but you all know the plot anyway, eh?)

Throughout the novel Margaret Schlegel worries about the flux of life. She has lived all her life in Wickham Place but the lease can’t be renewed because a developer wants to replace the old houses with flats. Thoroughly unsettled, she can’t find a new place at all, and she is baffled by the Wilcox family who have several houses but don’t put down roots anywhere. Mr Wilson is a rich businessman, and the first of his residences the reader encounters is Howards End, too small to be a proper estate once its meadows were sold off, but still a charming if idiosyncratic country house. It is here that Margaret’s sister Helen meets up again with the Wilcox family who they’d met while on holiday in Germany. And it is here on this visit that Helen indiscreetly kisses Paul Wilcox and causes a flurry with an impetuous engagement and an equally impetuous breaking off.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2016/10/19/howards-end-by-e-m-forster/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | Oct 18, 2016 |
I can't decide if I like this book. I like the style of writing the language and descriptions I found poetic but the characters themselves I thought horrible for the most part. The Wilcox's are all stuffy, spoilt and snobby. Meg spouts feminist ideals but as a wife is a total doormat. Helen is a hysterical idiot. Tibby is a sort of caricature of a young man without any thought beyond himself.
All of the prose makes the book readable but at the same time it is sometimes so wordy I find myself switching off and then having to reread and missing plot points.

It is a book about a changing nation and changing society. The end of the height of the empire when to be English is to be the best and brightest but before the First World War which changed England's relationship with Europe and society as a whole. Each character seems to be looking for stability when everything is changing around them. Charles wants the security of money Henry wants a return to the comfort of marriage. Meg wants a home to feel secure in. Helen wants to find truth and justice and doesn't comprehend that no one else cares for either. I do wonder if Forster was totally sexist and really thought women were as they are portrayed, or if he was just writing the commonly held views of the time. ( )
  SashaM | Apr 20, 2016 |
I quite liked this. It was an interesting novel of class distinction, dog-in-the-manger attitudes, human strength and frailty, and forgiveness. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
I know this is a classic and it's been on my list for a long, long time. But I just didn't like it at all. :( ( )
  TerriS | Jan 17, 2016 |
Howards End E M Forster
4 Stars

Having previously read A Passage to India and A Room with a View I was not expecting to enjoy this story, however it was well worth reading and kept me interested until the end.

Howards End is a country home that plays a key role in the fates of 3 families the Wilcoxes who own the house, the Schegel sisters Margaret and Helen whom they befriend and the Basts who are tied to both families by a series of coincidences.

There is not a lot I can say without giving the plot away.

Howards End is a novel about family, morality, friendship, love, forgiveness and social divides.

Forster creates memorable characters ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
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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 (43 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
First words
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0486424545, Paperback)

Margaret Schlegel, engaged to the much older, widowed Henry Wilcox, meets her intended the morning after accepting his proposal and realizes that he is a man who has lived without introspection or true self-knowledge. As she contemplates the state of Wilcox's soul, her remedy for what ails him has become one of the most oft-quoted passages in literature:
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.
Like all of Forster's work, Howards End concerns itself with class, nationality, economic status, and how each of these affects personal relationships. It follows the intertwined fortunes of the Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, and the Wilcox family over the course of several years. The Schlegels are intellectuals, devotees of art and literature. The Wilcoxes, on the other hand, can't be bothered with the life of the mind or the heart, leading, instead, outer lives of "telegrams and anger" that foster "such virtues as neatness, decision, and obedience, virtues of the second rank, no doubt, but they have formed our civilization." Helen, after a brief flirtation with one of the Wilcox sons, has developed an antipathy for the family; Margaret, however, forms a brief but intense friendship with Mrs. Wilcox, which is cut short by the older woman's death. When her family discovers a scrap of paper requesting that Henry give their home, Howards End, to Margaret, it precipitates a spiritual crisis among them that will take years to resolve.

Forster's 1910 novel begins as a collection of seemingly unrelated events--Helen's impulsive engagement to Paul Wilcox; a chance meeting between the Schlegel sisters and an impoverished clerk named Leonard Bast at a concert; a casual conversation between the sisters and Henry Wilcox in London one night. But as it moves along, these disparate threads gradually knit into a tightly woven fabric of tragic misunderstandings, impulsive actions, and irreparable consequences, and, eventually, connection. Though set in the early years of the 20th century, Howards End seems even more suited to our own fragmented era of e-mails and anger. For readers living in such an age, the exhortation to "only connect" resonates ever more profoundly. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:58 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

When impetuous Helen Schlegel believes herself to be in love with Paul, the youngest of the Wilcox sons, she sparks off a connection between the two families that leads to collision.

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