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Howards End by E. M. Forster

Howards End (1910)

by E. M. Forster, E. M. Forster (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,00299822 (3.99)433
  1. 20
    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)

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» See also 433 mentions

English (96)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
What is it about Howard's End? This small house, a farm imperfectly gentrified sits at the center of this Edwardian novel. The artistic and spirited Schlegels, the staid Wilcoxes and in their own sad way, the miserable Basts come together to make up an unusual story that dissects the social structure of England at the time. This is the world smashed by World War I, certain people held head and foot above the waves of poverty on islands of money watching others drown.

The Wilcoxes don't think about this, the Basts would like nothing better than to build an island of their own. The Schlegel siblings, Margaret, Helen and Tibby and consider this truth and respond to it in their own way.

The plot involves love affairs, clandestine and imagined, surprising friendships, a marriage and the privilege wealth confers. The book is hard to grasp, especially as I've waited so long to comment on it, but there's something about the era that grabs me. Merchant and Ivory have much to answer for. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Nothing too remarkable. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Dec 18, 2018 |
This was a really deep book, full of insight and theories on the world, society and people as individuals. Its quite a wordy book, but it was surprisingly captivating and wasn't a chore to read or hard to get into. I found once I channelled into the voice of the writing it all flowed very well, and it all made sense. A lot of the concepts and ideas Forster had about property and class are still kind of relevant. I particularly liked the fact, especially given when it was written and the fact that Forster was man, that women aren't patronised to the scale I have come to expect from similar books (though it isn't totally free of don't-worry-your-pretty-little-head-isms). I loved that the book is based around a range of different female characters with different roles in society, with different ideas and approaches to life, women that are not ridiculed or pushed to the side. At the time it was written, women still hadn't been given the vote and weren't really seen as having much of a place in social debate or whatever, but Forster gives some of his female characters agreeable ideals and strong convictions. I was also really pleased with the way he approaches a part of the story which, for the time, was a very scandalous issue, without laying blame or demonising anyone by taking the mainstream point of view of the time. It was a wonderful book and I'll definitely be looking to read more of his work. ( )
2 vote SadieBabie | Jun 23, 2018 |
By far my most personal Forster. I felt written about. I was in terror through the second half of the story at what he was doing. But he was doing pretty truly, and he came through at the end with optimism not punishment.

This is amazing writing about women. To have a women’s friendship told so well and be the motor of the plot – in the first half, and one might argue in the whole.

I hovered between the sisters in what I thought about events and whose philosophy to live by at a given moment. They are not two types like the Sense and Sensibility sisters, but are nicely contrasted and close/conflicting.

Then, Mrs Wilcox (the first). Miss Avery.

Sisterhood wins in this one. There’s a moment of women’s rebellion and comradeship as exciting as Thelma and Louise, although in an English garden against stuffy gentlemen. It has the escapist clause of Maurice, arguably more rationally stated (hey, I don’t need rationality. But Forster does).

This is so much about ‘the sexes’; and written in 1910. It’s a wonder it is so recognisable. At the price of being cruel to its men, except for one. Unless you can stomach Mr Wilcox better than I can – I’m with sister Helen, not sister Meg, there.

It talks of Imperialists a lot, in at least a faintly critical spirit; there is a running argument about the English Imperialist. Meanwhile, I don’t quite know what Forster understood by ‘cosmopolitan’ at this point in time, but it isn’t good.

His style is strange. This time I liked it, complete with philosophising and foreshadowing; I thought he almost never put a foot wrong, although his moves are his own. It has a slight non-realist symbolism of structure, which I enjoy (the disapproving call this too much coincidence).

I thought it a near-perfect novel. ( )
  Jakujin | May 27, 2018 |
[Howard's End] seems a study of the various classes and mind sets of England, the rich and poor, the artistic and the businessman. It's not clear in the end whether they've come to any better understanding of each other. ( )
1 vote snash | Apr 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
"The season's great novel"
added by GYKM | editDaily Mail
"A fine novel"
added by GYKM | editGraphic
"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
Forster, E. M.Authormain 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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"Only Connect . . ."
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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.
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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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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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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An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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