Read Howards End (XX sajandi romaan, #19) by E.M. Forster Asta Blumenfeld Online


Inglise kirjaniku ja kriitiku Edward Morgan Forsteri (1879–1970) «Howards End» (1910) on kirjaniku mainekaim romaan. See on vaimukas jutustus, mille sündmused leiavad aset ühes väikeses Inglise külas. Forster kirjeldab kahe naabri vahelisi suhteid, milles põrkuvad pisut boheemlaslik kunsti- ja kirjandusmaailm ning karm realistlik ärimaailm. Ühel poolel on õed Margaret ja HInglise kirjaniku ja kriitiku Edward Morgan Forsteri (1879–1970) «Howards End» (1910) on kirjaniku mainekaim romaan. See on vaimukas jutustus, mille sündmused leiavad aset ühes väikeses Inglise külas. Forster kirjeldab kahe naabri vahelisi suhteid, milles põrkuvad pisut boheemlaslik kunsti- ja kirjandusmaailm ning karm realistlik ärimaailm. Ühel poolel on õed Margaret ja Helen Schlegel ning teisel Wilcoxide perekond. Õhkkonna muudavad pingeliseks nende keerukalt põimunud suhted. Heleni impulsiivne abielu Paul Wilcoxiga, Margareti soojad suhted kadunud mrs. Wilcoxiga, ning kahe perekonna muud kokkupuuted moodustavad raamatu edenedes tervikliku loo. Siin on peategelaste läbimõtlematuid tegusid, kiirelt vahelduvaid tundepuhanguid, vääritimõistmisi ning tegude paratamatuid tagajärgi – teisiti ei saakski, kui omavahel vastandatakse kaine mõistus ja südame hääl....

Title : Howards End (XX sajandi romaan, #19)
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9788498193466
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Howards End (XX sajandi romaan, #19) Reviews

  • Suzanne
    2019-02-05 13:28

    My review is not a review of Howard's End as much as it is a review of the negative reviews.Most of the criticism seems to be that the readers felt that this book had nothing to do with them. They weren't familiar with the places in England referenced in the book. It was too English. It wasn't universal. True on some counts. This book isn't about you. It isn't about now. It isn't directly relevant to today. It won't feed the soul of the egomaniac.It is, however, a beautifully written book with a interesting storyline about a time in history that is important in that way that history is important. The novel is not just SETin a pre-World Wars Europe, it is actually *written* before the wars that changed the western world and its literature forever. Moreover, it is written in the period immediately preceding the wars and the presented tension between England and Germany, not written with the advantage of hindight, adds to the books worthiness. Beyond the tension is a modern view of Germany that predates and so is untainted by the horror of the Holocaust. The Germany of Howard's End is a Germany of philosophers and musicians. Not deranged dictators.Is it important to be able to perfectly picture the setting of every scene in a book? If it is, I'm in trouble. I think I just have pre-painted backdrops for certain things. Bucolic English countryside? Check. 17th century French parlor? Check. Mars circa 3011? Check. My depictions might not be terribly accurate but I'm not going to let that get in the way of a good story. What is more universal than the tension between wealth and poverty? Between lust and restraint? What is more universal than feeling both the pull of family and the desire to push them away? What is more universal than hypocrisy? What is more universal than the struggle of the sexes to find their proper place in relation to one another. This. Book. Has. Everything. Except you. You're not in this book.You already know what its like to live here now. What was it like to live there then? Go ahead and read it for the sex and intrigue but stay for the history and the political discussion. If you don't need to see yourself reflected in everything you read you won't be disappointed.

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-02-16 09:17

    ***New mini-series begins showing on Starz in the U.S. April 2018.***”Discussion keeps a house alive. It cannot stand by bricks and mortar alone.”I’ve fallen in love with the Schlegel sisters twice now in separate decades. I plan to keep falling in love with them for many decades to come. They are vibrant defenders of knowledge, of books, of art, of travel, of feeling life in the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and spleen on a daily basis. Margaret and Helen have a brother, Tibby, poor lad, who is plenty bright while at Oxford, but in the family Schlegel home, he is struggling to keep up with the thoughts expressed that keep expanding past him. Compared to most people, they are rich. Compared to most rich people, they are poor. Their ancestors left them with enough capital to insure that they don’t have to work for the rest of their lives, can travel a bit, can go to the theatre, and can buy books as they need them. They are very attuned to their privileged position and are frequently tempted to reduce their capital by helping those in need. How much money do they really need or, for that matter, really deserve to have? Improbably, the Schlegel sisters become friends with the Wilcoxes, a capitalistic family who have a different idea of money. Is there ever enough? Helen forms a temporary attachment to the younger Wilcox which throws each family into a tizzy as to the suitability of the match. Margaret begins a friendship with the wife, Ruth, that proves so strong that it throws a few wrinkles into the plot regarding Ruth’s family and the inheritance of Howards End. Ruth passes away suddenly. ”How easily she slipped out of life?” Her insignificance in life becomes even more pronounced in her death. E. M. Forster based Howards End on his childhood home, The Rooks Nest, which had been owned by a family named Howard and referred to as the Howard house. Thus, the name Howards End is a not too subtle reference to that family home. I have to believe that it might have represented a lifetime longing he had for those childhood years he spent in that home. In the novel, Howards End goes beyond being an estate and becomes almost a character, a Shangri-La that I began to pine for from the very beginning of the novel. The Sisters have only brief contact with Howards End through the early part of the novel, and my trepidation grows as the plot progresses. Will they ever have a chance to consider the house a home?Rooks NestThe Schlegel’s befriend the Basts, who are certainly in much reduced circumstances compared to their own. By mere chance they are discussing the Basts situation with Henry Wilcox, who promptly puts doubt into their mind about the future validity of the company Leonard is working for. This sets off a chain of events that cause a series of ripples that change the course of several lives. There certainly is a word of caution in meddling in others’ affairs. Sometimes we can think we are helping, only to cause even more problems. Improbably, Margaret and Henry Wilcox form a friendship that becomes romantic. The eldest Wilcox son, Charles, is not happy about the attachment. He and Margaret are so far apart in their views of how the world works or should work that they have difficulty communicating well enough to reach a point of mutual respect. ”They had nothing in common but the English language, and tried by its help to express what neither of them understood.”Margaret’s odd relationship with Henry causes a rift between the sisters that is, frankly, painful to experience. Forster makes sure that I, as a reader, at this point can no longer be objective. The relationship between these siblings is a precious thing and to think of it torn asunder is impossible to accept. They know so well how to entertain each other, to finish each other’s thoughts, and share a general agreement on most things that other people who bump around in the orbit of their reality feel like intruders. So the marriage between Margaret and Henry is unsettling to Helen and me for numerous reasons, but this statement might sum up how we feel pretty well: ”How wide the gulf between Henry as he was and Henry as Helen thought he ought to be.” There is probably someone we could feel is good enough for Margaret, but not just Margaret but Helen and this reader as well (see how invested I am?); for whomever either girl would marry would have to slip seamlessly into the state of euphoria that already exists in the Schlegel household. Henry is not that person. ”He misliked the word ‘interesting’, connoting it with wasted energy and even with morbidity.”It is becoming impossible to think that Howards End will remain nothing more than a shimmering presence in another reality. E. M. Forster, portrait by Roger Fry.The Schlegel sisters are really the best friends any reader could hope for. We would be so enriched by the opportunity to know them and practically giddy to be able to call them friends. It is unnerving that something so strong, like this relationship between sisters, can be so fragile. I haven’t discussed the fascinating nuances of plot that will add further weight to the interactions between the Schlegels, the Wilcoxes, and the Basts, for I want everyone to read this book and marvel at the words and thoughts that Forster tosses in the air for you to catch. I want you all to be as haunted as I have been, to the point that you, too, will have to go back to the place you first met these characters, these ghostly beings, and read and read again turning these phantoms into tangible beings you can almost touch. ”Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its highest. Live in fragments no longer.” If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:

  • Diane
    2019-02-09 10:23

    I loved this book so much that I will never be able to do it justice in this review. I finished it several months ago, but still I think of it often and have recommended it to numerous friends. While reading, I used countless post-its to mark beautiful and thoughtful passages.Howard's End was one of the novels I took on my visit to England earlier this summer. I wanted to read English authors while I was there, and I'm so glad I did. The specialized reading completely enhanced the trip, and it was especially true for this book.*This was also a re-read for me. I first read Howard's End when I was in high school, after I saw the excellent Merchant & Ivory movie version. But that was 1992 and I was just an impressionable teenager. Reading it as an adult with more life experience made me better appreciate how amazing this novel is.If you are unfamiliar with the story, we follow two sisters, Margaret and Helen Schlegel, in London around 1910. (More on the significance of that timing in a moment.) The Schlegels are well-educated, progressive, and love literature, music and art. They hold cultural discussions and like to talk about improving society. When they meet poor, intelligent Leonard Bast at a music concert, they see someone they want to champion. Meanwhile, the Schlegels have also crossed paths with the rich Wilcox family, and entanglements ensue. One of the key threads of the book is who will inherit Howard's End, which was the estate of Ruth Wilcox. Early in the book, Ruth wants to give it to Margaret Schlegel, but Henry Wilcox, Ruth's husband, refuses to oblige her wish. More entanglements ensue.As I read this novel, I appreciated how Forster was trying to recreate modern England with families from three classes: the rich capitalists (Wilcoxes), the liberal middle-class (Schlegels), and the downtrodden workers (Mr. and Mrs. Bast). There were so many good quotes about social class and the state of society, and I found it all fascinating and thought-provoking. Reading a great novel such as Howard's End reminded me of how much literature can enrich a life. It answers questions I didn't know I had asked.On the chance that some Goodreaders don't want the ending spoiled, I'll hide the outcome: (view spoiler)[After Ruth dies, Margaret marries Henry Wilcox, and she eventually inherits the estate. Margaret decides to leave it to her nephew, who is the bastard son of Helen and Leonard Bast. So if there are any English majors working on essays and you want to read into the SYMBOLISM of that, it's like the working class finally got some land/wealth from the aristocrats, and in England, land equals power. (hide spoiler)]This novel was published in 1910. I found special meaning in this because shortly before reading Howard's End I read All Quiet on the Western Front, which is a novel about a German soldier in World War I. Reading Forster's novel and knowing that a real war was going to break out a few years after these characters were created, made their conversations so much more prescient. The Schlegel family was from Germany, so there was a lot of talk about the difference between Germans and the English. Again, prescience. [More below in Favorite Quotes.] If you like beautiful and meaningful English novels, get yourself a copy of Howard's End with all deliberate speed. I will be treasuring my paperback for many years.Sidenote*I had a few reading and trip coincidences with Howard's End that were exciting. At one point in the novel, Leonard Bast was reading a book by John Ruskin. I turned to the back of my edition to read the detailed note about Ruskin. At this point in the England trip my husband and I were in the Lake District, specifically Keswick. The morning after reading that endnote, we were walking near Derwentwater and I noticed a memorial to John Ruskin. I think I cried, "Oh my god! I just read about Ruskin last night!" I realized if I hadn't read that endnote in the novel, I wouldn't have even noticed that memorial. A few days later we were back in London and visited St. Paul's Cathedral. After nearly two weeks in England, we had seen many beautiful churches and abbeys. But I paused for an extra moment outside the entrance to St. Paul's, and not just because it's striking, or because Princess Diana had been married there, but because the characters in Howard's End had also frequented the church, which means Forster had likely been there, too. I love seeing historic places that are mentioned in literature -- it gives them a whole other life and meaning.Favorite Quotes "Do they care about Literature and Art? That is the most important when you come to think of it. Literature and Art. Most important.""Like many others who have lived long in a great capital, she had strong feelings about the various railway termini. They are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return ... And he is a chilly Londoner who does not endow his stations with some personality, and extend to them, however shyly, the emotions of fear and love.""The poetry of that kiss, the wonder of it, the magic that there was in life for hours after it — who can describe that? It is so easy for an Englishman to sneer at these chance collisions of human beings. To the insular cynic and the insular moralist they offer an equal opportunity. It is so easy to talk of 'passing emotion,' and to forget how vivid the emotion was ere it passed. Our impulse to sneer, to forget, is at root a good one. We recognize that emotion is not enough, and that men and women are personalities capable of sustained relations, not mere opportunities for an electrical discharge. Yet we rate the impulse too highly. We do not admit that by collisions of this trivial sort the doors of heaven may be shaken open.""In their own fashion they cared deeply about politics, though not as politicians would have us care; they desired that public life should mirror whatever is good in the life within.""Do you imply that we Germans are stupid, Uncle Ernst?"... /"To my mind. You use the intellect, but you no longer care about it. That I call stupidity ... You only care about the things that you can use, and therefore arrange them in the following order: Money, supremely useful; intellect, rather useful; imagination, of no use at all. No, your Pan-Germanism is no more imaginative than is our Imperialism over here. It is the vice of a vulgar mind to be thrilled by bigness, to think that a thousand square miles are a thousand times more wonderful than one square mile, and that a million square miles are almost the same as heaven. That is not imagination. No, it kills it. When their poets over here try to celebrate bigness they are dead at once, and naturally. Your poets too are dying, your philosophers, your musicians, to whom Europe has listened for two hundred years. Gone. Gone with the little courts that nurtured them ... What? Your universities? Oh yes, you have learned men, who collect more facts than do the learned men of England. They collect facts, and facts, and empires of facts. But which of them will rekindle the light within?" [Personal interjection: Imagine me reading this passage just weeks after finishing the WWI book, and crying OH MY GOD, FORSTER'S A GENIUS.]"It will be generally admitted that Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man." [I wrote this review with the 5th playing in the background. Most delightful.]"To trust people is a luxury in which only the wealthy can indulge; the poor cannot afford it.""Her speeches fluttered away from the young man like birds. If only he could talk like this, he would have caught the world. Oh, to acquire culture! Oh, to pronounce foreign names correctly! Oh, to be well informed, discoursing at ease on every subject that a lady started! But it would take one years. With an hour at lunch and a few shattered hours in the evening, how was it possible to catch up with leisured women who had been reading steadily from childhood?""Life's very difficult, and full of surprises. At all events, I've got as far as that. To be humble and kind, to go straight ahead, to love people rather than pity them, to remember the submerged — well, one can't do all these things at once, worse luck, because they're so contradictory. It's then that proportion comes in — to live by proportion. Don't begin with proportion. Only prigs do that. Let proportion come in as a last resource, when the better things have failed.""The German is always on the lookout for beauty. He may miss it through stupidity, or misinterpret it, but he is always asking beauty to enter his life, and I believe that in the end it will come.""Discussion keeps a house alive. It cannot stand by bricks and mortar alone.""Was Mrs. Wilcox one of the unsatisfactory people — there are many of them — who dangle intimacy and then withdraw it? They evoke our interests and affections, and keep the life of the spirit dawdling round them. Then they withdraw. When physical passion is involved, there is a definite name for such behavior — flirting — and if carried far enough, it is punishable by law. But no law — not even public opinion, even — punishes those who coquette with friendship, though the dull ache that they inflict, the sense of misdirected effort and exhaustion, may be as intolerable.""Can what they call civilization be right, if people mayn't die in the room where they were born?""Their grief, though less poignant than their father's, grew from deeper roots, for a wife may be replaced; a mother never.""Looking back on the past six months, Margaret realized the chaotic nature of our daily life, and its difference from the orderly sequence that has been fabricated by historians. Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere. With infinite effort we nerve ourselves for a crisis that never comes.""To speak against London is no longer fashionable. The Earth as an artistic cult has had its day, and the literature of the near future will probably ignore the country and seek inspiration from the town.""Oh, hang it all! what's the good — I mean, the good of living in a room for ever? There one goes on day after day, same old game, same up and down to town, until you forget there is any other game. You ought to see once in a way what's going on outside, if it's only nothing particular after all.""I believe we shall come to care about people less and less, Helen. The more people one knows, the easier it becomes to replace them. It's one of the curses of London. I quite expect to end my life caring most for a place.""What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives? ... Haven't we all to struggle against life's daily grayness, against pettiness, against mechanical cheerfulness, against suspicious? I struggle by remembering my friends.""The age of property holds bitter moments even for a proprietor. When a move is imminent, furniture becomes ridiculous, and Margaret now lay awake at nights wondering where, where on earth they and all their belongings, would be deposited in September next. Chairs, tables, pictures, books, that had rumbled down to them through the generations, must rumble forward again like a slide of rubbish to which she longed to give the final push and send toppling into the sea.""I was thinking of Father. How could he settle to leave Germany as he did, when he had fought for it as a young man, and all his feelings and friends were Prussian? How could he break loose with patriotism and begin aiming at something else? It would have killed me. When he was nearly forty he could change countries and ideals — and we, at our age, can't change houses. It's humiliating.""If Welcomes hadn't worked and died in England for thousands of years, you and I couldn't sit here without having our throats cut. There would be no trains, no ships to carry us literary people about in, no fields even. Just savagery. No — perhaps not even that. Without their spirit, life might never have moved out of protoplasm. More and more do I refuse to draw my income and sneer at those who guarantee it.""Margaret had often wondered at the disturbance that takes place in the world's waters when Love, who seems so tiny a pebble, slips in. Whom does Love concern beyond the beloved and the lover? Yet his impact deluges a hundred shores.""A younger woman might have resented his masterly ways, but Margaret had too firm a grip of life to make a fuss. She was, in her own way, as masterly. If he was a fortress she was a mountain peak, whom all might tread, but whom the snows made nightly virginal.""By all means subscribe to charities — subscribe to them largely — but don't get carried away by absurd schemes of Social Reform. I see a good deal behind the scenes, and you can take it from me that there is no Social Question — except for a few journalists who try to get a living out of the phrase. There are just rich and poor, as there always have been and always will be.""Love and Truth — their warfare seems eternal. Perhaps the whole visible world rests on it, and if they were one, life itself, like the spirits when Prospero was reconciled to his brother, might vanish into air, into thin air.""Why has not England a great mythology? Our folklore has never advanced beyond daintiness, and the greater melodies about our countryside have all issued through the pipes of Greece. Deep and true as the native imagination can be, it seems to have failed here. It has stopped with the witches and the fairies. It cannot vivify one fraction of a summer field, or give names to half a dozen stars. England still waits for the supreme moment of her literature — for the great poet who shall voice her, or, better still, for the thousand little poets whose voices shall pass into our common talk.""Nothing matters, except one's self-respect and that of one's friends."

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-02-10 13:23

    I've read three of Forster's most well known novels, and yet, I don't feel I know them at all. Even this one, as I read it, was fading from memory. I don't mean to say that his work is forgettable, but with every Forster book I've read - amazing human portraits and elegant, occasionally profound turns of phrase - somehow they all flitter on out of my head. It's as if they were witty clouds: intelligent and incorporeal. Heck, I've even seen movie versions for a couple of them and I still don't recall what the stories are about.Why is that? If I could pinpoint it, well, then I wouldn't have started this review with that first paragraph. Perhaps it is because of Forster's penchant for pleasant diversions. He expounds upon ideas as the action unfolds, and that's wonderful! He gives the reader some very nice theories on human behavior to ponder upon. My problem is that I ponder too frickin' much! A writer like Forster is a danger to me. My imagination likes to fly and it's not very well tethered, so when I read books like Howards End with lines like "And of all means to regeneration remorse is surely the most wasteful. It cuts away healthy tissues with the poisoned. It is a knife that probes far deeper than the evil."...oh boy, off goes my mind in another direction and the next thing I know I've spent 20 minutes on a single page. Ah, but they are wondrous pages to linger upon. Perhaps it is worth the time.

  • Michael
    2019-02-06 15:11

    This novel from 1910 has a lovely Shakespearean flavor of good intentions leading to unintended consequences. Urgent letters between sisters kicks off its engaging plot about the collision between two very different families. The younger sister Helen Schlegel, visiting the rural “Howard’s End” estate of the conservative, wealthy Wilcox family, writes to Margaret that she is love with and wants to marry one of their sons Paul (which grew out of a single impulsive kiss). Margaret urges her aunt to travel there to make sure the Wilcoxes are “their kind of people.” By the time she arrives, Helen has already fallen out with Paul, who is headed for Nigeria to manage the family’s rubber plantation. Later, when the Wilcoxes move near the Schlegels in London, and Margaret tries to make amends by reaching out to the mother Ruth Wilcox. I loved experiencing how their brief friendship blossomed over discussions of the meaning of a home and the value she places in the family homestead of Howard’s End, which her husband Henry considers only in light of its real estate value. Early in the plot, Ruth dies and the discovery by Henry of a handwritten bequeathment of the estate to Margaret leads to the Wilcox family deciding to ignore the request. Already we see how Helen’s impulse toward romance with Paul has the unintended consequence of a special friendship of Margaret with Ruth and a hidden act of generosity. It has also brought Margaret into more contact with the widower Henry and a surprising romance between opposites: she an early feminist who admires literature and arts and supports programs for the poor, and he a pragmatic industrialist who is a true believer in the genetic superiority of his class. The other unintended consequence comes when Helen mistakenly takes the umbrella of Leonard Bast after a theater performance. When he drops by to retrieve it, the sisters kindly draw him out and find they admire his ambitions to imbibe literature and work his way up in class from his lowly position as a bank clerk. His dreamy account of tuning into nature by tramps in the woods a la Ruskin makes them admire him more than bumbling life probably deserves. Margaret presses Henry for advice to help him better his circumstances, which turns out to be disastrous for Leonard and his wife when they follow through with his recommendation. This fate turns Helen even more against the Wilcoxes and makes for a serious wedge in her relationship with Margaret. There is tragedy in the tale, but all key characters make a satisfactory transformation toward becoming better, more empathetic human beings despite the boundaries of class. I liked this even better than “Passage to India”. I absolutely loved Margaret’s outlook and continual efforts to build bridges. Her charm for me equals that of Woolf’s indomitable Mrs. Dalloway. Immediately after the delightful read (by LibriVox audiobook), I had the great pleasure of experiencing Emma Thompson nail the role in the sumptious Merchant Ivory production. Helena Bonham Carter rendered a great adaptation for the flighty, idealistic Helen.

  • Cecily
    2019-01-17 16:16

    "Only connect" is doubtless the most famous line from this book, and typical of Forster's knack for sprinkling unexpectedly modern-sounding phrases into his prose.PLOTThis is the story of the Schlegel sisters: half German Edwardians living in London. They are intellectual and comfortably off, but more bohemian/Bloomsbury than establishment. They encounter the wealthier and more conservative Wilcoxes and the struggling clerk Leonard Bast. Their altruistic attempts at social engineering are sometimes amusing but ultimately tragic.HOWARD"Howard's End" is the name of a house that has great significance in the story; it doesn't refer to the death of someone called Howard. But why no apostrophe?THE FILMMy fondness for the film is heightened by the fact the house used as Howards End is in the village where I grew up (and my mother still lives). It's always fun spotting familiar locations. When I saw it in the cinema, a couple of women behind me were discussing the locations and eventually agreed with each other that it was a particular place in East Anglia. I didn't disabuse them of that (they weren't talking to me), but having a little inside knowledge felt like a special secret.Related trivia: the film stars Helena Bonham-Carter, whose great aunt was a long-time resident of the village and pillar of the community, until she died in her 90s.

  • Laura
    2019-02-09 16:34

    Many critics consider this to be Forster’s masterpiece, and it is hard to imagine a more searing and poignant examination of the social, philosophic, and economic issues facing England during the fascinating window between Queen Victoria and World War I. Forster uses three families—the intellectual and impractical Schlegels, the materialistic and empire-building Wilcoxes (who drove through the bucolic Shropshire countryside and “spoke of Tariff Reform”), and the working class Basts—to explore the central question: “Who will inherit England?” The three families form unlikely and problematic friendships, but when inter-marriage and inter-breeding occur, things really get interesting. Readable, fascinating, and supremely eloquent, Howard’s End explores the tragedies that result from failures to “connect”, both among groups of people and within individual characters, yet in the end offers hope and redemption.

  • Aubrey
    2019-02-02 15:38

    Reading this at the time I did is an event I can only describe as 'lucky', seeing as how both my reasoning and the circumstances hardly heralded how much I would love this work. The facts: Carson's The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos left me with a craving for something white and male and English, a rare beast these days that has made this the seventh work out of 45 read this year that fits that all too often ubiquitous combination of characteristics. I turned to the stacks, thinking on the days of Maugham and James and pondering the latter's The Ambassadors as the likely candidate before remembrance of the author's hate for feminists dampened my mood. Then I remembered Forster and his A Room with a View, filmed but never read, and pulled out my combined edition that despite never having wished to read Howards End I had never seen fit to replace. I flipped to the front and lo! the cover had lied, and HE proceeded ARwaV. After muddling through the Listopia lists left me scoffing yet intrigued by HE's place on 'Best Feminist Books' (ha!), I began to read.This is not Middlemarch, or Shirley, or some flavor of androgynous voice, but of the same strain of warm insight that paints a picture of privilege without pretense. There is acknowledgement of classism, anti-intellectualism, Imperialism, even the overarching sexism that initially drew me on to testing these waters, and yet here are humans that I feel for utterly. Forster must have read his Hugo to have such a taste for daydreaming digressions on Place and Time and the usual Big Ideas, but not too much, else the politickings would have been more in evidence in both composition and biography. He also made a wonderful effort to portray the Female Voice, something that the French master for all his overt empathy never quite achieved.Where Hugo rhapsodizes on war and justice, Forster contemplates domesticity and the everyday, less admirable in his lack of stridency, more appreciated for his keen insight into what powers these lives of ours when the climax is through and we're left to ride out the rest. I've stolen the phrase "soap opera with brains" from an unfortunately forgotten individual for a review before and I'll steal it again, for a world in which we denigrate our humble to's and fro's as not fit for "quality" entertainment is a sad world indeed. As often as I speak of social justice, I would go mad if I were to live in the mindset forevermore, the strain of dwelling on idealism too long in this reality of ours being what it is. Sometimes, I must rest my hat on the guarantee that I'll be coming back to it for the rest of my life, and go off to a place where the need for equality is recognized without forbearing the sentiment of simple pleasures.Although Forster has his moments of naive whimsy that forbid me from declaring this a favorite, I will admit to loving this book, balancing as it does action with thought, practicality with philosophy, efficiency with insight. Best of all, letting each side appeal to the other with the necessary determination to see the attraction through without sudden windfall or other poor excuses of deus ex machina. Also, scenes of women ferociously ripping apart double-standards of gender, mental health, and love, setting forth to develop their own sense of things and given the capability to achieve their vision? Yes please.And now, off to the long intended A Room with a View!

  • Duane
    2019-02-11 10:19

    The Schlegel sisters seemed like characters plucked straight out of a Jane Austen book, or books. Some combination of Emma Woodhouse (Emma) and the Dashwood sisters (Sense and Sensibility). But the story and the style are entirely Forster's. The focus of the story is the social class differences in English society. The setting is Edwardian Era England, sandwiched tightly between the end of the Victorian Era and the beginning of World War I. Most of Forster's novels were published in this 1st decade of the century. I have read them all and what strikes me is their easiness to read, and how different each one is to the other. This one, Howard's End, is considered his masterpiece, and who am I to disagree. 4.5 stars.

  • Gabrielle
    2019-01-31 11:26

    “Howards End” is E.M. Forster’s statement on classism, and because he is E.M. Forster, it is the most elegant and romantic comment on the struggle of classes that you will ever read. It begins with a rich, old money family getting deeply upset by the idea of their youngest son getting entangled with a middle-class, bohemian half-German young woman…The Schlegel sisters are from a comfortable but middle-class family, that cares about literature and art more than they do about money and status. They meet and befriend the Wilcoxes, a wealthy family who care very much about appearances, and also form a friendship with Leonard Bast, a clerk with financial and personal struggles. These friendships will transform their existences, as Mrs. Wilcox develops a deep friendship for the older sister, Margaret, and decides on her deathbed to leave her the house of Howards End.The social entanglements of this story are fascinating, the dialogues and characterization very strong. Having read and loved “A Room with a View”, I had an idea of what I was getting into with “Howards End”, but this novel is much more mature: the social and political commentary is much more pointed and focused. The same element of proto-feminism that made Lucy Honeychurch the great heroine she was is taken one step further with Margaret Schlegel: she is older than Lucy at the begining of the story, a spinster who lives with her younger siblings and runs the house their father left them. She is strong-willed, opinionated and outspoken from the start; I for one was a bit surprised at Mr. Wilcox’s interest in her, she simply didn’t seem like the kind of person he’d be attracted to – especially when she is pushed to the point of calling him on his bullshit!I grew up in a family very much like the Schlegel: intellectual, middle-class, obsessed with books, art, culture, music, philosophy, very disdainful of the gaudy excesses of richer people. My family is more likely to judge you for not knowing who Albert Camus is than to form an opinion of you based on your outfit. In my decade-long career as an executive administrative assistant, I have seen the other side of the looking glass: suits with vacuous trophy-wives who had probably never opened a book and who started at my Payless Shoe Source heels the way I look at moldy cheese… It’s hard not to feel like we live on completely different planets...When I was young, I had a strong prejudice against the rich, I assumed that they were all cold and selfish. Of course, the world is a little more complicated than that, and many wealthy people are absolutely decent and generous human beings: but they do take some things for granted that are simply unrealistic for most. Their money liberates the from some stresses less wealthy people will struggle with their entire lives, and Forster does a wonderful job of painting a picture of that reality for his readers.When Mrs. Wilcox realizes that Margaret needs a new home because the lease on her family house will be up soon, she is devastated because it never occurred to her before that this sort of thing can happen to “real people”. Mr. Wilcox can only see the potential repercussion of his acquaintance with the Basts on himself and his reputation, and is blind to how his actions might affect them. This lack of empathy made me cringe. Mrs. Wilcox’ spontaneous gesture of kindness contrasted with the senseless selfishness of her family (they won’t give the house away but they also won’t live in it!) shows the varying shades of moral grayness one can find in human nature.This book is a really interesting study of class, things we take for granted and the role money plays in our vision of the world. It made me want to push “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” to the top of my “to-read” pile to get a more political perspective on the subject, as both books take place in the first decade of the 20th century. The characters see classes as a “sort” of people, and would probably find the very word “class” distasteful, but the very real distance they insist on putting between themselves and others – based on their arbitrary standards of wealth and education and how this distance can improve or worsen some people’s living conditions is touching and thought-provoking.This is a fantastic book, and the gorgeous Merchant-Ivory adaptation is well-worth watching. I enjoyed both immensely and recommend them to all fans of British literature.

  • Barry Pierce
    2019-02-11 10:24

    I started out liking this. I was even thinking this was going to be my first four-star novel of the year. However, as Howards End progressed I found myself caring less and less about what was going on. By the time I was 50% of the way through I was just waiting for it to finish. I felt the exact same way about Where Angels Fear to Tread. Maybe it's Forster's prose? I don't know. I think Forster and I are going to have a turbulent relationship.

  • Apatt
    2019-01-27 08:17

    I vaguely remember seeing the film adaptation of Howards (no apostrophe-s!) End decades ago. I don’t remember much about the plot, I just vaguely (mis)remembered it as a story of some mad old biddy giving a house to Emma Thompson. I suppose if you must give away a house to someone Emma Thompson is not a bad choice, she is pretty cool. Anyway, after recently readingA Room with a View andThe Machine Stops I have added E.M. Forster to my much coveted list of favorite classic authors (he missed my sci-fi list by a hair, having written only one novella, albeit an excellent one).The nice lady who gives away the eponymous Howards End house is not an old biddy at all. She is roughly the same age as myself and is actually one of the least annoying characters in the book so I will retract both “old” and “biddy”. She is in poor health though and after spending some time with the kindly, friendly, clever and generally awesome Margaret Schlegel decided to write a note in pencil expressing her wish to give the house to her friend upon her death. This sounds like a ridiculous premise for a novel but Forster knew very well such a note would not be legally binding and the book is not about some kind of legal battle for the house, besides Margaret has no idea of the brief existence of the note until almost the end of the book.What Howards End is really about (unless I am very much mistaken) is social classes and their perception and relation to each other. The central characters represent the intellectual, the materialistic, and the poor. Their interactions in this book are on the whole not a happy one even though Margaret marries the stuffy businessman Henry Wilcox (whose wife – who is not an old biddy –snuffs it fairly early in the book). The book is not particularly densely plotted and any further description of the storyline seems like spoiler to me. Certainly it is full of themes and symbolisms about social classes, culture vs practicality etc. but as a reader I am more interested in the readability of it, the themes always come after the story for me. I find Howards End to be immensely readable and never drag at any time even though nothing much seems to happen in it; quite a triumphant achievement by Forster I think.I enjoy reading Forster’s observations of different kinds of people, their “lights and shades” as he puts it. The awkward romance between the two main characters who have nothing in common is peculiarly charming, especially when Henry, a man devoid of passion, tries to express touchy feely sentiments. The prose is characteristically top notch. I like Margaret’s notion of taming the stiff upper lipped Henry:“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 monks, half beasts, unconnected arches that have never joined into a man.”It can’t be easy constructing rainbow bridges. I don’t have a lot more to say about Howards End really because it is all about the characters, even the titular house is a character of sorts. Once you get to know these characters, their idiosyncrasies become quite absorbing. Anyway, I have no problem recommending this book, I enjoyed it from beginning to end. If you like characters study novels set in the Edwardian era this one is for you.______________________NotesAudiobook: I listened to the free Librivox edition, beautifully read (as always) by Elizabeth Klett, who is one of the very best readers on there. Thank you very much!I feel like I ought to rate it at 4 stars because I'm always throwing 5 stars about, but I can't think what to deduct the one star for.

  • Edward
    2019-02-02 10:25

    IntroductionSuggestions for Further ReadingA Note on the Text--Howards EndExplanatory Notes

  • C.
    2019-02-12 12:11

    I'm afraid I'm going to end up saying most of exactly the same things as I said about A Passage to India, but I guess this one gets an extra star? I'm not sure if that's completely fair, but I rather think I might be mellowing in my old age - I'm starting to give stars for enjoyment. I hear that's what one ages.So firstly, I was a little bit surprised to find myself liking this book at all, because Forster is rather snotty and British, and he does have a tendency to wax lyrical about the meaning of life and such in a way that, if I stopped to think about it, I'm sure I would find rather pretentious - though I found this much more grating in A Passage to India. What he is, however, exceptionally good at, and I wish he'd stick with it a bit more, is the wonderful observation of small things: of character, of setting, of habit.This young man had been 'had' in the past - badly, perhaps overwhelmingly - and now most of his energies went in defending himself against the unknown. But this afternoon - perhaps on account of music - he perceived that one must slack off occasionally, or what was the good of being alive? Wickham Place, though a risk, was as safe as most things, and he would risk it.Away she hurried, not beautiful, not supremely brilliant, but filled with something that took the place of both qualities - something best described as a profound vivacity, a continual and sincere response to all that she encountered in her path through life.Her thought drew being from the obscure borderland. She could not explain in so many words, but she felt that those who prepare for all the emergencies of life beforehand may equip themselves at the expense of joy.How marvellous! Perfection itself, that quote.But the real reason, and the root of all reason, that I possess any fondness for Forster at all, is that he reminds me of Virginia Woolf. He's not as good, because Woolf sounds like herself all the time and Forster does only some of the time. But he does try. Only connect! Those words, and that sentiment, could have come from the mind of the master herself. And since I see Elizabeth doesn't seem to have reviewed this book, I suppose I'm obliged to mention To the Lighthouse. Here's the key:Mrs Wilcox = Mrs RamsayHowards End = the house (can't remember if it had a name)Those two are the key, though to be honest the direct correspondence finishes with Mrs Wilcox/Ramsay. Howards End overlaps a little with Wickham Place, and to an extent with all houses or homes or dwellings, which is one of the themes they both deal with rather beautifully. In fact, there's a passage about the demise of the Wickham place which is so incredibly reminiscent of the passage about the decay of the house in To the Lighthouse that I can't help but wonder if one was directly modelled on the other.(Actually, the other thing Howards End [the house itself, not the book:] reminded me of is the cherry orchard in Chekhov's play of the same name. Similar symbolic value - times changing, &c., and of similar importance in the characters' lives.)And of course Woolf and Forster are writing about the same themes, but I couldn't help feeling a bit cynical about Forster dealing with the struggle of women to gain independence, mentally, financially, socially, emotionally, because, I think though I'm not sure, I couldn't help but wonder the whole time if he was actually writing about homosexuality. I did think he did a better job of representing women here than he did of representing Indians in A Passage to India, because a fair bit of imperialism still managed to get through in that. Trouble is, he's not exactly subtle, is he? When Margaret says "She knew that Henry was not so much confessing his soul as pointing out the gulf between the male soul and the female" and "As a handsome young man, [the butler:] was faintly attractive to her as a woman... yet the skies would have fallen had she mentioned it to Henry" isn't it a bit much? I loved the slow dawning realisation I got as I realised that To the Lighthouse was far more than just a pretty bit of prose. In this one's face is rather rubbed in the stuff.Though Forster does write about class, which I know Woolf has been criticised for not paying enough attention to - though personally I think those criticisms may be rather silly - and he does, I believe, a good job of it.Money pads the edges of things... God help those who have none. You and I and the Wilcoxes stand upon money as upon islands. It is so firm beneath our feet that we forget its very existence.And so it continues, rather brilliantly.This did go on, I thought, a bit too long, and the end was mired in airy-fairy sentimentality, but despite everything I am still in love with it. Forster always surprises me like that.

  • Helene Jeppesen
    2019-01-17 11:32

    While this book has an interesting plot and deals with various themes, it wasn't executed as well as I would've hoped. It basically deals with two sisters, Helen and Margaret, and their sister dynamics and family dynamics. However, this is also a story of differences between the middle class and the poor, love, death, hope and revenge. As you can see, the plot contains multiple strong elements, but what had me puzzled was the fact that Forster centers everything around the estate called Howards End. To me, it seemed like Forster tried to make Howards End fit into the story - in other words, the role of Howards End seemed forced. During this story, I experienced quite a wave of feelings. At times, I was intrigued with the sisters and their destiny, at other times I was bored when Forster became too reflective. He lost me in his observations and long passages of descriptions, and I couldn't be bothered with paying too much attention. After having finished the book, I'm not sure why Forster decided to write about this many elements. In my eyes, it all became too jumbled, and when it comes down to it, it's basically just a story about two sisters and them growing up. I felt like Forster was doing too much with this story; however, I was entertained for most of it, and I did appreciate reading about the development and relationship between the two sisters (with or without all of the sub-themes).

  • Fiona MacDonald
    2019-02-11 14:19

    I've already mentioned my thoughts on this book, and sadly, they haven't changed or improved. Im just relieved it's all over. I shall endeavour next to read 'Where Angels Fear to Tread' and then I can compare my experiences with both books and hopefully have a positive one the second time.

  • Eric
    2019-02-02 11:12

    My first Forster; and despite half-consciously interpolating Woolf-like reveries for Mrs. Wilcox—she’s like Mrs. Dalloway but described from a great distance—I enjoyed it very much. Forster’s structure is a perfect fusion of the dramatic and the essayistic; his style maintains a careful balance of lyricism and exposition; and his characters are at once individuals and types. It’s easy to see why Forster is, or was, such a critical darling, especially if that critic be the grave, pouchy-eyed Lionel Trilling, sighing out lungfuls of cigarette smoke while pondering the secularization of spirituality, and Who Shall Inherit the West? I’m one of those readers who lose sight of the social novel—the excavation of people from history can seem more urgent—and it is always a pleasure to be reminded by the great novelists of their special domain of insight—to be shown how we wear our ideals, how our manners signal spiritual allegiances.

  • Bloodorange
    2019-01-18 13:37

    My third Forster (after Where Angels Fear to Tread and A Passage to India) and the first one I truly loved. Unlike the fairytale-ish, lighter (more philosophy, less sociology) A Room with a View which I chased it down with, it's definitely more realistic, although the unbelievably modern ending (matriarchy, no less) was stunning. What I loved most was the narrative devoted to class and money; the rich cultured girls of Forster's fiction (at least one of them) know they are cultured only because they are rich, and that their relative ease of living allows them to find the mental energy needed to appreciate the arts, and to think.... all our thoughts are the thoughts of six-hundred-pounders, and all our speeches; and because we don't want to steal umbrellas ourselves, we forget that below the sea people do want to steal them, and do steal them sometimes......independent thoughts are in nine cases out of ten the result of independent means......Tell me; oh yes; did you say money is the warp of the world?" "Yes." "Then what's the woof?" "Very much what one chooses," said Margaret.The other great value of the book - save for the stunnigly sensitive observation and writing - is its feminism. Forster discusses marriage and the changing dynamics of relations between women and men:The room suggested men, and Margaret, keen to derive the modern capitalist from the warriors and hunters of the past, saw it as an ancient guesthall, where the lord sat at meat among his thanes. ......the words were underlined, as is necessary when dealing with women...Needless to say - see my earlier remark on the ending - Forster represents this attitude to women as a thing of the past.

  • Glenn Sumi
    2019-02-06 15:08

    Howards End is a chatty, witty, philosophical novel about the state of England in the years leading up to the first world war.There’s a sharp sense of place (Howards End, the estate, was modelled after Forster’s childhood home), and by focusing on three separate families, you certainly understand the social hierarchy of Edwardian England. The book’s famous epigraph (“Only connect...”) refers to the need for humans to empathize with others, cutting across boundaries of class, culture, geography and the sins of the past. This theme comes through vividly. The characters often feel a little thin, however, and the plot slightly contrived. Forster’s omniscient narrator can be wonderfully casual, as in the relaxed, conversational opening: “One may as well begin with Helen’s letters to her sister.”But we never get too deep into anyone’s consciousness, so occasionally characters’ actions seem perplexing. Sometimes you can feel Forster overworking his symbols, not letting them emerge organically. A few passages are so densely poetic that they require several readings to grasp. And the climax – in which all three families’ fates intersect irrevocably – seems forced.But you get the sense throughout that Forster is trying to root out deep human truths and question the basis of charity, forgiveness, duty and mercy. Noble goals. And there are passages of great beauty and intelligence.Despite its period setting, the themes still feel relevant. In light of the recent economic crisis, and things like the Occupy movement, Forster's examination of the haves and the have-nots hits home powerfully.

  • Jasmine
    2019-02-02 08:22

    3.5 stars. I like the symbolism in E.M. Forster’s novel ‘Howards End’. Houses seem to symbolize the different periods: Howards End, described as “the old and little red brick” which represents the old rural England in contrast to new flats in London “expensive – with cavernous entrance halls, full of concierges and palms” which are a sign of modern times to come. E.M. Forster portrayed skillfully the three main families and their houses, symbolizing three different social classes at the beginning of the 20th century and the social and economic changes they were facing: the idealistic and literary upper class Schlegels, the opportunistic and materialistic Wilcoxes and the deprived lower middle-class Basts. “Only connect” was Margaret Schlegel’s motto - unfortunately, I was not able to connect either to her family or to the Wilcoxes (or the Basts). I am aware that this is a well-written novel from one of the great English novelists, but throughout the book I did not get engaged enough with the story or the characters. Halfway through the book, I set it aside and started reading Charles Dickens ‘Great Expectations’. And there it was, this feeling I missed while reading E.M. Forster’s story – the feeling to immerse into a story, as to be surrounded by the smell, dirt and chaos of mid 19th century London. I resumed the reading of ‘Howards End’ after this experience and, fortunately, the second part of the book was more engaging. I also would like to point out that all through the book there were very remarkable quotes worth reading. I would have loved to give the novel four stars and I regret that the book was not captivating enough for me. Nevertheless, I will read another E.M. Forster, most probably ‘Maurice’, which was published posthumously and which is said to be Forster’s most sincere novel.Quotes by E.M. Forster I liked: “Discussions keep a house alive. It cannot stand by bricks and mortar alone”, “It is those that cannot connect who hasten to cast the first stone”, “Death destroys a man, but the idea of death saves him”.

  • Happyreader
    2019-02-11 16:14

    While "only connect . . ." is the book's epigraph, this book also makes me think of the Dalai Lama's statement that "kindness without wisdom is cruelty." The Wilcox family may be positioned as the book's villians but both Schlegel women cause their share of harm too and only faintly seem to make their own connections.

  • Helle
    2019-01-27 08:25

    Rereading this old favourite reminded me of my university days back in the 90s when I first discovered E. M. Forster and fell completely in love with his works. I devoured several of his books at the time as well as the wonderful Merchant-Ivory (and other) film adaptations of his best novels. This time round it was a different reading experience, as it always is when you read something many years later; the book is the same, but you’ve changed (and have read many more books). I still appreciate his Edwardian humanism and the gentle, sympathetic temper which seems to pervade the novel, but it didn’t blow me away this time as it did twenty years ago. This time round, I also noted his sometimes antiquated (but, given the times, perhaps inevitable) view of women. And yet, at other times his view of women is surprisingly modern, but then he was a marginal member of the Bloomsbury group, whose female beacon was Virginia Woolf.He has been criticized for his mysticism or leanings towards the metaphysical, which is even more pronounced in A Passage to India, and this is one aspect I used to love but have somehow grown out of. What I do still appreciate, and which is one of the reasons why I love this period in English literary history, are the concepts and images developed, which belong to this pre-World War I period: motoring (!) into the country, the personality of old houses, the peace of the country (as opposed to the flux of London, indeed of modern life, making itself increasingly visible beyond nearby hills), truth, art, literature; and specifically to Forster: the connection between people of different classes and mentalities, between the mind and the body – or perhaps more the desire to try to connect.I felt the presence of other works this time round as well, one after the publication of Howards End (by Virginia Woolf) and one before (by Jane Austen): Mrs. Wilcox drifts through life much like Mrs. Dalloway drifts through London, physically as well as emotionally. Or maybe I see the resemblance because both characters were played by Vanessa Redgrave in the film adaptations. As to the reference to Austen (whom Forster loved), there are the two sisters in Howards End, Helen and Margaret/Meg Schlegel, who are respectively wild/temperamental and sensible/mature – much like two other sisters, Marianne and Eleanor Dashwood. Interestingly, Emma Thompson played both Margaret Schlegel and Eleanor Dashwood in the film versions. The symmetry of this seems amazing but completely right. Helen was supposedly also partly inspired by Woolf as a child. As an adult, Woolf, too, was a huge Austen fan. But of course I may just have taken Forster’s epigram to the novel ‘Only connect’ too literally and connected these authors’ works because I love them. (Although Woolf reminds us that all works of literature stand on the shoulders of the literature that came before).

  • Trish
    2019-02-04 14:09

    Well, this took me long enough to finish! I swear, I always become the laziest, most sluggish reader the second classes start up. I read about one book every quarter, it's pathetic. But, tardiness aside, I've heard about this book for ages and I'm so glad I finally know what all the hullabaloo's about. It's a good book, but not my favorite Forster. I daresay, I think A Room With a View is holistically better. But I fully appreciate the sentiment, dramatics, and philosophy expressed in Howards End. It's a great novel, but I just wish it focused less on society, classes, and culture and more on revealing the intimate details of the relationships between the characters. Every time two characters got married or quarreled or made a connection with each other, the moment was there and then gone so quickly. Relationships were established in a heartbeat and I feel like Forster didn't take the time to develop or sell those intimate bonds between them. I guess my point, is that I wish the novel was at least 200 pages longer so I can know absolutely everything about anything that happened. In short, I really liked it, but it left me longing for more.

  • Alex
    2019-02-11 11:27

    There are a million books about the inner lives of English people. Here is one of I can't begin to express how much it bothers me that there's no apostrophe in Howards.

  • Gemma
    2019-02-15 08:32

    Quite often I found myself wishing someone else had written this novel! The story is fabulous. I was completely riveted by the story. What I didn’t like were Forster’s constant philosophical interjections which for the most part were platitudes dressed up in a whimsical fairy language. Here’s an example: “As a prisoner looks up and sees stars beckoning, so she, from the turmoil and horror of those days, caught glimpses of the diviner wheels.” On every single page he breaks into the narrative to offer up this kind of mumbo jumbo. I preferred A Room with a View which was playful without ever succumbing to this kind of pretentiousness.

  • Joe
    2019-01-22 14:20

    "I'm afraid that in nine cases out of ten Nature pulls one way and human nature another." Young and impressionable at the age of 18, I fell in love with an older man who introduced me to E.M. Forster. Being a busy college student, I never gave myself the time to read his works, but instead watched every movie version. Howards End was my favorite.Ten years later, I finally read the book. And it stirred in me the kind of visceral response that only true art can do. This is more than a novel about families and social classes and justice - this is a novel that transcends the time period in which it was written and can be summarized in its famous (and possibly soon-to-be-cliched) line: "Only connect." Witty, charming, and profound - often in one paragraph - Howards End reveals its characters deep-rooted fears and failings without being contemptuous or ironic. This is a novel written with compassion and Forster's love for his characters is illuminated on every page, even as the novel tumbles toward its inevitable, tragic conclusion. My relationship didn't last, of course, but if our paths had never crossed, would I have found this book? Who knows. But thank God I did.

  • Lobstergirl
    2019-01-25 16:27

    There's always something in Forster's work that prevents me from completely loving it. It's clever and satisfying. Maybe it's that the divisions between those who are artistic and culturally appreciative (those with soul) and those who are crass, commercial, grasping, too much of the machine age (those who lack soul) are drawn a little too crudely. Or maybe it's because I know I'm supposed to side with the artistic people, but their conversations are so silly and verging on nonsensical. I suppose I'm missing the point, which is that Margaret's motto "only connect", that we need to connect the prose and the passion within us, means Forster isn't taking sides at all. Hmm. At any rate, this is a fine meditation on class, gender, and private property. Forster creates a fairly wonderful character in Margaret, who, lacking her sister's beauty, has had to make compromises, and is sturdier for it, and more able to navigate life's obstacles.

  • Kenchiin
    2019-01-21 14:20

    I'd love to write one of those reviews with important quotes from the book, but since I couldn't decide which would be better I will just let my rating speak for itself.

  • El
    2019-01-20 15:36

    At this point in my reading life, I have read two other E.M. Forster novels - A Passage to India and A Room with a View. I enjoyed both of them, thought they were exceptionally well-written with wonderfully rich descriptions.I liked Howards End a bit less.It's a decent story, though not unusual. Three different families - a wealthy, old-money family, the Wilcoxes; an idealistic German family that values culture and experience over material gain, the Schlegels; and then there's Mr. Bast, a scrappy, poor bank clerk - and their interactions with each other and their peer groups.It's not that it's a bad book, because it certainly isn't. I like the Schlegels, the German sisters, because they have some gumption and are relatively interesting. The Wilcoxes are made of money, and that can only read interesting for a moment. It's really about the treatment Forster gives the issue of class and identity that makes this an overall interesting read, but it still wound up feeling warm by the end.I wanted to enjoy this book as much as the other two Forsters I read, but it just didn't come together for me at the end of the day.

  • Tatiana
    2019-02-17 09:22

    "Howard's End" strangely reminded me of several Jane Austen's books. Same themes of blending of classes ("Emma"), sisterly love ("Sense and Sensibility"), and witty humor. However this book was not as compelling as any of Austen's. As much as liked this complex story of relationships between three families belonging to three different classes of pre-war England; as much as I enjoyed the exploration of turn-of-the-century issues of women's equality, great disparity between rich and poor, social immobility, etc.; as much as I appreciated Forster's impeccable command of language, just like with his other novels, I failed to truly connect with his characters and the story. Some characters were very hard to understand (Ruth Wilcox, for example - what is so special about her apathy and inertia?), the significance of Howard's End evaded me, and mainly, I wasn't sure what was the main point of this book - to emphasize importance of mutual understanding between people of all classes, ages and world views? I am not sure...I think there were simply too many ideas crammed into one book, and thus it lacked a major theme what would pull the story together and make it more compelling.