Sarah R. (booktopia) reviewed Howards End (Barnes Noble Classics Series) (BN Classics Trade Paper) on
The personal and political intertwine in Forster's novel about two sisters of liberal and artistic temperament whose lives collide with those of a status-driven father and son. This exploration of class and money illuminated the changes taking place in Edwardian England.
-This book is from the Barnes & Noble Classics series.-
"Only Connect," Forster's key aphorism, informs this novel about an English country house, Howards End, and its influence on the lives of the wealthy and materialistic Wilcoxes; the cultured, idealistic Schlegel sisters; and the poor bank clerk Leonard Bast. Bringing together people from different classes and nations by way of sympathetic insight and understanding, Howards End eloquently addresses the question "Who shall inherit England?"
William W. (walkington) reviewed Howards End (Barnes Noble Classics Series) (BN Classics Trade Paper) on
E.M. Forster's Howard's End is absolutely one of the best books I have ever read. It contrasts beautifully the slower-paced, home and land loving, stop and smell the roses, personality, which wants, at its most basic level, to "only connect," and the up-and coming-man making a name for himself in financial circles. Sentimentality be damned--money is the most important thing in the world, and the more you can get your hands on, the better person you are, at least Henry Wilcoxe thinks so. Through a series of tragedies, that end up striking pretty close to Henry's nearest and dearest, he gradually, as like a child, begins to relearn what human interaction is all about--only connecting, finally, near the end, with the beauty, honor, love and devotion from those around. This is truly a story of how a man who has won the world, nearly loses his soul in the process. Beautiful writing throughout. Lyrical prose that melts off your mental tongue as you hear the characters speak. cannot praise it enough. This just my reading copy--I keep a leather bound "show" copy on my bedside table because sometimes I just want to read a few lines before I sleep.
The characters of the Wilcox and Schlegel family members stay with you long after the book is back on the shelf. The title comes from Mrs Wilcox's family home, Howards End. The contrast is between free-thinking, imaginative intellectuals and business oriented, financially secure capitalists. The conflicts are between the classes, and between the sexes. E. M. Forster creates moments of humor and tragedy, but overall I consider this story his masterpiece. It deserves more than one read.
At the turn of the twentieth century, three families meet by chance and their lives become hopelessly intertwined. Each family represents a gradation of English middle class: the rich capitalists, the intellectual bourgeoisie, and the struggling lower-middle class. The novel quickly becomes a sociological study and a platform for the authors philosophy. The events in the novel all tend to gravitate towards a country house dubbed Howards End. The tone of the novel is strikingly intellectual but often events are clouded in glittering prose. The explanation comes pages later, yet still in a roundabout way. The reader can guess what has happened; why not blurt it out? While the sequence of events is straightforward and logical, at times the intervening writing and dialogue are tedious at best.
This book was a little difficult to read because of the old fashioned style, but by the end I was almost talking like they do in the story. Mr. Forster has a real insight into the emotions and hang-ups that people had during the time this story takes place.
Howard's End, published in 1910 to a chorus of praise, expresses, more perhaps than any other of his novels, themes close to Forster's heart.
In this story of two sisters and their very different paths in life Forster voiced many of his apprehensions about the future, and it has become more relevant than ever as a statement of humane, civilised values, while its subtle characterisation, its blend of irony and lyricism, its humour and its welath of unobtrusive symbols, make it one of the great English novels.
You know how Lost in Space would be all campy for a few episodes, with a galactic beauty pageant here, and yet another alien who drives a golf cart there, and everyone edgy that Doctor Smith might accidentally encounter a Y-chromosome at any moment and explode with megaton force? But then, a few times a season, there would be just some super-intense thing, like they were about to literally fly into the sun, and the drama was really jarring?
Howard's End, which is surprisingly not about a guy considering euthanasia, has sort of the same feel for me. Lots of gentle teasing from afar of the silly English upper class, whom we kid because we love, and then BAM!
I promised myself I wouldn't spoiler. I promised myself I wouldn't spoiler. I promised myself I wouldn't spoiler.
Look, it's a good book, with lots of similar looks at Edwardian self-inflicted-drama as Room with a View, or some books by George Eliot have, but be ready for some real intensity, and some real downers, man.