Howards End

Howards End

by E. M. Forster
4.4 12

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Overview

Howards End by E. M. Forster

Howards End is a novel by E. M. Forster, first published in 1910, about social conventions, codes of conduct, and personal relationships in turn-of-the-century England.

Howards End is considered by some to be Forster's masterpiece. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Howards End 38th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

The story revolves around three families in England at the beginning of the 20th century: the Wilcoxes, rich capitalists with a fortune made in the Colonies; the half-German Schlegel siblings (Margaret, Tibby, and Helen), whose cultural pursuits have much in common with the real-life Bloomsbury Group; and the Basts, an impoverished young couple from a lower middle-class background. The idealistically motivated, well read, highly intelligent Schlegel sisters seek to help the struggling Basts, wishing at the same time to rid the Wilcoxes of some of their deep-seated social and economic prejudices.

The Schlegels had briefly met and befriended the Wilcoxes when both families were hiking in Germany. Helen, the youngest daughter, is romantically attracted to the younger Wilcox son, Paul; they get engaged in haste but soon afterwards regret their decision, each rejecting the other for different reasons. The engagement is consequently broken off without acrimony, by mutual consent, despite a somewhat awkward intervention by Helen's aunt, Juley. The eldest daughter, Margaret, then resumes her friendship with Paul's mother, Ruth Wilcox. Ruth's most prized personal possession is her family home at Howards End. She invites her friend to come and visit, as she feels Margaret would immediately connect with the values and history which the old house represents. Ruth's own husband and children do not greatly cherish Howards End, for all its rich cultural heritage; such abstractions, while being very dear to Margaret, are relatively insignificant to them, other than the property's real estate value on the housing market. However owing to a series of circumstances Margaret never gets a chance to visit Howards End while her friend Ruth is still alive. Equally she is unaware that, gravely ill, Ruth regards her as an ideal prospective owner of Howards End, feeling that her home would be safe and in very good hands with her, after she is gone. As Ruth's condition deteriorates fast, and Margaret and her family are about to be evicted from their London home by a developer when the lease on their house expires, Ruth bequeaths Howards End to Margaret in a handwritten note. This last will and testament of Ruth's (about which Margaret herself knows nothing) is delivered to her husband from the nursing home where she died, causing great consternation and anxiety to the Wilcoxes. Mrs Wilcox's widowed husband, Henry, and his children, burn the note without telling Margaret anything about her inheritance. However over the course of the next several months, Henry Wilcox seeks Margaret's company and is very much impressed with her, as she is with him. Their friendship blossoms into romance and in due course, Henry asks for Margaret's hand in marriage. Margaret accepts. It soon becomes apparent that their personalities could not be more different from one another; the courageous, idealistic, compassionate, high-minded, romantically-inclined Margaret tries to get the fairly rigid, unsentimental, staunchly rational Henry to open up more, to little effect. Henry's children, while outwardly polite to Margaret, do not look upon her engagement to their father with a friendly eye. Evie, the daughter, soon to be married herself, is largely concerned with her own affairs; Paul, the younger son, now lives abroad making his way in Nigeria; the main opposition comes from the elder son Charles and his wife Dolly, who are only civil enough to conceal their hostility to Margaret, yet really see her as an intruder, posing a potential threat to their own ambitions. Most of all they fear any claim she could one day have on Howards End.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940149199778
Publisher: Bronson Tweed Publishing
Publication date: 04/08/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 377 KB

About the Author

Born in London in 1879, E. M. Forster is the author of six novels: Where Angels Fear to Tread, The Longest Journey, A Room with a View, Howard’s End, A Passage to India, and Maurice, the last published posthumously. He also wrote a number short stories, in addition to criticism and essays. His books have been adapted into several popular movies. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 13 separate years. He died in 1970.

Date of Birth:

January 1, 1879

Date of Death:

June 7, 1970

Place of Birth:

London

Place of Death:

Coventry, England

Education:

B. A. in classics, King's College, Cambridge, 1900; B. A. in history, 1901; M.A., 1910

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Howards End 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
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Personal Review I really enjoyed the novel Howards End by EM Forster. I found it to be a very intriguing and classical book about the difference between two families in the nineteenth century. During some parts of my reading I also noticed that I was able to become very interested in the book. Since I had such a strong liking of the book I would highly recommend it. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys classical texts, but also to anyone who would like to expand on the type of books that they read. Literary Analysis Two of the main characters in Howards End are the Schlegel sisters. The sisters are Helen and Margaret (aka Meg). Helen was a little irresponsible but yet charming. Margaret was the more responsible one but also was known to ask questions at the wrong time. ¿You would say the wrong thing to a certainty you would. In your anxiety for Helen¿s happiness you would offend the whole of these Wilcoxes by asking one of your impetuous questions- not that one minds offending them,¿ Said their Aunt Juley about Margaret. At the beginning of the story I noticed that the sisters were very close. As the story kept going I noticed different events that seemed to be moving them apart from each other. One of the major events that I thought showed this was Margaret¿s marriage to Henry. Since Henry and Helen did not particularly get along, Helen and Margaret didn¿t see one another as often. There was an instance towards the end of the story when Margaret didn¿t even know where Helen was. To get a hold of Helen again she wrote a letter to her saying that their Aunt had become very ill, this was the only idea she could come up with to get Helen to visit. I think the author created these characters to show how different conflicts really can take place. I find the characters in the story to be very believable. This is something that I think is important in a story in order for the story to even seem realistic. The setting of this story was in England during the early nineteen-hundreds. During this time there was some conflicts between the English and the German. This is also part of the reason that I believe they chose to use the Schlegel¿s and the Wilcoxes. They were two very different families. A specific place that the climax of the story takes place is at Howards End. This is the house that the Wilcoxes owned before Margaret inherited the property from her husband Henry¿s mother. This property creates a place that all of the characters are very familiar with. It is also the place where Helen stayed with the Wilcoxes causing the two families to have such a strong connection. After reading the book I was able to observe something I found interesting about the home. I believe that it is a comfort zone for the family, a place where they can all connect. Another important aspect to the story is the point of view. The point of view the author has in this story is third person. An example of this view is proved by the following piece of text: ¿She recovered herself, but not before Charles had observed her. Stupid and attentive, he was watching the scene.¿ This piece of text from the book shows the words she, he, and her, which are all examples of words used in third-person point of view. This point of view doesn¿t cause the reader to choose sides with any of the characters. Instead the reader can choose their own sides and also know what all of the characters think. That is the reason why I believe that the author chose to use third-person view. This was an amazing novel by EM Forster that encourages me to read more of his novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very descriptive and artistic, I love the way the author describes all his characters, even the lesser ones. (For example, the wife of Charles Wilcox.) He puts things in a way that seems to be the makings of a very beautiful film, though I am sure there probably is a movie out already about this book! I would reccomend this to just about any classic book lover, perhaps even to Jane Autsen fans!
Guest More than 1 year ago
E.M. Forster's Howard's End draws an excellent image of life in England during the early part of the Twentieth Century. Forster's setting and diction are very well written. While I was reading, I was able visualize the scene in my mind. The first few chapters of the novel seem slow. I find that novels and short stories that begin the first paragraph with a letter to some other character irritating and a turn-off. It was not until Leonard Bast was introduced that I started to become more interested in book. I was cheering for Leonard throughout the novel. On the contrary, I felt that Henry Wilcox was cold and ruthless. He did not realize how important it is to help out other people who are less fortunate. It was no surprise that in a recent movie adaptation of Howard's End, in the movie the role of Henry Wilcox was performed by Anthony Hopkins. The characterization was also developed very well. Every character was tied in to the main plot in some manner. The novel was in my opinion a little too long. It was complex reading mainly because it was written in early Twentieth Century British English. There was a great deal of conflict between many of the important characters. To me that was one of the high points of the novel. It kept my interest in the book. But I found it very hard to understand what Margaret Schlegel saw in Henry in the first place. Certainly it wasn't that he had good looks and a great sense of humor! I would recommend Howard's End to other readers, especially those who enjoy early Twentieth Century British literature. The story was entertaining. This novel is without a doubt a British classic. >