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Howards End

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  48,842 ratings  ·  1,565 reviews
The self-interested disregard of a dying woman's bequest, an impulsive girl's attempt to help an impoverished clerk, and the marriage between an idealist and a materialist — all intersect at a Hertfordshire estate called Howards End. The fate of this beloved country home symbolizes the future of England itself in E. M. Forster's exploration of social, economic, and philoso ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 29th 2002 by Dover Publications (first published 1910)
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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
Jason Koivu
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 re ...more
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 ...more
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 th ...more
"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.

This 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 someti
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Text

--Howards End

Explanatory Notes
Barry Pierce
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.
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 reading A Room with a View and The Machine Stops I have added E.M. Forster to my much coveted list of favorite classic authors (he missed ...more
“Death destroys a man: the idea of Death saves him.”

Howards End is a wonderfully written book. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It is a very compelling novel that deals with the conflicts between the wealthy upper class and the less affluent working class of England.

But my main trouble with the book is that I cannot believe in the central relationship of the story: (view spoiler)
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
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 Lion ...more
Glenn Sumi
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 a
helen the bookowl
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
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 beginnin ...more
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.

Beautifully written and what I was expecting when I started this book but it's so much more than that. Bucolic settings pave the way for lessons in Victorian era mores, economics and class.

First off I have to say that I love the heroines in this book. It's so nice to see women portrayed as having opinions on something other than clothes and the household. Meg and Helen are wonderful idealists albeit misguided. They work towards helping the working class to better their lives.

I'm honestly at a
Oct 24, 2007 Joe rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves flawless literature
"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
Oct 18, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pierce Brosnan
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Neville Chamberlain
Shelves: fiction
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 suppos ...more
Stupidly enough, I hadn't read this book until now. I'd heard plenty of people bandy about the "only connect" epigram that kicks off the book, and now that I've read the book, I see how incorrectly this epigram is usually applied. "Only connect" doesn't refer to connecting with people, except indirectly. It's about connecting the outer life of "telegrams and anger" (i.e. the sensible, get-things-done life) with the inner life of emotions, intellect, striving after beauty and truth, undsoweiter-- ...more
Howards End is an old, red brick country house in Hertfordshire where the lives of people from different classes intersect. The Schlegels are cultured, idealistic, upper class siblings living on their inherited funds. The Wilcoxes are a materialistic, wealthy family who run a business with connections to West Africa. The Basts are poor with Leonard earning a modest living as a clerk, but trying to improve himself with exposure to books and culture.

This book was published in 1910, four years befo
Feb 15, 2010 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who appreciate classics
Shelves: classics, 1001, 2010
"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 i
Boy do I love it when I compelled to write, 'wow yes!' in the margins of a novel. But that didn't happen here. That strong resonance took the form of a frustrating acknowledgment as this book brushed off and shined many of the disturbing thoughts I have been feeling, M-F, 8:30-4:30 in my office in Midtown Manhattan.

Why do I feel so out of place here? This is the question that's bothering me. And its answer is what this book forced me to face: there are two types of people in the world - idealist
May 09, 2009 April rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Forster fans, Merchant/Ivory fans, FLDS members, women who follow The Rules, misogynists
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel Wagner
Finally a book this year I can LOVE! I have been waiting 8 whole months for it! I love both the movie and now the book. In fact, the movie is pretty much a perfect staging of the book, so if you like the movie you will probably like this.

It might sound odd but one of the things I love about this story is its reassurance that there is a potential for good in all of us- the rich, the poor, the educated etc. There are no villains or heroes in this story. Everyone wants to be good and lead a good l
E.M. Forster and Henry James are kinda my guilty pleasures. I no longer read books from this period much and especially rarely read books by male authors from this period, but I love both Forster and James. I loved them as a teenager when I first discovered them and I still enjoy them now. Their sentences are beautiful and the plot usually revolves around rich white people who have few real life problems so reading Forster or James a lot of the time feels like taking a warm bubble bath while wat ...more
HEADLINE: E.M. Forster to conduct a séance. Want to chat with your dead mother?

In Margaret Schlegel E.M. Forster has created a great hero, as her wild and free wheeling sister, Helen, observes late in this novel. These two along with their brother, the hilariously indolent Tibby, are well worth the reading of.

Set socially above the Schlegel family, which still includes mother, is the Wilcox family, well-to-do, upper class British asses. Set below them socially are the pitiable Basts, life's lose
I think this is my favourite Forster. It may or not be his best but I really enjoyed it. Once again Forster shines a light on an England that struggles against the last of the Victorian social conventions and shows up the hypocracies. The story follows to very different families who become intwined through a house, Howards End. The themes of financial independence and patronage are explored in interesting ways as are the cultural versus the material life. But Forsters gift is that the story neve ...more
You don’t often encounter novels in such a neat and tidy package. Focusing on just three families, Howards End is not a sprawling tale but it’s rich with beautiful descriptions and striking characters. Forster immediately pulls you in to Edwardian England, and introduces you to the intelligent, cosmopolitan Schlegel sisters and their brother Tibby (I love Tibby) whose relations with the elite Wilcox family and the poverty stricken Leonard Bast are vividly brought to life in this 1910 novel. As a ...more
Credo di essere arrivata ad uno stadio di apprezzamento per Forster che si può già definire "affetto" in qualche modo, o forse sarebbe più esatto dire una partecipazione molto piacevole ai suoi romanzi e all'idea di leggere i rimanenti mai affrontati (tranne "Passaggio in India", che proprio no, mi respinge). Adoro l'atmosfera che si crea tra me e un suo libro durante la lettura: sento una pacata affezione da parte sua per i personaggi che popolano lo scenario e la trasmette a me proprio per que ...more
There are a million books about the inner lives of English people. Here is one of them.

ps I can't begin to express how much it bothers me that there's no apostrophe in Howards.
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Edward Morgan Forster, generally published as E.M. Forster, was an novelist, essayist, and short story writer. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. His humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: "Only connect".

He had five
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“Only connect!” 104 likes
“Death destroys a man: the idea of Death saves him.” 81 likes
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