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Howards End

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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  40,765 ratings  ·  1,413 reviews
Howards End is the story of the Schlegel sisters and their struggle to come to terms with their German heritage in Edwardian England. Their lives are intertwined with those of the Wilcox family and their country house, Howards End.
Hardcover, Everyman's Library Classics, 360 pages
Published November 26th 1992 by Everyman (first published 1910)
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Zelda
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
...more
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
Aubrey
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
Laura
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
Cecily
"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.

PLOT
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
...more
C.
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
...more
Eric
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
Happyreader
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.

Jasmine
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
Zorena
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
...more
Joe
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
...more
Lobstergirl
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
Tatiana
Feb 15, 2010 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who appreciate classics
Shelves: 2010, classics, 1001
"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
...more
Delphine
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
...more
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
...more
KrisAnne
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
Steve
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
...more
April
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.
Anastasia
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
Panther
I re-read Howards End while I was in Mexico. Now, I don't think about Mexico, I think about Howards End.
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
...more
Jimmy
Wow. This was powerful. I would like to read it again, knowing more of what to expect, not that the plot is particularly... central. But, the book starts off so light and slow, almost like a comedy of manners, and a hilarious one at that. But then the middle section, which was hard for me, because I felt a shift. It seemed more like things were being set up to happen but I didn't know what. The middle section didn't exactly connect with me at all times and I found myself kinda forcing myself thr ...more
Kristina A
Is there such a thing as a perfect novel? The answer is probably no; and if it could even approach yes, then we have to agree upon, or at least articulate for ourselves, a definition of “perfect.” I want to be as objective as I can; there are many books I love that I would not call “perfect,” because they have parts I love that don’t really fit, or parts that do fit but that I don’t think are well done, or (the most typical for my personal taste), they try to tackle too much, have too many chara ...more
Ayu Palar
My second attempt to read Howards End and I end up loving it. Howards End is a story about the intersection of three families: The Wilcoxes, The Schlegels, and The Basts. Things become more interesting when each member of the families starts to fall in love with members of the other family. However, this novel is much more than just a family feud. It skillfully symbolizes the condition of England at that time. The Wilcoxes represent pragmatism and materialism; The Schlegels represent the idealis ...more
Jessica
Oct 22, 2007 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sisters
This book helped me to understand more fully the tragedy of how having to work is interfering with my reading, and more specifically, my ability to benefit properly from my reading. I knew there was a reason why all these books don't make sense! Someone should provide me with a legacy -- stat. I'm sure I'd be more charming and clever and interesting to talk to if being those things were my primary occupation. Of course, I'd also probably throw myself screaming from a window if I had to put up wi ...more
Carol
I didn't know (but pointed out by biographer Beauman) that Forster's focus on rootedness & spirit of the house reflected his devastation over losing his home/birthplace in London for a railroad.

A captivating read, I didn’t want it to end. Beautiful writing – Foster is a master.

The novel focuses on relationships between the 3 classes – Schlegels represent the artistic intellectuals; Wilcoxs: the materialistic bourgeois; the Basts: the poor with no opportunities. Yet in the end, all three clas
...more
David
I had forgotten how good, how amazingly good, Forster's writing is. The rendering of conversation, the revealing of characters in their distinct and separate personalities through their conversation, is astonishing, and full of comedy and perception. His social portraiture makes me smile, laugh, nod in recognition. Then suddenly the prose turns inward and with equal acuity probes the obscure recesses of sensibility. And all the while, one watches as Forster shows how these small comic contingenc ...more
Mary
It's been a long time since I had a heroine with whom I identified as strongly as Meg Schlegel: young-ish but headed into spinster territory; interested in art and intellectual pursuits, but also admiring of the practical world; willing to compromise and also to fight; devoted to her family and, so, aware of all of their weakness. I am also so, so fond of the pace of this book: terrible, shocking (at least to me--I had several surprises which I did not see coming that I had to go back to the pre ...more
Jessica Sirotin
So many conflicts drive this novel that, at times, it can be difficult to see the spaces between the scandal, the moments when each member of these two wayward and difficult families is at peace and content with themselves and each other. Of course these moments don’t last long, but they somehow make our knowledge of the characters seem rounded and intimate in a very compelling way and I could not put this book down. I read it recently one rainy Sunday afternoon and I’ve been thinking about it e ...more
Laurele
This is a beautiful book about the connections that should be but too often are not made between individuals, classes, genders, families, morals. Only connect, only connect, runs through and through it, and in the end, the only connection that brings all together is a country house and the will of the woman whose family had owned it.
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86404
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
...more
More about E.M. Forster...
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“Only connect!” 88 likes
“Death destroys a man: the idea of Death saves him.” 68 likes
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