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Howards End

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  66,036 Ratings  ·  2,419 Reviews
Only connect…

A chance acquaintance brings together the preposterous bourgeois Wilcox family and the clever, cultured and idealistic Schlegel sisters. As clear-eyed Margaret develops a friendship with Mrs Wilcox, the impetuous Helen brings into their midst a young bank clerk named Leonard Bast, who lives at the edge of poverty and ruin. When Mrs Wilcox dies, her family disc
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 27th 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1910)
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Marian I'm in progress, so I can't say a lot yet about the whole story...but it is very easy to get into. I was interested from Chapter 1, and found myself…moreI'm in progress, so I can't say a lot yet about the whole story...but it is very easy to get into. I was interested from Chapter 1, and found myself not having to ever think "who was who" as it got going. I love books like that, when they don't take a major effort to start, you just fall right into the story. : )(less)

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Aug 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
***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.”

 photo Howards20End_zpssqdrkkh0.jpg

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 i
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 w
Jason Koivu
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
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 ...more
Diane Barnes
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads, favorites
No good deed goes unpunished. That could be the unofficial theme of this novel.
I read this as a young adult, loved it, and decided to re-read it after seeing Jeffrey Keeten's excellent review a few months ago. And yes, I still love it, but for different reasons this time around. A much simplified plot synopsis gives us Meg Schlegel, a practical but plain lady of the middle class in England, who, with her sister and brother, live a comfortable life in London, espousing liberal causes and followi
Jun 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
"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
May 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, english-lit
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
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
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 dec ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, classics
Nada me previno en la primera mitad de la novela de lo mucho que iba a acabar gustándome esta historia. Durante la primera mitad pensaba que estaba sobre las 3-3,5*. Se me hacía un poco lento y lo que más disfrutaba era sin duda los temas que exponía. No había leído un clásico que tratara de forma tan directa temas como el sufragismo, el socialismo o el imperialismo. Pero todo se cocía a fuego lento, y a partir de la mitad del libro de repente no podía parar de leerlo
(*Compaginé la lectura c
“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. The
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
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.
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fave-classics
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
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Text

--Howards End

Explanatory Notes
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
It's difficult for me to judge this book on its own merit and not have it suffer in comparison to A Room with a View and Maurice, two books by Forster I recommend. But this book, while interesting at times and full of insights into human nature, as well as it being a meditation on a changing England at the beginning of the twentieth century, fell short for me. Most of the characters were unlikable or unsympathetic people who were either self-centered snobs or well meaning, but clueless about oth ...more
David Dennington
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve seen two film versions of Howards End—both excellent. Forster’s books adapt well to the screen, especially this one and A Room With a View. Both highly popular.

In this book, Forster's themes involve classism and sexism. The Schlegel sisters are half German. England’s links with Germany in pre-WW1 Edwardian England are strong and respectful. Germany is considered to be a world class culture, excelling in philosophy, art, music and science—all things good about the human condition. But all t
Helene Jeppesen
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
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
Fiona MacDonald
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.
Jill Hutchinson
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"He has a way with words" is probably a trite expression but it certainly applies to E.M. Forster. His writing is fluid, beautiful, and his stories well thought out. This book, written in 1910 certainly reflects the style of authors of that time but Forster is readable while some others at the turn of the 20th century appear stilted and formal.

The book, set in the time of the publication, is the story of England at the highest point of its hopes but also reveals the one word upon which the coun
Beth Bonini
The 1992 Merchant Ivory film of this novel is as close to perfect as any film adaptation can get, and yet there is still much pleasure (and greater depth) to be found in Forster’s masterful novel. This is one of those ‘classics’ that I had thought I had read many years ago, but only a few chapters in I realised that I never had done. Despite knowing the story very well, and the film sticks very closely to the book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Forster’s incredibly well-balanced plot of three int ...more
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
Jul 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ficciones
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
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just love an old classic English tale. This one is full of likable characters namely the old monied orphaned sisters Margaret and Helen Schlegel, their wealthy neighbors the Wilcox family, and the unfortunately poor Mr and Mrs Bast whom they decide to champion.
A great storyline includes much ado about 19 th century social etiquette, classism, sexism, romance, hypocrisy, and of course pride of place. Howard's End is after-all a country house in Hilton. There's also a " good deed gone wrong " mo
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.

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
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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 En
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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 the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its highest. Live in fragments no longer.” 129 likes
“Only connect!” 129 likes
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