Sunday, 13 April 2008
TITLE: HOWARDS END
AUTHOR: E M Forster
DATE PUBLISHED: 1910
DATE READ: April 2008
NOTES: A stunning read brimful with ideas and wonderful characters. Forster is very perceptive about class issues of the day and the place of money in society. Margaret says “few of us ……admit that independent thoughts are in nine cases out of ten the result of independent means”. The three families in the book represent different strata of society in Edwardian England. The Schlegels are intellectual, altruistic and middle-class, and interested in the arts and politics. The Wilcoxes are rich and money and property all important to their well-being. The Basts are working class and struggle financially and emotionally.
At the heart of the book is Howards End – the house that Mrs Wilcox inherited and wishes to bequeath to Margaret Schlegel. It plays an important symbolic role in the story – contrasting the idea of “home” and “house” (or prose and poetry).
Forster makes some interesting social comments that are still relevant a century later – the polluting role of the motor car in society, urban sprawl and the place of women.
A wonderful book that remains a classic.