E.M. Forster Howards End

ISBN 13: 9780553212082

Howards End

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What makes this masterpiece a pure delight for contemporary readers is its vibrant portrait of life in Edwardian England, and the wonderful characters who inhabit the charming old country house in Hertfordshire called Howards End. This cozy house becomes the object of an inheritance dispute between the upright conservative Wilcox family and the Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, sensitive and intuitive women loved by men willing to leap wide social barriers to fulfill their ardor. Through romantic entanglements, disappearing wills, and sudden tragedy, the conflict over the house emerges as a symbolic struggle for England’s future. Rich with the tradition, spirit, and wit distinctively English, Howards End is a remarkable novel of rare insight and understanding. As in his celebrated A Passage to India, E. M. Forster brings to vivid life a country and an era through the destinies of his unforgettable characters.

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Margaret Schlegel, engaged to the much older, widowed Henry Wilcox, meets her intended the morning after accepting his proposal and realizes that he is a man who has lived without introspection or true self-knowledge. As she contemplates the state of Wilcox's soul, her remedy for what ails him has become one of the most oft-quoted passages in literature:

Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.
Like all of Forster's work, Howards End concerns itself with class, nationality, economic status, and how each of these affects personal relationships. It follows the intertwined fortunes of the Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, and the Wilcox family over the course of several years. The Schlegels are intellectuals, devotees of art and literature. The Wilcoxes, on the other hand, can't be bothered with the life of the mind or the heart, leading, instead, outer lives of "telegrams and anger" that foster "such virtues as neatness, decision, and obedience, virtues of the second rank, no doubt, but they have formed our civilization." Helen, after a brief flirtation with one of the Wilcox sons, has developed an antipathy for the family; Margaret, however, forms a brief but intense friendship with Mrs. Wilcox, which is cut short by the older woman's death. When her family discovers a scrap of paper requesting that Henry give their home, Howards End, to Margaret, it precipitates a spiritual crisis among them that will take years to resolve.

Forster's 1910 novel begins as a collection of seemingly unrelated events--Helen's impulsive engagement to Paul Wilcox; a chance meeting between the Schlegel sisters and an impoverished clerk named Leonard Bast at a concert; a casual conversation between the sisters and Henry Wilcox in London one night. But as it moves along, these disparate threads gradually knit into a tightly woven fabric of tragic misunderstandings, impulsive actions, and irreparable consequences, and, eventually, connection. Though set in the early years of the 20th century, Howards End seems even more suited to our own fragmented era of e-mails and anger. For readers living in such an age, the exhortation to "only connect" resonates ever more profoundly. --Alix Wilber

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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 1985. Paperback. Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. This edition of Forster s classic novel reprints the authoritative text of the 1973 Abinger Edition together with five critical essays -- especially prepared for this volume -- that read Howards End from five contemporary critical perspectives. Each critical essay is accompanied by a succinct introduction to the history, principles, and practice of the critical perspective and by a bibliography that promotes further exploration of that approach. Seller Inventory # AAS9780553212082

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