Howard’s End – EM Forster (1910)


In a continuation of my Forster kick, I finished A Room With A View and moved immediately into Howards End, which I enjoyed even more. Howards End follows three families – the Schlegels, the Wilcoxes and the Basts, who are interconnected in so many ways, yet come from completely different places in life. The Wilcoxes are selfish, well-to-do and greedy; the Schelegels are idealistic, altruistic and progressive; the Basts are penniless, hard working and “low class”. I fell in love with Helen Schlegel from the opening scene when she wrote a highly emphatic note of bohemian romanticism to her sister, and adored her more and more as her strength of character was revealed. I feel it is important to remind that EM Forster was a man, writing about women’s issues and class struggles. During a dramatic scene, Margaret Schlegel confronts her husband about the unfairness of how women in the same situation as a man are treated so completely different. There is mention of women having influence rather than rights, as well as Forster discussing the absurdity of societal convention and the class system. To be fair, Forster’s idealism was not an intersectional one – the feminism is intended for white women, and the working man is a white man, but what strikes me as ahead of his time is the fact that over 100 years ago, Forster satirized and attacked conventions that we are still discussing today. If a reader enjoys Edwardian writing, full of dialogue and descriptors, I would highly recommend Howards End. 343 pages

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