A meticulously-observed drama of class warfare, E.M. Forster's Howards End explores the conflict inherent within English society, unveiling the character of a nation as never before. This Penguin Classics edition includes an introduction and notes by David Lodge.
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 discovers that she wants to leave her country home, Howards End, to Margaret. Thus as Forster sets in motion a chain of events that will entangle three different families, he brilliantly portrays their aspirations to personal and social harmony.
David Lodge's introduction provides an absorbing and eloquent overture to the 1910 novel that established Forster's reputation as an important writer, and that he himself later referred to as 'my best novel'. This edition also contains a note on the text, suggestions for further reading, and explanatory notes.
E. M. Forster (1879-1970) was a noted English author and critic and a member of the Bloomsbury group. His first novel, Where Angels Fear To Tread appeared in 1905. The Longest Journey appeared in 1907, followed by A Room With A View (1908), based partly on the material from extended holidays in Italy with his mother. Howards End (1910) was a story that centered on an English country house and dealt with the clash between two families, one interested in art and literature, the other only in business. Maurice was revised several times during his life, and finally published posthumously in 1971.
If you enjoyed Howard's End, you might like Forster's A Room with a View, also available in Penguin Classics.
"Howards End is a classic English novel . . . superb and wholly cherishable . . . one that admirers have no trouble reading over and over again," said Alfred Kazin.
First published in 1910, Howards End is the novel that earned E. M. Forster recognition as a major writer. At its heart lie two families--the wealthy and business-minded Wilcoxes and the cultured and idealistic Schlegels. When the beautiful and independent Helen Schlegel begins an impetuous affair with the ardent Paul Wilcox, a series of events is sparked--some very funny, some very tragic--that results in a dispute over who will inherit Howards End, the Wilcoxes' charming country home. As much about the clash between individual wills as the clash between the sexes and the classes, Howards End is a novel whose central tenet, "Only connect," remains a powerful prescription for modern life.
"Howards End is undoubtedly Forster's masterpiece; it develops to their full the themes and attitudes of [his] early books and throws back upon them a new and enhancing light," wrote the critic Lionel Trilling.