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Howards End (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

E. M. Forster , Oliver Stallybrass
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Sep 2000 Penguin Modern Classics
This novel by the author of "Maurice" and "A Passage to India" deals with personal relationships and conflicting values and has been filmed, directed by James Ivory and starring Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Emma Thompson, Prunella Scales, James Wilby, Helena Bonham Carter and Jemma Redgrave.

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (28 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141183357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141183350
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 771,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Howards End is a classic English novel . . . superb and wholly cherishable . . . one that admirers have no trouble reading over and over again --Alfred Kazin

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 --Critic Lionel Trilling --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

E. M. Forster is one of the great twentieth century authors. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
Dearest Meg, It isn 't going to be what we expected. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite novel. 8 Aug 2001
Howard's End is a story of relationships, and the differences between people in the late victorian age.
The book's heroines are the two Schlegel sisters, Helen and Margaret - well-to-do women of independent means and philanthropic natures as they find their way through life in the comfort that comes with a steady annual income.
The introduction of the Wilcox family illustrates the vast differences in outlook and behaviour that people of the same class could encapsulate. Whereas the Schlegels hold 'Literature and Art' in the highest of esteem, the Wilcoxes live in a world of 'panic and emptiness' and 'telegrams and anger'.
The novel also shows Forster's views on a changing world - the distasteful motor cutting up the roads, creating dust and killing cats is the Wilcoxes pride and joy, preempting the prevalence of the car in later years and its effect on the world. The phenomenon of urban sprawl is also dealt with in the book, as Forster describes London creeping its way into the countryside. The characters who suffer from hayfever are those who belong to the city and the new order - they have discarded the old way of life in the country and have moved to the city, where money and cars and 'telegrams and anger' prevail.
The idea of the home is also very important in the novel. The Wilcoxes have a disregard for a 'home', seeing each as a device for living in. The Schlegels, and Mrs. Wilcox (who acts as a bridge between the two families) see a house as much more and apply sentimental value to houses and gardens.
Class is also dealt with in the case of Leonard Bast, a lowly clerk whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of these two wealthy families.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Did I miss something? 2 Sep 2011
I know Howards End is considered by many a classic, and gets excellent reviews, but if I am honest I struggled with it. I love classic literature, and any thinness of plot as in this case doesn't usually bother me as I find character far more important. Despite this, and there being some beautiful examples of prose in here, overall I was just not very excited about this book.

As the themes started to develop I felt like the book became a bit bogged down, repetitive, ponderous, moralistic and that the characters started to feel more wooden, with an over-reliance on coincidence to make the story go anywhere. In the end it felt like this was more a commentary on society of the time, including the role of class and gender in Britain, than actually a novel. I also felt I preferred all the wrong characters instead of what the author had set out to make me like. Margaret seemed too good to be true, Helen and Leonard annoyed me intensely from the middle of the book onwards, and I really didn't think that badly of the personalities of the Wilcoxes (with a few exceptions in their actions).

I am glad I persevered as the end of the book was by far the best bit, with the most action and the characters finally beginning in to make sense to me. I can also see why many people do love the book, particularly as Forster is a most able writer and a pleasure to read in that sense. For me personally though, I just felt that the author tried to weave his philosophical ponderings around a thin story which lacked engagement and ended up losing out on both fronts.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Quintessence Of Forster 28 Sep 2007
This was perhaps my first real introduction to literature, apart from "1984", the inevitable smart-schoolboy read, and "Sons And Lovers". As such it was a revelation - Forster's empathy, subtlety, lyricism and chracterisation are magnificent, while being oddly inobtrusive. There are no verbal pyrotechnics as you might find in DH Lawrence or Virginia Woolf, but a deeper vision of life that was wonderful to encounter at 15.

Forster's writing trajectory had led him to be able to write a "condition of England" novel - while his previous novels had perhaps erred on the side of social satire and comedy ("A Room With A View" and "Where Angels Fear To Tread"), or been a personal projection ("The Longest Journey"), "Howards End" is more the work of a professional novelist. It has a far greater scale than his previous novels, is in fact a great novel of London, and there is less of the mythology which appears overtly in his short stories and covertly in his previous fiction (especially "The Longest Journey").

The novel is almost entirely character driven - the plot, like life itself, is somewhat formless and inchoate. Two contrasting families, the cultured Schlegels and the financial-sector Wilcoxes, clash and mesh over the course of the novel. Their interactions, contrasts and enmeshings form the action of the novel. At the background Howards End, the house of Mrs Wilcox, stands as repository of all the values Forster cherishes, as the reconcilliation of all divisive opposites.

During the novel Margaret Schelegel and Mrs Wilcox become friends. But after an illness Mrs Wilcox dies, and Mr Wilcox, Henry, later marries Margaret, the elder and more empathetic of the Schlegel sisters. (Helen in contrast is more impetuous, less considered - poetry rather than prose).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally...
I was recommended Howards End many years ago but somehow couldn't get into it, or didn't fancy it, then. I've just put that lapse right, and so glad I did. Read more
Published 20 hours ago by Chrysis17
5.0 out of 5 stars You must read him
Just a massive fan of Mr Forster, i have truly enjoyed every single thing he has written!
Published 14 days ago by Toby Macmillan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent characterisation. Astonishing to be reminded how much...
Very enjoyable. Excellent characterisation. Astonishing to be reminded how much society has changed in the last 100 years or so.
Published 1 month ago by Mary Beth
3.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't quite connect
This isn't the edition I read, but there were no other reviews for the one I did read, and I preferred to join in the discussions on this edition. Read more
Published 1 month ago by DB
4.0 out of 5 stars A good Book Group read.
Its a while back but I know it went down well with our mature readers. Many remembered the film so were ready for the characterisation which Forster does so well. BJ Ratcliffe
Published 2 months ago by Barbara Ratcliffe
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine Fine Fine
No problems so far although I haven't starting reading this one yet.. Seems ok if a little bland looking. Not bad
Published 4 months ago by Ted
3.0 out of 5 stars I have reservations about this classic
I have re-read this classic after half a century. I can't remember what I thought about it on first reading, but I find it quite disappointing now. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ralph Blumenau
3.0 out of 5 stars This is said to be the best of E. M. Forster's novels, I think it...
Howards End is undoubtably a good book, if not a great one. As a picture on the early 20th C with a mixture of Middle Class and Lower Class characters I find it hard to reconcile... Read more
Published 5 months ago by H. M. Sykes
3.0 out of 5 stars Different edition to the one I ordered
I ordered the Penguin English Library Edition and ended up with a 'Great Family Reads' edition. Not massively impressed by this, given that my university tutor does specify which... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Isabel
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful book
It takes you into a world of grace and feelings which are no longer expressed today. It's a gentle & lovely read.
Published 6 months ago by C. Sidney-woollett
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