I picked up Howards End shortly after I bought Zadie Smith's On Beauty because Greg from The New Dork Review of Books told me that in order to fully appreciate On Beauty, I should read Howards End first. I've got to be honest, I am a little burnt out on the classics. This book probably wasn't the best choice considering the timing - I just finished the Back to the Classics Challenge at the end of June. I was a little cranky toward this book, mostly because I wanted it to end. But please know, my opinion of this novel is a bit apathetic simply because lately, my reading diet has been overwhelmed with too many classics.
Howards End examines the Edwardian era, when the class system in England was disordered and allowed for social upheaval. Forster reflects on these subjects through two different families: The Wilcoxes and the Schlegels. Forster also highlights a shift of interest in women's suffrage, characterized by the liberal and idealistic Margaret Schlege. Each family, while of the same class, maintain very different values and connect in a way that exposes both their successes and their failures.
Houses have their own ways of dying, falling as variously as the generations of men, some with a tragic roar, some quietly, but to an after-life in the city of ghosts, while from others from others - and thus was the death of the Wickham Place - the spirit slips before the body perishes. It had decayed in the spring, disintergrating the girls more than they knew, and causing either to accost unfamiliar regions. By September it was a corpse, void of emotion, and scarcely hallowed b the memories of thirty years of happiness.The novel is full of political symbolism and nuanced social views. It examines an array of human emotions and the inevitable conflicts they cause. Howards End really is a work of art and I'm happy to have read it. I just wish I would have read it at a different time. I think this was a case of right book at the wrong time.
Publisher: Barnes and Noble Classics, 1910