In the pages of Howards End, we read the stories of three families: the Anglo German Schlegel sisters, well educated and idealistic girls, The Wilcox an enriched and bourgeois, family dehumanized by the economic power and the Bast family composed by Leonard Bast, a poor clerk with economic problems, married to a vulgar woman,
Margaret and Helen Schlegel are perfectly conscious they can freely exercise their intellectual gifts thanks to their father's money, derived from his legacy.
Their father had belonged to a type that was more prominent in Germany fifty years ago than now.
The story is settled in at the beginning of the twenty century and London s the epicenter of the great cultural and social change of that period.
He was not the aggressive German, so dear to the English journalist, nor the domestic German, so dear to the English wit. If one classed him at all it would be as the countryman of Hegel and Kant, as the idealist, inclined to be dreamy, whose Imperialism was the Imperialism of the air. Not that his life had been inactive. He had fought like blazes against Denmark, Austria, France. But he had fought without visualizing the results of victory. A hint of the truth broke on him after Sedan, when he saw the dyed moustaches of Napoleon going grey; another when he entered Paris, and saw the smashed windows of the Tuileries. Peace came—it was all very immense, one had turned into an Empire—but he knew that some quality had vanished for which not all Alsace-Lorraine could compensate him. Germany a commercial Power, Germany a naval Power, Germany with colonies here and a Forward Policy there, and legitimate aspirations in the other place, might appeal to others, and be fitly served by them; for his own part, he abstained from the fruits 30 of victory, and naturalized himself in England. The more earnest members of his family never forgave him, and knew that his children, though scarcely English of the dreadful sort, would never be German to the back-bone. He had obtained work in one of our provincial universities, and there married Poor Emily (or Die Englanderin, as the case may be), and as she had money, they proceeded to London, and came to know a good many people. But his gaze was always fixed beyond the sea. It was his hope that the clouds of materialism obscuring the Fatherland would part in time, and the mild intellectual light re-emerge.
For this reason, they feel the moral duty to help the poor, and in particularly those who show an interest in the intellectual life, like Leonard Bast, with his romantic and intellectual dreams, is one of these people.
In their intent to help Leonard, Margaret and Helen involve the Wilcox family too, but those ones ruin Leonard entirely.
Helen loves the absolute. Leonard had been ruined absolutely, and had appeared to her as a man apart, isolated from the world. A real man, who cares for adventure and beauty, who desires to live decently and pay his way, who could have travelled more gloriously through life.
What is his life? He had done wrong—that was the true terror.
He desired to confess, and though the desire is proof of a weakened nature, which is about to lose the essence of human intercourse, it did not take an ignoble form. He did not suppose that confession would bring him happiness. It was rather that he yearned to get clear of the tangle. So does the suicide yearn. The impulses are akin, and the crime of suicide lies rather in its disregard for the feelings of those whom we leave behind.
To Leonard, intent on his private sin, there come the conviction of innate goodness elsewhere. It is not the optimism which he has been taught at school.
Death destroys a man, but the idea of death saves him—that is the best account of it that has yet been given. Squalor and tragedy can beckon to all that is great in us, and strengthen the wings of love.
Life is a deep, deep river, death a blue sky, life is a house, death a wisp of hay, a flower, a tower, life and death are anything and everything, except that ordered insanity, where the king takes the queen, and the ace the king.
The three family become in contact with each others, when Mrs Wilcox becomes Margaret Schlegel's friend and before dying she decides to give Margaret her beloved country cottage, Howard End.
This house is not a simple building, but it is the symbol of a country of noble traditions: England, where the ideas of industrial and economic society have not destroyed the most important values of the humanity yet.
At Howard End we assist to the conflict between different ways to understand life. Life becomes a conflict of classes and sex expressed in a different and intricate story of failed or missed marriages, of unsuccessful love stories and repressed violence.
A story where every events, every characters reveal another meanings, a metaphoric and secret sense that takes everyone to realize the essence of the reality.
Margaret never forgot any one for whom she had once cared; she connected, though the connection might be bitter, and she hoped that some day her husband Henry would do the same.
Only connect!. It is the final taught.
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.
I know this is supposed to be Forster's masterpiece--save a flaw or two--but, honestly...I hated it. Reading this book was akin to chipping away at an ice block to get to a credit card with a $500 credit limit dead-center in the middle: a lot of work for little reward. The beginning of the book wasn't all over the place but almost too expansive for its own good, as if Forseter was trying on a literary style for size. It wasn't until I was 3/4 of the way through that I felt that I could stop reading every sentence twice to make sure I didn't miss anything. The discourse between characters was choppy and at times descriptions all over the place. He over thought characters that thought about things too much. I can honestly say I will never read this book EVER AGAIN....Continua
No, I didn't enjoy this novel at all. Although it has a fairly interesting plot, the characters are pretty listless, dull and uninteresting. Not my idea of a classic!