Howards End (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Howards End (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)


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Howards End, by E. M. Forster, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate

All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

Considered by many to be E. M. Forster’s greatest novel, Howards End is a beautifully subtle tale of two very different families brought together by an unusual event. The Schlegels are intellectuals, devotees of art and literature. The Wilcoxes are practical and materialistic, leading lives of “telegrams and anger.” When the elder Mrs. Wilcox dies and her family discovers she has left their country home—Howards End—to one of the Schlegel sisters, a crisis between the two families is precipitated that takes years to resolve.

Written in 1910, Howards End is a symbolic exploration of the social, economic, and intellectual forces at work in England in the years preceding World War I, a time when vast social changes were occurring. In the Schlegels and the Wilcoxes, Forster perfectly embodies the competing idealism and materialism of the upper classes, while the conflict over the ownership of Howards End represents the struggle for possession of the country’s future. As critic Lionel Trilling once noted, the novel asks, “Who shall inherit England?”

Forster refuses to take sides in this conflict. Instead he poses one of the book’s central questions: In a changing modern society, what should be the relation between the inner and outer life, between the world of the intellect and the world of business? Can they ever, as Forster urges, “only connect”?

Mary Gordon is a McIntosh Professor of English at Barnard College. Her best-selling novels include Final Payments, The Company of Women, and Spending. She has also published a memoir, a book of novellas, a collection of stories, and two books of essays. Her most recent work is a biography of Joan of Arc.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593080228
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 07/01/2003
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 14,793
Product dimensions: 7.86(w) x 5.30(h) x 0.98(d)

About the Author

Born in London in 1879, E. M. Forster is the author of six novels: Where Angels Fear to Tread, The Longest Journey, A Room with a View, Howard’s End, A Passage to India, and Maurice, the last published posthumously. He also wrote a number short stories, in addition to criticism and essays. His books have been adapted into several popular movies. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 13 separate years. He died in 1970.

Date of Birth:

January 1, 1879

Date of Death:

June 7, 1970

Place of Birth:


Place of Death:

Coventry, England


B. A. in classics, King's College, Cambridge, 1900; B. A. in history, 1901; M.A., 1910

Read an Excerpt

From Mary Gordon's Introduction to Howards End

Howards End is a novel for the likes of us. That is to say, for you and me: you because you have bought this particular book, and I because I am writing about it, and because I love it. You may be buying the book for a variety of reasons; you may be in a train station or an airport or browsing in a bookshop on a rainy day, hoping for many things: enlightenment, friendship, amorous adventure, cappuccino. You may want to chip away at that mountain of the canon you have not read. You may be buying it because you must, because you have been told by a teacher that Howards End is something you must read in order to pass a course. But however disparate all our motives are, whether our relationship to the book is, like mine, that of a loving old friend, or perhaps as yours may be, as a fearful or hopeful or wary stranger, Forster makes us a "we" with the novel's very first sentence: "One may as well begin with Helen's letters to her sister." We are part of a company; it is a formal one to be sure-the impersonal pronoun "one" is used, but the "we" is implied, because we are being shown something intimate, domestic-Helen's letters to her sister. We don't know Helen's last name, or anything about her, but we are immediately included in her private life. Yet the first sentence of her letter to Meg might serve as a warning to readers who are about to become one of the Howards End "we": "'It isn't going to be what we expected.'"

Edward Morgan Forster lived a life devoted to the ideas of decency, humaneness, the civilized private life in which the disparities of the human condition might be resolved by honesty and goodwill. At the same time, he was aware of the dark goblins that Helen, and Beethoven, found in the symphony that forms a meditation in the beginning of Howards End. Tragedy struck Forster's life early; his father died in l881, when he was only two; he was brought up by a mother and aunts, lived quietly with them until he was exiled to public school, a nightmare for him. Rescued by the University of Cambridge, he was taken up by a brilliant group of young men (among whom he was considered one of the least brilliant) who gathered around the philosopher G. E. Moore. Moore's ideas stressed the primacy of personal relations and the appreciation of beauty in a good life. The members of this group included Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes, and a Liverpool Jew named Leonard Woolf who would marry Virginia, sister of another member, Toby Stephen. He studied the classics; traveled, particularly to Italy; sought minor employment. Between 1903 and 1910 he wrote four novels: A Room with a View, The Longest Journey, Where Angels Fear to Tread, and Howards End. He finished a novel about homosexuality, Maurice, in 1913, but did not publish it in his lifetime. There was, therefore, a publication lapse of fourteen years, and then in 1924 A Passage to India. And then no novels for the rest of his long life. He was made a member of King's College, Cambridge, and died there in 1970.

How to explain the early prodigiousness, followed by the long silence. Is it that the world he knew was erased by the trauma of World War I? Virginia Woolf assures us in her essay "Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown" that in December 1910, human nature changed. Did the change paralyze him? Or was it that he felt silenced by his inability to write honestly about homosexual life? Howards End was published just before Virginia Woolf's December 1910 sell-by date, so perhaps the assurance of the voice is the assurance of the full maturity of a way of life that knows itself about to be obsolete.

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Howards End (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A couple of typos are to be expected, but they are EVERYWHERE! Impossible to get through without losing patience. Don't buy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An previous reviewer mistakenly attributed "Remains of the Day" to E.M. Forster. While this work shares similarities with "Howards End", "Remains of the Day" was written by Kazuo Ishiguro, a Japanese-British author who was born in 1954. E.M. Forster lived 1879-1970. However, I still highly recommend "Remains of the Day" as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't usually have an issue getting into books but reading this was a new experience. It was more like reading about the lives of three families in a casual way than an actual storyline. There is a lot of interaction between the characters and a lot of discussion about how society is changing. As far as classics go I feel like the time period it is taking place is no longer victorian but it is still before world war 1, I have not read a lot of books that take place in this time period. The whole time I read this book I didn't really like it, the relationships seemed trifling and were uninteresting to me, but now that I have finished I keep thinking about this book for some reason.
tapestry100 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Howards End is one of my favorite books, and every couple of years I pull it down off the shelf to reacquaint myself with it. It's one of those books that has become an old friend over the years.The story revolves around the Schlegels, Wilcoxes and Basts, three families whose lives interconnect over the course of several years and not necessarily always for the better, and at the center of the story is always the country home, Howards End. The book is an amazing study of class distinctions; passion versus intellect; constraint versus action; wealth versus poverty.The Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, are passionate for life; they want to experience as much as they can from it. The Wilcoxes come from a more conservative stock, more it tune with their wealth and possessions than anything else. After a hastily announced (as just as hastily broken) engagement between the youngest Wilcox son, Paul, and Helen, the families find themselves at odds, until an unlikely friendship forms between Mrs. Wilcox and Margaret Schlegel. Upon Mrs. Wilcox's death, she leaves Howards End to Margaret, but the Wilcoxes as a whole do not feel that Mrs. Wilcox was in her right frame of mind and never let Margaret know of Mrs. Wilcox's bequest. In amidst these settings we are also introduced to Leonard Bast, who lives on the brink of poverty and feels that through education and enlightenment he might better his life and that of his fiancée, Jacky.There are so many subtle nuances to this story, I have a hard time getting it all down on paper. Forster has created an amazing story that is poignant in its telling and staggering in it depth. No matter how many times I read Howards End, I am always amazed at the intricacies of the story and feel that I take something new away with each reading.
jfslone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Howards End is a wonderful adventure into the lives of Edwardian England. By the end of the novel, I not only wanted to be a Schlegel sister, I wanted to inhabit Howards End itself and make a wonderful, artsy, educational life for myself. The characters are so believable, and they seem to move throughout the story of their own accord. There were a few moments when I felt as though I could skip ahead through some long narrations, but other than that, I enjoyed the book and looked forward to every turn of the page! I would recommend this book to anyone with an imagination!
morryb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The novel seems to be will written. The author does use Capitol letters and periods and commas, so it essentially seems to be will written. The main focus of story is always on relationships and so makes it somewhat of a chick novel. None of the men in this novel seem to have any character and their flaws are always glaring and makes it hard to like them. Paul Wilcox is mentioned only briefly but is a Mama's boy and is easily manipulated by the opinion of others. His brother Charles Wilcox is a bully and somewhat of a dim bulb. Tippy Schligal appears to be immature and self absorbed and can never be counted on in a time of crisis. Leonard Bast whom the girls chose to help is weak and spineless and does not the the ability to make a good decision. Finally Henry Wilcox from the very first appears to be self absorbed and confused and is never apparent why Margaret marries him in the first place. He is a man who cannot forgive others for the very things he has done. While the women have faults, these faults are always shown in a more endearing light. Forster may not have taken sides in the struggle between different classes, but he certainly did in the struggle between genders. The property, Howard's End belonged to the late Mrs Wilcox. In a surprise move, after her surprise death, in her will, Howard's End is left to one of the Schlegels. None of the Wilcoxes really wanted Howards End, they just didn't want the Schlegels to have Howard's End. While it is not a complete waste of time, there are better books out there to read.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If A Room With a View is comedy and romance, then Howards End is its tragic counterpart. This novel examines the social and cultural changes occurring in England during the early 1900s, such as the rise of the bourgeois class, the plight of workers, the call for women¿s rights, the urbanization of England and the transition to the automobile.There are three principal groups of characters, each representing a different social strata. The Schlegels ¿ principally the older sisters, Margaret and Helen ¿ are members of the leisure class, having old money and intellectual rather than professional pursuits. The Wilcoxes represent the rising middle class. And the Basts are working class, living on the edge of extreme poverty, at the mercy of those above them. These three families, thrown together by the cultural shifts happening around them, entangle their lives, with tragic consequences.However, all of these characters share a flaw, which directly contributes to the tragedy. They all isolate themselves, a pervasive modern problem that Forster presciently portrays here. No character has a real community or sense of belonging. The Schlegels, particularly Margaret, separate themselves via their eccentricities, their insular family life and their intellectual pursuits, which help them avoid emotional entanglements. But the sisters, at least, long for connection. Margaret wants to belong to a community; Helen craves romance. Yet they keep failing to find the connection they seek. The Wilcoxes hold themselves aloof with their antiquated social principles, their hasty judgments of others and their unspoken sense of inferiority to the moneyed upper classes. Leonard Bast is separated not only by his class, but by his refusal to settle for his lot in life, which he is told he must accept. He tries to hold himself to an ideal he has only read about in novels, which leads him into a marriage that he know will be bad and that estranges him from his family.That is why the novel begins and ends with a house: Howards End. It isn¿t a grand estate, but it represents a sense of continuity and belonging, of something that will endure. The Schlegel girls instinctively feel at home at Howards End, and the Wilcoxes are loathe to give it up, even though they don¿t really value it. When Margaret forms a rare true connection with the first Mrs. Wilcox, she wants to leave Margaret Howards End, because she understands its importance and feels that Margaret will likewise value it, protect it and pass it on. In a world of change and upheaval, Howards End is a constant, and lives that are lived there, however quiet, are meaningful lives.Howards End is not as much of a pleasure to read as A Room With a View. There are certainly passages where Forster wanders off into obtuseness or inserts too much authorial opinion. But it¿s a valuable book to read, to understand this time in history, and perhaps even shed some light on our modern discontents.
andreablythe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Howards End is a tale that expresses the circularity of life, how things thought lost come around again in unexpected ways. It begins with one Schlegel sister falling rapidly in love and then out of love with the youngest Wilcox son while visiting at Howards End. This scandal in minuscule goes away, but manages to tie a knot between these two families, so that their lives become interconnected in unexpected ways as time goes on. I didn't love this novel quite as much as I loved A Room with a View, but it was still a lovely story about how some people deliberately misunderstand each other, while others make similar efforts at understanding (which becomes in and of a conflict), how people make mistakes and are forgiven, and how life can come around to happiness if only you have a good home to take root in.
carka on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once I got into this book, I became enamored with the characters even if the style of writing and relating was much more distant than I was used to. The way the characters loved was left out of the writing, and when it was discussed it was formal and proper. But the surprise near the end reeled me as much as it did the characters. (And as always, the book is better than the movie.)
wbwilburn5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Forster is a master storyteller with an incredible sense of history and timing. Love this novel.
StoutHearted on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
E.M. Forster¿s novel about class, money, and ideals can be summed up thusly: "It¿s about people connecting with each other." The unmarried and well-off bohemian Schlegel sisters get the story rolling when younger sister Helen is invited to one of the Wilcox family¿s homes, Howards End. Her time there sets things in motion, the consequences of which is felt years into the future. The Wilcoxes are proud, capitalistic, and unconcerned with anything but money, with the exception of Mrs. Wilcox. She, the inherited owner of Howards End, is more dreamy, in tune to nature, nostalgia, and emotions, and sees a kindred spirit in the eldest Schlegel sister Margaret. When her dying wish is to bequeath Howards End to Margaret, the family balks and refuses to disclose the request. Meanwhile, the Schlegel's run-in with struggling insurance clerk Leonard Bast becomes an unwitting pawn under the attentions of the sisters and the condescending advice of the Wilcoxes.When people discuss this novel, they often refer to Margaret as the heroine and Henry Wilcox as the hero. I agree that Margaret is the heroine: she is the stabilizing factor for all the other characters. In the end, everyone comes to her for advice or support. She, ultimately, fulfils the novel¿s imperative to connect while the others stumble or create muddles. But Henry doesn¿t strike me as a hero, for the same reason that Helen is not a heroine. Both become overcome by trying to remain rigid in their philosophies and ideals to the detriment of themselves and others. Helen becomes hysterical and unhinged in her quest to help Leonard. The novel suggests this stems from her brief romance, and subsequent disappointment, with Paul Wilcox. While both Schlegel sisters are dreamy and have lofty expectations of Love and Death, Margaret becomes more realistic and accepting of people and things the way they are, while Helen rails against them. While she tries to do good and seek justice, she actually creates chaos. Henry, with his rigid ideals of how everything and everyone should be, rules the Wilcox family with condensations and a touch of the bully. His proposal to Margaret opens him up to new ideals, but it isn¿t until he fully surrenders himself to her that he is able to truly connect with anyone on an emotional level. Like Forster¿s other novel, A Room with a View, things start with a muddle, get more and more agitated, then finally explode before settling into a calm.
laudemgloriae on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent characterization... even if the characters will drive you nuts. It has very little to do with a dispute over a house, but rather, if one will 'only connect'... it is about the dispute with providence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With the #MeToo movement gaining ground and forcing change, the ideas expressed in "Howards End" seem to finally be coming to fruition.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished the book. It was a drag, more than once i almost gave up. It's boring, goes nowhere , has no one character likeable. I thought that a book named Howards End would be the place where most of the story happens...never!!! here and there mentions of it. But the plot takes place somewhere else. Some chapters seems like a eternal rant from the author, those i just skipped ...couldn't take it . When the character Leonard is introduced in the story seems that would be a non important one because disappeared half the book and it's re introduced chapters later as if nothing has happened before. The chapters where Leonards is on it's an long ,long and boring rant that makes no sense . i stopped trying to understand what i was reading when i realized(by reading other reviews) that there is some philosophical stuff inserted in the conversations. So forget it. I hope that the movie version of this "classic" is better and understandable. The fact that this book is on the Classic Shelve does not make it good or worht the reading. if you must reading for homework, brace yourself it is going to be a long day before you see the end of Howards End....and if you do read it for pleasure....just read until page 100 (which is my personal mark for when i decide if i should conitnue or not reading a book that it's giving a hard time to get through it ) and decide if you continue or not. it is not worth your time .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A brilliant novel. One of my favorites.
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The typos made a challenging book even more difficult to read. The story was interesting enough, but the characters were difficult to relate to.
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