Thursday, August 04, 2011

Howard's End by E. M. Forster

Well, it is odd and sad that our minds should be such seed-beds, and we without power to choose the seed. But man is an odd, sad creature as yet, intent on pilfering the earth, and heedless of the growths within himself. He cannot be bored about psychology. he leaves it to the specialist, which is as if she should leave his dinner to be eaten by a steam-engine. He cannot be bothered to digest his own soul.

Still a beautiful, favorite novel, but it seemed a bit doughy this time around, thick with social commentary, narrator asides and the anthropomorphisms of the endless English countryside. Still the plot in the last quarter of the book unwinds with a relentless psychological urgency, as one of the Schlegels' favorite maxims becomes real: Places are more important than people.

"Because a thing is going strong now, it need not go strong for ever," she [
Margaret] said. "This craze for motion has only set in during the last hundred years. It may be followed by a civilization that won't be a movement, because it will rest on the earth. All the signs are against it now, but I can't help hoping, and very early in the morning in the garden I feel that our house is the future as well as the past."

1 comment:

ZZ said...

Love the book,love the movie. Always think of it when I lose an umbrella, which I do frequently, maybe through a subconscious hope to be adopted by some modern-day Misses Schlegel (because that is preferable than thinking I lose things through carelessness.) Also "Howard's End" always make me think of Muriel Spark's "A Far Cry From Kensington" which has a character named 'Howard Send' about whom one character says '...Of course he's that way, but they often make better friends." Indeed.