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date: 29 September 2020

Howards End, 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction
Author(s):
Sandra KempSandra Kemp, Charlotte MitchellCharlotte Mitchell, David TrotterDavid Trotter

E. M. Forster, 1910, Edward Arnold.Social values and attitudes are dramatized through an encounter between the Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, and their brother, Tibby, who specialize in culture and friendship, and Henry and Ruth Wilcox and their children, Charles, Paul, and Evie, who (with the exception of the mystical Ruth, owner of Howards End) specialize in ‘telegrams and anger’: that is, commerce, commonsense, and calisthenics. Helen Schlegel falls briefly in and out of love with Paul, and thereafter reacts violently against the Wilcoxes, championing those they have wronged, like the idealistic clerk Leonard Bast and his slatternly wife. Margaret, on the other hand, feels increasingly drawn first to Ruth Wilcox, and then, after the latter's death, to Henry, whom she marries. Complications ensue. Mrs Bast is revealed as Henry's exmistress. Helen becomes pregnant by Leonard; Charles kills him in an outburst of familial piety, and is found guilty of manslaughter. Margaret steadfastly holds the crumbling Henry together, and reconciles him with Helen. At the conclusion, Helen and her child play happily in the grounds of Howards End—encircled, however, by the world of telegrams and anger. Selecting his ‘book of the year’ in ... ...

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