View Full Version : Gateway Novel

05-24-2005, 06:07 PM
Compared to Forster's preceding novels, Howards End is an expansive, serious work. And, while obvious attention can be paid to the topsy-turvy collision of Wilcoxes and Schlegels, the book is more critically concerned with much larger societal shifts in the industrialized world: the intellectual polarization of the "doing" and "thinking" classes; the steady encroachment of suburbia; the fragmentation of common culture.<br><br>Forster, quite forcefully, resisted the compositional trappings of modernism. However, Howards End, with its genial narration and firmly Edwardian prose, accessibly opens to us the cultural source of modernism itself. In this way it serves as an excellent gateway text into the world of more "difficult" authors like Joyce and Woolf. <br><br>Ironically, the traditional narrative Forster employs lends Howards End a sort of moral authority lacking in modernist novels (modernists were, among other things, attempting to free themselves from the dictatorial narrator). For this reason, it is one of my favorites.