Howards End

(Fiction; Norton Critical Edition, 1998)

Born in 1879, Edward Morgan Forster was a small boy when his father died and he and his mother moved to Rooksnest, a country manor in Hertfordshire, England. The house worked its way into the bereaved boy’s imagination, and as an adult novelist, Forster rebuilt it along complex dramatic lines in his 1910 novel Howards End—right down to the iconic wych-elm tree, with pigs’ teeth embedded in its bark. The richness of Forster’s description lends itself to film, as the Merchant Ivory production team demonstrated well enough, but the full complement of the novel’s achievement belongs to the page.

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