I’m sneaking my Classics Challenge post in right at the end of the month. And this time I am not going to subject you to another post about Anna Karenina, fascinating as that tome may be, because I started another of my choices this month when I realized that AK probably is going to take me the entire year to read. The next book on my list for the challenge was Howards End and I eagerly found my copy and began reading. I have read Howards End before, probably 15 years ago, and remember liking it, but I haven’t retained much more than that. However, E.M. Forster wrote one of my favorite novels, A Room With a View, so I have a strong fondness for his writing and know I will probably enjoy Howards End also.
The question this month asks “What literary movement is the prose or poetry you’re reading from? What are the values or ideals of the movement? Name other writers of the movement.”
E.M. Forster, which I never realized, was part of the Bloomsbury group. I’m sure you are all familiar with this group of artists and writers who were active in the first half of the 20th Century. The more esteemed members of the set included Virginia Woolf, Leonard Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Clive Bell, Duncan Grant and Lytton Strachey. Forster was a borderline member of the group as it seems he traveled quite a bit during their highly active years, when he took long trips to Europe and India.
The ideals of the Bloomsbury group, as Forster himself proclaimed, included “the decay of smartness and fashion as factors, and the growth of the idea of enjoyment”. I can definitely see these principles at work in A Room With a View and have a feeling that they will crop up in Howards End, as well.
Have you read Forster? Do you have a favorite Forster novel?