Thursday, September 17, 2009

Howards End

by E.M. Forster
It's a shameful thing to have 2 degrees in literature and never have read something as uniquely wise as Howard's End until now. Perhaps I wouldn't have been wise enough to have gotten it before. Not that I'm making huge pretensions towards wisdom now, but I am at a point where I see why the following passage from dear loving Margaret is so frequently quoted:
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.
Rarely is a philosophical novel so well-plotted. Or a tautly-drawn novel such a rich character study. Or a rich character study such an insightful discussion of the disagreement between body and soul in how we live our lives. Or social commentary so fair to both sides without muddying the middle.
Yes, the voice of Emma Thompson sometimes intruded into my reading. Or the scowl of Anthony Hopkins. But neither detracted from the story. And I'd forgotten the movie enough to remain drawn forward through the plot.
It's also nice to know that after having concentrated on contemporary writing for the last while, I can still find pleasure and passion and prose in the classics.

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