Read Along,  Show Notes

Episode 211: E. M. Forster’s “Howards End”, Introduction and Ch. 1-7

Welcome to a new series on The Literary Life Podcast with Angelina Stanford and husband Thomas Banks. This week they begin talking about E. M. Forster’s book Howards End, giving some introductory information about Forster and also cover the first seven chapters of the book. Thomas shares some background on the Bloomsbury Group authors in contrast to their Victorian predecessors. Angelina highlights the literary tradition of naming books after houses and invites us to consider the importance of place in this story as we go forward.

We hope you will join us for the sixth annual Literary Life Online Conference, “Dispelling the Myth of Modernity: A Recovery of the Medieval Imagination.” During the live or later series of webinars, we will seek to dis-spell the Myth of Modernity and gain eyes to see and ears to hear Reality as it truly is. Speakers include Jason Baxter, Jenn Rogers, and Kelly Cumbee, in addition to Angelina and Thomas.

Also, The House of Humane Letters is expanding to include more classes, and pre-registration for returning students and registration for new students opens soon. Sign up for their email list to find out when you can sign up at

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Commonplace Quotes:

We are not concerned with the very poor. They are unthinkable, and only to be approached by the statistician or the poet.

E. M. Forster, Howards End

Howards End is Mr. Forster’s first fully adult book. It is richly packed with meanings; it has a mellow brilliance, a kind of shot beauty of texture; it runs like a bright, slowish, flickering river, in which different kinds of exciting fish swim and dart among mysterious reedy leptons and are observed and described by a highly interested, humane, sympathetic, often compassionate, and usually ironic commentator. The effect is of uncommon beauty and charm; the fusion of humor, perception, social comedy, witty realism, and soaring moral idealism, weaves a rare captivating, almost hypnotic spell; and many people think it (in spite of the more impressive theme and more serious technique of A Passage in India) Mr. Forester’s best book.

Rose Macaulay, The Writings of E. M. Forster

The Pity of It

By Thomas Hardy

April 1915

I walked in loamy Wessex lanes, afar
From rail-track and from highway, and I heard
In field and farmstead many an ancient word
Of local lineage like 'Thu bist,' 'Er war,' 

'Ich woll', 'Er sholl', and by-talk similar,
Nigh as they speak who in this month's moon gird
At England's very loins, thereunto spurred
By gangs whose glory threats and slaughters are.

Then seemed a Heart crying: 'Whosoever they be
At root and bottom of this, who flung this flame
Between kin folk kin tongued even as are we,

'Sinister, ugly, lurid, be their fame;
May their familiars grow to shun their name,
And their brood perish everlastingly.'

Source: Thomas Hardy: The Complete Poems (Palgrave, 2001)

Book List:

Howards End by E. M. Forster

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

Rose Macaulay

Dorothy Parker

Virginia Woolf

George Eliot

Matthew Arnold

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Wendell Berry

An Experiment in Criticism by C. S. Lewis

The Odd Women by George Gissing

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