Howards End

Not the show. The novel, first published in 1910 by E.M. Forster.

Book Cover

Not merely another Downton Abbey (not that it could be, preceding Downton by a hundred years), nor is it merely a work of fiction. No, it is a masterpiece of Philosophical, Humanist, and Existential fiction.

Weaved throughout the story, Forster works in his philosophy as the thoughts of his characters.

Below are a collection of my favorite quotes, presented in order of appearance in the novel, without further comment.

One is certain of nothing but the truth of one's own emotions.

It is pleasant to analyze feelings while they are still only feelings, and unembodied in the social fabric.

Personal relations are the important thing for ever and ever, and not this outer life of telegrams and anger.

The building of the rainbow bridge that should connect the prose in us with the passion. Without it we are meaningless fragments, half monks, half beasts, unconnected arches that have never joined into a man.

She would only point out the salvation that was latent in his own soul, and in the soul of every man. 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. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.

I don't like those men. They are scientific themselves, and talk of the survival of the fittest, and cut down the salaries of their clerks, and stunt the independence of all who may menace their comfort, but yet they believe that somehow good — it is always that sloppy 'somehow'— will be the outcome, and that in some mystical way the Mr. Basts of the future will benefit I because the Mr. Basts of today are in pain.

She felt that there was something a little unbalanced in the mind that so readily shreds the visible. The business man who assumes that this life is everything, and the mystic who asserts that it is nothing, fail, on this side and on that, to hit the truth. "Yes, I see, dear; it's about halfway between", Aunt Juley had hazarded in earlier years. No; truth, being alive, was not halfway between anything. It was only to be found by continuous excursions into either realm, and though proportion is the final secret, to espouse it at the out set is to insure sterility.

She remembered again that ten square miles are not ten times as wonderful as one square mile, that a thousand square miles are not practically the same as heaven.

She forgot the luggage and the motor-cars, and the hurrying men who know so much and connect so little.

Now she never forgot any one for whom she had once cared; she connected, though the connection might be bitter

"I never got on to Nietzsche," he said. "But I always understood that those supermen were rather what you may call egoists." "Oh, no, that's wrong," replied Helen. "No superman ever said 'I want,' because 'I want' must lead to the question, 'Who am I?' and so to Pity and to Justice. He only says 'want.' 'Want Europe,' if he's Napoleon; 'want wives,' if he's Bluebeard: 'want Botticelli,' if he's Pierpoint Morgan. Never the 'I'; and if you could pierce through him, you'd find panic and emptiness in the middle."

I love Death — not morbidly, but because He explains. He shows me the emptiness of Money. Death and Money are the eternal foes. Not Death and Life.

Death destroys a man: the idea of Death saves him.

England still waits for the supreme moment of her literature — for the great poet who shall voice her, or, better still, for the thousand little poets whose voices shall pass into our common talk.

Some day! Tcha! tcha! Don't talk about some day. You are living here now.

Confronted again by the senselessness of Death One death may explain itself, but it throws no light upon another: the groping inquiry must begin anew. Preachers or scientists may generalize, but we know that no generality is possible about those whom we love; not one heaven awaits them, not even one oblivion.

It is odd and sad that our minds should be such seed-beds, and we without power to choose the seed. But man is an odd, sad creature as yet, intent on pilfering the earth, and heedless of the growths within himself. He cannot be bored about psychology. He leaves it to the specialist, which is as if he should leave his dinner to be eaten by a steam-engine. He cannot be bothered to digest his own soul.

It is those that cannot connect who hasten to cast the first stone.

Remorse is not among the eternal verities, The Greeks were right to dethrone her. Her action is too capricious, as though the Erinyes selected for punishment only certain men and certain sins. And of all means to regeneration Remorse is surely the most wasteful. It cuts away healthy tissues with the poisoned. It is a knife that probes far deeper than the evil.

He has worked very hard all his life, and noticed nothing. Those are the people who collapse when they do notice a thing.