Classics Challenge {May}

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?

12 comments / Add your comment below

  1. The film of A Room with a View (with Maggie Smith & Helena Bonham Carter) was my introduction to E.M. Forster, and I read several of his books, but it was so long ago that I don’t remember much about them. When I was clearing out some books for the library sale I came across them & thought I should give them another try – I just keep reading other books instead.

    I hadn’t connected him with the Bloomsbury group – that’s interesting. I’m a little vague on that period of English literature, I’d have thought he was a few years ahead of them, but I’m probably basing that on my fuzzy recall of the novels’ settings rather than their publication dates.

    1. I thought his connection with Bloomsbury was surprising also! I just would never have put him with that group.
      I love the Room with a View film – I haven’t seen it in years so I think it is time for another viewing!

  2. I went through a Forster phase some years ago and apart from the books you mentioned I also read and enjoyed Where Angels Fear To Tread and A Passage to India. I think you would enjoy them.

  3. E.M. Forster is one of my favorite writers. I have read “Howard’s End” many times. You are in for a treat. The story, the characters, the love of England. What a great book. The Schlegel sisters are two of my favorite characters. Rent the film if you haven’t seen it. It’s excellent. Enjoy!

    1. I’m so glad to know you love E.M. Forster! I think he is marvelous and I am truly enjoying Howards End. I haven’t ever seen the film so when I finish the book I will treat myself to it.

  4. That’s such an interesting statement about the Bloomsbury group’s ideals. As much as I’ve liked the various Virginia Woolf novels I’ve read, I don’t think I ever would have thought of any of them as pure enjoyment, or as a sign of decaying smartness!

    P.S.- Like your latest blog design!

    1. I thought it was interesting, too! I haven’t read Woolf, but just from what I know about her I wouldn’t describe her principles that way. Maybe Forster’s view of their ideals differed from hers?
      I’m glad you like the blog design – I’m really happy with how colorful it is!

  5. Glad to hear you’re feeling better. Is there some sort of flu virus going across England?? You’re one of a number of young women on my “British” blogs who have been knocked out for a few days. I follow mainly British blogs because of the great graphics, photos and reviews. THanks.

  6. Just went to your home page and saw you spelled favorite as favorite not favourite. You’ve living in Arizona but an anglophile. That’s so interesting. Even your choice of books, Bloomsburg Group, Barbara Pym, E.M. Foster, led me to believe you were British! Keep up the good work.

    1. Lorraine, it is such a high compliment to know that you thought I was British! I’m just a simple Arizona girl, but I love British literature. Thank you for reading!

  7. It be worth checking his short stories they are real gems and often forgotten ,as for a favourite Novel a passage to india ,I read maurice years ago very different to his other books but interesting as well as it is insight into him as a gay man at the time more ,all the best stu

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