Leonard Woolf returned to a Bloomsbury changed by ‘marriage and death and division’ (Swinburne, ‘Dolores’, ll.159-60). England had also altered, and that alteration has been given perhaps its most enduring literary representation in a Bloomsbury novel: E. M. Forster’s Howards End. Flitting through Edwardian Bloomsbury on his way to catch a train, as Virginia Woolf remembered him, Forster was usually on his way to Weybridge in Surrey (MB, p. 198). It was there that he wrote his fourth novel about people like himself, Virginia Woolf, and their friends. The last words of Howards End are ‘WEYBRIDGE, 1908–1910’. They appropriately emphasise the significance of place and time in that work. (It is the only one of Forster’s novels to be so commemorated.) Howards End is a novel of a particular place and historical time as none of his others are. The title designates a symbolic farmhouse. There, if anywhere, the heroine Margaret Schlegel believes, in a passage invoking the novel’s famous epigraph,
one might see life steadily and see it whole, group in one vision its transitoriness and its eternal youth, connect — connect without bitterness until all men are brothers. (HE, p. 266)
KeywordsPersonal Relation Sexual Attitude Literary History Independent Review Narrator Comment
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© S. P. Rosenbaum 1994