Howards End by Malcolm Page (auth.)

By Malcolm Page (auth.)

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The poor have kicked. The backward races are kicking - and more power to their boots. Which means that life has become less comfortable for the Victorian liberal, and that our outlook, which seems to me admirable, has lost the basis of golden sovereigns upon which it originally rose, and now hangs over the abyss. (Two Cheers for Democracy, 1965, pp. 67-8) Forster himself provides a shrewd account of what Howards End left out - because of his own ignorance and failures in understanding, and of all those around him.

Mrs Wilcox spoiled you. No one has ever told you what you are - muddled, criminally muddled' (p. 300). K. W. Gransden describes this speech as 'one of the finest and deadliest pieces of feminism to have been written in the era of the suffragettes ... [Henry] inherited a man's world; he has always commanded; he has always been obeyed. When he took her out to lunch, he told her what to eat ... When Margaret attacks, she attacks with her head as well as her heart and what she says is ruthless and unanswerable' (1962, p.

Helen has learned a faith in equality 'from poetry, or you', Margaret (p. 21). The big issues of the suffrage, independence, sexual freedom, the nature of marriage are all touched on here. Novels like Miles Franklin's My BriUiant Career and H. G. Wells' Ann Veronica, characters like Ann Whitfield in Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman, and Vivie in his Mrs Warren! Profession, Beatrice in James Joyce's Exiles, Clara in Lawrence's Sons and Lovers and his Ursula in The Rainbow raise these issues more stridently.

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