Posted by Rai.S. (184.108.40.206) on :22:33:30 05/07/07
Hi, I've been struggling to understand why E.M. Forster chose to name the house and then entitle the book Howards End. Who is or was Howard? Is there any significance in the name? Someone in my A-level class thought it had something to do with the 'end' meaning 'demise' and that Howard is a randomly chosen male name to portray the end of male chauvanism and dominance. However since all E.M.Forster's words are chosen so deliberately and have such resonance, there must be another meaning! Can anyone help us?!?!? thanks Rai x
Posted by Laura (board editor) on 15:31:22 24/07/07
Hi Rai, There was often a transcendant quality in E.M. Forsterīs writing. In the excellent biography by P.N. Furbank several instances in which Forsterīs writings seemed to be of a prescient kind, are mentioned. A very obvious one can be found in A Passage to India, where, in the nineteentwenties, Aziz says about Indiaīs fate that there will be another world war and some time after that independence will be gained. This happened to be quite accurate. Another example is a natural disaster that took place in one of his short stories: this eventually happened at the exact same spot, it seems. Now, the future has nothing to do with the name of Howards End, but, while Forster claimed to have chosen the name simply because he liked it, here, too, certain subconscious forces seem to have been at work: in Furbank's book it is mentioned how Forster was shocked to find out - something he claimed he did not know about - that the house had actually been in the possession of a family whose last name was Howard. He did not know that, so it seems a strange act of fate. You can find this info in E.M. Forster: A Life, by Furbank (first edition 1977/1978; it will probably in the second part if you have a two-volume edition (most later edition have the two volumes in one book)). It is incidentally also still the best Forster biography to date. Good luck.
Posted by Rai.S. (220.127.116.11) on :00:10:59 25/07/07
Thank you for your response, that is a highly intriguing fact. Fortunatly as well, my teacher had promised me her thoughts as well and had an interesting hypothesis on the name Howard rhyming and sounding similar to forward and backward thereby symbolising time but she wasn't sure that it meant anything however it has given me immense satisfaction. I shall look up that biography and look forward to reading more about Forster. Best Wishes Rai
Posted by Rai.S. (18.104.22.168) on :13:16:52 21/09/07
Hi, I'm doing it again but if you look in chapter 25, there is an explanation why the house is called Howards End - because the last person to own the house - i think his name was Thomas Howard passed away and therefore the house was called Howards end because he died there!