Howards End is a strangely timely adaptation of E.M. Forster’s “picture of liberal guilt”


The Starz miniseries dissects its characters with beautiful and bloodless precision.

Howards End, the BBC miniseries now airing on Starz and based on E.M. Forster’s 1910 novel, is a period piece, and happy to be so. It features Hayley Atwell in a variety of era-appropriate hats and fetching bohemian scarves; lots of long, luxurious camera pans across English country houses; and much fretting over that newfangled invention the automobile.

But for all that, there are moments of Howards End that feel so screamingly contemporary, so cringe-inducingly relevant, that you may feel the urge to flinch away from your screen.

Howards End is, Daniel Born once wrote, “the most comprehensive picture of liberal guilt in this century.” And in our current era of weekly think pieces on the voters of “Trump country,” their mysterious ways, and how liberal cosmopolitanism has failed them, Howards End will have you wincing in recognition.

The conflict of Howards End would feel right at home in a think piece about coastal elites
Starz
Such an elitist.

Howards End is one of those novels where different classes are represented by different families, and the marriage that unites the families also symbolically unites the classes. (See also North and South.) In this case, the central families are the Schlegels — half-German and half-English, bohemian, and carelessly cosmopolitan — and the Wilcoxes: thoroughly English, bourgeois, and casually imperialist. Both are wealthy.

When Schlegels and Wilcoxes meet, each family finds the other alienating and titillating in equal measure. For the staid Wilcoxes, watching the young and pretty Schlegel sisters fend for themselves as they go through life is exciting and appalling at once. And for the Schlegels, there is a masochistic thrill in having the Wilcoxes baldly …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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