Howards End: The Idealist of Modernism College
Though it is universally acknowledged that art is subjective, literary critic and philosopher Georg Lukacs offered his opinions on what form art ought to take. In his essay “The Ideology of Modernism,” Lukacs wrote negatively against the modernist movement in literature. He describes traditional art as assuming that there is meaning to human existence (1229), whereas modern literature and art is devoid of substance and meaning, or worse, it promotes an ideal and neglects reality. He states, “in realistic literature, each descriptive detail is both individual and typical. Modern allegory, and modernist ideology, however, deny the typical” (1230). Lukacs does not see human existence reflected back through modernist art. As a result of this, Lukacs concludes “modernism means not the enrichment, but the negation of art” (1232). E. M. Forster wrote his acclaimed Howards End right at a transitional period from traditional Edwardian literature towards literary modernism. Forster writes with the effect to allow the reader to be exposed to and explore modernist ideals behind the safety of tradition. As a result, his novel overwhelmingly reads as a traditional novel, with modernist concerns embodied by certain characters.
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