By Anne Wright
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Additional resources for Literature of Crisis, 1910–22: Howards End, Heartbreak House, Women in Love and The Waste Land
It is pivotal. The placing ofthis debate is somewhat ironic, after dinner at a ladies' gathering. But concern over inequities of income was, with the development of methods of sociological inquiry, increasingly manifest in surveys based on forays of researchers into that second nation inhabited by the poor. The seventeen volumes ofCharles Booth's Life and Labour of the People in London (I88g-I903) were followed by a complementary study of York in B. SeebohmRowntree's Poverty, a Study of Town Life (I90I), L.
The point is that societal relations operate in a context, a setting: so Forster insistently and concretely situates his characters and incidents in an environment, whether rual or urban, natural or man-made. We see people in houses, and moving through landscapes, and we need to be alert to the significance established for each separate location. The objective is to 'select out' the undesirable, in order to establish the novel's normative environment: this is a paysage moralise. Oniton Grange in Shropshire, one of the novel's country houses, has been bought on a whim by Henry Wilcox, who now uses it rarely and wants to get rid of it.
It is worse than dying .... ' (ch. I o; p. 8r). Ironically, Mrs Wilcox herself is removed to die in a nursing-home. Dying, she is unwilling to leave her home to the Wilcoxes (she regrets the 'improvements' already carried out by Henry), and looks outside her family for an heir. There is some indication that she should establish a female line of inheritance: although the house transcends sex it is amenable to female sensitivity, and it is implied that the spirit of place and desire for permanence are 'female qualities, opposed to 'male' movement and change.
Literature of Crisis, 1910–22: Howards End, Heartbreak House, Women in Love and The Waste Land by Anne Wright