Mobility, Attentiveness and Sympathy in E. M. Forster’s Howards End

  • Nour Dakkak
Part of the Studies in Mobilities, Literature, and Culture book series (SMLC)


This chapter argues that E. M. Forster’s Howards End shows how attentiveness, compassion and sympathy are human values that are grounded in, and developed through, people’s everyday encounters with the world. The depiction of speed, slowness, and autonomous mobility reveals that although fast-accelerated mobilities may increase human detachment and apathy to the world outside the vehicle, they encourage other forms of micro-mobilities and embodied interactions to be acknowledged and appreciated. By reading Howards End in relation to other Forsterian texts, I argue that the careful depiction of different types of embodied mobilities shows the extent to which the relationship between humans and the outside world is analogous to people’s personal relations.


  1. Adey, Peter. 2010. Mobility. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Adey, Peter, David Bissell, Kevin Hannam, Peter Merriman, Mimi Sheller, eds. 2014. The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Armstrong, Tim. 1998. Modernism, Technology and the Body: A Cultural Study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Baudrillard, Jean. 2010 [1986]. America. Translated by C. Turner. London and New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  5. Bergson, Henry. 1911. Creative Evolution. New York: H. Holt and Company.Google Scholar
  6. Bissell, David. 2009. “Visualising Everyday Geographies: Practices of Vision Through Travel Time.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 34 (1): 42–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bradshaw, David, ed. 2007. The Cambridge Companion to E. M. Forster. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Burnett, John. 2004. England Eats Out: A Social History of Eating Out in England from 1830 to the Present. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Cavaliero, Glen. 1986. A Reading of E. M. Forster. Hampshire and London: Macmillan Press.Google Scholar
  10. Crary, Jonathan. 1999. Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle and Modern Culture. Cambridge: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cresswell, Tim. 2015. Place: An Introduction. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  12. Danius, Sara. 2002. The Senses of Modernism: Technology, Perception, and Aesthetics. New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Finch, Jason. 2011. E. M. Forster and English Place: A Literary Topography. Åbo: Åbo Akademi University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Forster, E. M. 1954. “The Machine Stops.” In E. M. Forster: Collected Short Stories, 109–146. London: Penguin Group.Google Scholar
  15. Forster, E. M. 1972. “What I Believe.” In Two Cheers for Democracy, 65–73. London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  16. Forster, E. M. 2005. Maurice. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Group.Google Scholar
  17. Forster, E. M. 2006. The Longest Journey. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Group.Google Scholar
  18. Forster, E. M. 2012. Howards End. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Group.Google Scholar
  19. Garrington, Abbie. 2013. Haptic Modernism: Touch and the Tactile in Modernist Writing. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gros, Frederic. 2014. A Philosophy of Walking. Translated by John Howe. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  21. Jameson, Fredric. 1990. “Modernism and Imperialism.” In Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature, edited by Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, and Edward W. Said, 43–66. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  22. Kern, Stephen. 1983. The Culture of Time and Space, 1880–1918. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Laurier, Eric, Hayden Lorimer, Barry Brown, Owain Jones, Oskar Juhlin, Allyson Noble, Mark Perry, Daniele Pica, Philippe Sormani, and Ignaz Strebel, et al. 2008. “Driving and ‘Passengering’: Notes on the Ordinary Organisation of Car Travel.” Mobilities 3 (1): 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Massey, Doreen. 2005. For Space. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1964. “Eye and Mind.” In The Primacy of Perception, translated by Carleton Dallery, 159–192. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Merriman, Peter. 2012. Mobility, Space, and Culture. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Merriman, Peter, and Lynne Pearce. 2017. “Mobility and the Humanities.” Mobilities 12 (4): 493–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. O’Neill, Morna, and Michael Hatt. 2010. The Edwardian Sense: Art, Design, and Performance in Britain, 1901–1910. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Page, Malcolm. 1993. An Introduction of the Variety of Criticism: Howards End. Houndmills: The Macmillan Press LTD.Google Scholar
  30. Pearce, Lynne. 2016. Drivetime: Literary Excursions in Automotive Consciousness. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Popan, Ioan-Cosmin. 2018. “Utopias of Slow Cycling. Imagining a Bicycle System.” PhD diss., Lancaster University.Google Scholar
  32. Royle, Nicholas. 1999. E. M. Forster. London: Northcote House Publishers.Google Scholar
  33. Seltzer, Mark. 1992. Bodies and Machines. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Stone, Wilfred. 1966. The Cave and the Mountain: A Study in E. M. Forster. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Tambling, Jeremy, ed. 1995. E. M. Forster: Contemporary Critical Essays. London: Macmillan Press.Google Scholar
  36. Thacker, Andrew. 2000. “E. M. Forster and the Motorcar.” Literature and History 9 (1): 16–37.Google Scholar
  37. Trilling, Lionel. 1964. E. M. Forster. New York: New Directions.Google Scholar
  38. Vannini, Philip. 2014. “Slowness and Deceleration.” In The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities, edited by Adey et al., 116–124. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. Virilio, Paul. 2008 [1984]. Negative Horizon: An Essay in Dromoscopy. London and New York: Continuum.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nour Dakkak
    • 1
  1. 1.Arab Open UniversityArdiyaKuwait

Personalised recommendations