Howards End, E.M. Forster
Edward Arnold & Company, 1910
Mature as he was, she might yet be able to help him to the building of the rainbow bridge that should connect the prose in us with the passion. Without it we are meaningless fragments, half monks, half beasts, unconnected arches that have never joined into a man. With it love is born, and alights on the highest curve, glowing against the grey, sober against the fire. Happy the man who sees from either aspect the glory of these outspread wings. The roads of his soul lie clear, and he and his friends shall find easy-going.
Like modern day street artists at work in the dead of night, a group of writers join together to create their own unique brand of art that they paint to the walls of a virtual library. Here, they pay tribute to the works of others that ignite the imaginations and passions of their inner selves, tagging the sacred texts, films, and music with their own reflections. No offense is intended. On the contrary, the collective effort is a labor of love put forth to celebrate the works and artists that fan the flames burning brightly within their souls.
It was hard-going in the roads of Mr. Wilcox’s soul. From boyhood he had neglected them. “I am not a fellow who bothers about my own inside.” Outwardly he was cheerful, reliable, and brave; but within, all had reverted to chaos, ruled, so far as it was ruled at all, by an incomplete asceticism. Whether as boy, husband, or widower, he had always the sneaking belief that bodily passion is bad, a belief that is desirable only when held passionately.
Additionally, the contributors of this library seek to demonstrate connections born from the celebrated art, whether by introducing particular works to a new audience or else connecting existing admirers together in shared reflection.
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.
It is understood that not everyone will agree with the methods employed or even agree with the works selected. But, conversely, what would be the point of remaining silent when something induces such awakening?
What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives? They have never entered into mine, but into yours, we thought—Haven’t we all to struggle against life’s daily greyness, against pettiness, against mechanical cheerfulness, against suspicion? I struggle by remembering my friends; others I have known by remembering some place—some beloved place or tree—we thought you one of these.
Declarations shall be made, opinions relinquished to the wind. Living and breathing works are thereby toasted in ceremonious, festive recognition.
It will be generally admitted that Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man. All sorts of conditions are satisfied by it. Whether you’re like Mrs. Munt, and tap surreptitiously when the tunes come—of course, not so as to disturb the others—; or like Helen, who can see heroes and shipwrecks in the music’s flood; or like Margaret, who can only see the music; or like Tibby, who is profoundly versed in counterpoint, and holds the full score open on his knee; or like their cousin, Fraulein Mosebach, who remembers all the time that Beethoven is “echt Deutsch”; or like Fraulein Mosebach’s young man, who can remember nothing Fraulein Mosebach: in any case, the passion of your life becomes more vivid. . . .
As alive as the art itself is, so is the engagement of the audience, their response, and also the spirited disagreements that are triggered. That I cannot imagine anything more rhythmically gorgeous than a Paul Bowles sentence while a friend can scoff at such a notion and bring up Kavalier & Clay. That our views on the Sex Pistols are what they are: polar and intense.
The beauty of it all lies not only in the eye of the beholder but in the convergence of collective inspiration derived, inspiration that can bring us closer together, connecting us, from artist to audience and audience to audience. Hopefully, in no small way, we may even become more aware not only of each other but maybe too our surroundings, and even our pasts and futures.
The Age or Property holds bitter moments even for a proprietor. When a move is imminent, furniture becomes ridiculous, and Margaret now lay awake at nights wondering where, where on earth they and all their belonging would be deposited in September next. Chairs, tables, pictures, books, that had rumbled down to them through the generations, must rumble forward again like a slide of rubbish to which she longed to give the final push, and send toppling into the sea. But there were all their father’s books—they never read them, but they were their father’s, and must be kept. There was the marble-topped chiffonier—their mother had set store by it, they could not remember why. Round every knob and cushion in the house sentiment gathered, a sentiment that was at times personal, but more often a faint piety to the dead, a prolongation of rites that might have ended at the grave.
It is wonderful that many riches in this world are not limited to a select few but are available to us all: a grandmother’s memories, a mother’s love, a family in any form that surrounds us with unique wisdom and guidance, a community of friends to share the joys of a great book or film or song that just so happens to move us along the way.