In Search of a House with a View: The conception of dwelling in E.M. Forster’s Howards End and Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea

Tereza Topolovská


This article elaborates on the thematic connections between E.M. Forster’s 1910 Howards End and Iris Murdoch’s 1978 The Sea, The Sea, namely their poetic conception of dwelling. Besides echoing the major social and cultural concerns of their individual periods, these novels vigorously examine timeless issues as the nature of dwelling, the extent of the influence of a social class on the treatment of environmental issues. Both novels mirror the wide-ranging and longstanding debate that engages with diverse variables of the equation comprising technological progress, undisturbed nature and intensity of human involvement. The great variety of subject matter in both novels might easily have resulted in a melange of pompous moralising had they not featured two houses, namely Howards End and Shruff End, whose symbolism anchors the narration while adding to the thematic richness of both works. Operating both on metaphorical and literal levels, the houses in question provide a solid foundation for the analysis of the texts.


Dwelling, E.M. Forster, Iris Murdoch, poetics of space

Full Text:



Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. [1958] Boston: Beacon Press, 1994. Print.

Bowen, Elizabeth. The Hotel. [1927] Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1943. Print.

---. The Last September. [1929] London: Penguin Books, 1943. Print.

---. The House in Paris. [1935] New York : Knopf, 1936. Print.

---. Bowen Court &Seven Winters. London: Vintage Books, 1999. Print.

Bradbury, Malcolm. The Modern British Novel. London: Penguin Books, 1994. Print.

Chalupský, Petr. The Postmodern City of Dreadful Night. The Image of the City in the Works of Martin Amis and Ian McEwan. Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, 2009. Print.

Day, Elizabeth. “Elizabeth Jane Howard: ‘I’m 90. Writing is what gets me up in the morning.” The Observer. 7 April 2013. Web. 29 July 2013.

DeLillo, Don. The Body Artist. [2001]London: Picador, 2011. Print.

Dimbleby, David. How We Built Britain. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2007. Print.

Ford, Maddox Ford. Parade’s End. [1928] London: Campbell, 1992. Print.

Forster, Edward Morgan. A Room with a View. [1908] London: Penguin Books, 2000. Print.

---. Howards End. [1910] London: Penguin Books, 2000. Print.

---. Two Cheers for Democracy. [1951] London: Penguin Books, 1965. Print.

Foucault, Michel. “Of Other Spaces.” [1967] In Diacritics. Vol. 16, No.1, 1986. 22-27. Print.

Fowles, John. The Collector. [1963] London: Vintage, 2004. Print.

Franková, Milada. Human Relationships in the Novels of Iris Murdoch. Brno: Masarykova univerzita, 1995. Print.

Girouard, Mark. A Country House Companion. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. Print.

Harries, Karsten. The Ethical Function of Architecture. Cambridge: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1997. Print.

Heidegger, Martin. (2001): Poetry, Language, Thought. New York: Perennial Classics, 2001. Print.

Howard, Elizabeth Jane. The Light Years. [1990] London: Pan Books, 1991. Print.

Lucas, John. “The Sunlight on the Garden.” Seeing Double, Revisioning Edwardian and Modernist Literature. Ed. C.M. Kaplan A.B. Simpson, London: Macmilan Press, 1996. 59-75. Print.

Mandler, Peter. The Fall and Rise of the Stately Home. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1997. Print.

McEwan, Ian. Amsterdam. [1998] London: Vintage Books, 1999. Print.

Monbiot, George. “I love nature. For this I am called bourgeois, romantic – even fascist.” The Guardian. 8 July 2013. Web. 16 July 2013.

Murdoch, I. The Sea, The Sea. [1978] London: Vintage, 1999. Print.

Poole, Steven. “Is our love of nature writing bourgeois escapism?” The Guardian. 6 July 2013. Web. 16 July 2013.

---. “I belong in a field.” 6 July 2013. Web. 11 October 2014.

Robbins, Martin. “Class and the Countryside.” The Guardian. 9 July 2013. Web. 21 July 2013.

Sackville-West, Vita. All Passion Spent. [1931] London: Virago Press, 1986. Print.

Sharr, Adam. Heidegger’s Hut. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 2006. Print.

Spurr, David. Architecture and Modern Literature. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2012.

Stone, Wilfred. “Howards End: Red-bloods and Mollycoddles.” The Cave and the Mountain, A Study of E.M. Foster. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1966. 234-275. Print.

---. “Forster, the Environmentalist”. Seeing Double, Revisioning Edwardian and Modernist Literature. Ed. C.M. Kaplan A.B. Simpson, London: Macmilan Press, 1996. 174-192. Print.

Topolovská, Tereza. “Days of Peculiar Splendour: Howards End and The Sea, The Sea in the Context of Summer House Fiction.” English Language and Literature Studies. Toronto: Canadian Center of Science and Education.Vol.5, Issue 3, 2015, 1-12. Print.

Weldon, Fay. “Weekend.” Teaching English, 2013. Web. 12 Aug. 2013.

Williams, Raymond. (1993). The Country and the City. [1973] London: The Hogarth Press, 1993. Print.

Woolf, Virginia. Orlando: A Biography. [1928] London: Penguin Books, 2006. Print.

---. A Haunted House: The Complete Shorter Fiction. London: Vintage Books, 2003. Print.

---. A Room of One’s Own. [1929] London: Penguin Books, 2000.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.