A chance acquaintance brings together the prosperous bourgeois Wilcox family and the clever, cultured, and idealistic Schlegel sisters. As clear-eyed Margaret develops a friendship with Mrs. Wilcox, the impetuous Helen brings into their midst a young bank clerk named Leonard Bast, who lives at the edge of poverty and ruin. When Mrs. Wilcox dies, her family discovers that she wants to leave her country home, Howards End, to Margaret. Thus Forster sets in motion a chain of events that will entangle three different families and brilliantly portrays their aspirations for personal and social harmony. David Lodge's Introduction provides an absorbing and eloquent overture to the 1910 novel that established Forster's reputation as a major twentieth-century writer.