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A Room With a View by E. M. Forster

A Room With a View (original 1908; edition 2009)

by E. M. Forster, David Leavitt (Introduction)

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7,918147415 (3.94)1 / 564
Title:A Room With a View
Authors:E. M. Forster
Other authors:David Leavitt (Introduction)
Info:Signet Classics (2009), Mass Market Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster (1908)

  1. 30
    Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (upster)
    upster: It's refreshing and fun
  2. 20
    The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim (SylviaC)
  3. 10
    Howards End by E. M. Forster (sturlington)
    sturlington: Where A Room with a View is comedy, Howards End is tragedy.
  4. 00
    The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe (StarryNightElf)
    StarryNightElf: Two ladies travel in Europe during the Edwardian Era.
  5. 11
    Merchant Ivory's English Landscape by John Pym (carlym)
    carlym: [Merchant Ivory's English Landscape] includes quite a few photos from the movie version of [A Room with a View].

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English (139)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  All (147)
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
"A Room With a View" is a love story. The plot literally involves a room with a view, but I think Forster had a more philosophical idea in mind when he named the book.

Written in 1908 it is the story of a young woman from England who feels trapped in a relationship with a man she doesn’t love. Thank goodness long gone are the days when a mere kiss could ruin a girl’s reputation - but that was the case in the Edwardian Era. And once committed to marry - well, by that time even if there had been no physical contact, a woman was bound by her promise.

In the opening scene Lucy Honeychurch is traveling with an elder cousin Charlotte as her chaperone. Charlotte is lecturing Lucy on proper behavior, “It was not that ladies were inferior to men; it was that they were different. Their mission was to inspire others to achievements rather than to achieve themselves. Indirectly, by means of tact and a spotless name, a lady could accomplish so much. But if she rushed into the fray herself she would be first censured, then despised, and finally ignored. Poems had been written to illustrate the point.”

When Lucy and Charlotte arrive in Florence, Italy and are disappointed to find their rooms are in a dark corner of the hotel facing the courtyard. A nice, but somewhat eccentric, gentleman George Emerson and his son George offer to change rooms so they can have a room with a view of the Arno river. Even this small act of kindness is considered improper, but a clergyman traveling with Lucy’s tour group assures everyone it is okay. So the rooms are swapped, and the Emerson’s accompany Lucy and her travel companions to various tour sites.

After young George Emerson over-steps the boundaries of propriety, shaming Lucy with a passionate kiss in front of her cousin, they immediately pack up and head for their next stop - where Lucy meets Cecil, the man who will propose marriage to her. Cecil has impeccable manners and with proper manners asks for the first kiss.

From that point on, the story is one of inner conflict for Lucy. Should she marry the proper man - from a good family and respected background - who will school her in etiquette, the arts, and finer things in life? Should she try to forget that fateful kiss and her attraction to George Emerson? What else can she do..... to act in any other way will bring shame to her family, and ruin to her own reputation.

Forster does a wonderful job of illustrating the cultural conditions at the turn of the century. The characters are vividly brought to life, and emotions expressed boldly. Lucy’s pain is palpable. And the story includes humor.... like the scene where the guys (including the clergyman) are caught skinny-dipping.

And the comical descriptive titles for the chapters:
“How Lucy Faced the External Situation”
“Lying to George”.... that’s the good kisser - young Emerson
“Lying to Cecil”......that’s the fiance
“Lying to Mr. Beebe”.... that’s the clergyman... yes, she even lied to him. Poor Lucy. She never intended to be so dishonest. She was just trying to do the right thing.

"A Room With a View" is rated number 79 on the Modern Library list of best 100 novels of all time. ( )
  LadyLo | Jan 19, 2017 |
I had the great pleasure of listening to this via an Audible recording by B.J. Harrison, whose narration was wonderful. It's an early Forster, in which he delightfully skewers Edwardian upper middle class manners. A young woman takes a tour of Italy, with a rather purse-lipped older cousin/chaperone, and of course falls in love, to her own dismay, flees, makes bad choices, and then good ones.

The characters are vividly different, and include sneering expats, an inappropriately wild female novelist, a clergyman, a pair of older British spinsters, and even a rather un-Italian pension proprietress. The writing is equally vivid. What is most striking to me is how Forster makes us privy to the thoughts of our heroine Lucy Honeychurch (what a name!). We hear her testing her conventions and emotions, as Italy shows her the possibilities of generous feeling, as well as the dangers of passion. Back home, she struggles to re-adapt to the expectations of society, but plans go delightfully awry.

I've rarely laughed out loud walking uptown listening to a novel, but I did several times listening to this. ( )
  ffortsa | Dec 16, 2016 |
This was engaging enough, but I think _A Passage to India_ and _Howards End_ are Forster's best. ( )
  Sareene | Oct 22, 2016 |
This book fits in nicely between the classic romances of the nineteenth century and contemporary fiction. Victorian England lingers on in Cousin Charlotte's insistence on following rigid social conventions as she accompanies young Lucy Honeychurch on a tour of Italy. But an offer to trade for a room with a view sets Lucy on the path to a future beyond those restrictions. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
The answer to the question, "Which book should I pack in my carry-on to Italy?" ( )
  dele2451 | Mar 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
E M Forsters romantext präglas av en oerhört njutbar balans mellan utsagt och outsagt, mellan ytlig elegans och underförstådda referenser till en betydligt dunklare verklighet.

» Add other authors (53 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forster, E.M.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ekman, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simpson, MonaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stallybrass, OliverEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, CandaceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"The Signora had no business to do it," said Miss Bartlett, "no business at all. She promised us south rooms with a view close together, instead of which here are north rooms, looking into a courtyard, and a long way apart. Oh, Lucy!"
She joined the vast armies of the benighted, who follow neither the heart nor the brain, and march to their destiny by catch-words.
If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays [piano], it will be very exciting both for us and for her.
She was like a woman of Leonardo da Vinci, whom we love not so much for herself as for the things that she will not tell us.
There is a certain amount of kindness, just as there is a certain amount of light,” he continued in measured tones. “We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won’t do harm—yes, choose a place where you won’t do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.”<>
It makes a difference, doesn’t it, whether we fence ourselves in, or whether we are fenced out by the barriers of others?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553213237, Mass Market Paperback)

This Edwardian social comedy explores love and prim propriety among an eccentric cast of characters assembled in an Italian pensione and in a corner of Surrey, England.

A charming young Englishwoman, Lucy Honeychurch, faints into the arms of a fellow Britisher when she witnesses a murder in a Florentine piazza. Attracted to this man, George Emerson—who is entirely unsuitable and whose father just may be a Socialist—Lucy is soon at war with the snobbery of her class and her own conflicting desires. Back in England, she is courted by a more acceptable, if stifling, suitor and soon realizes she must make a startling decision that will decide the course of her future: she is forced to choose between convention and passion.

The enduring delight of this tale of romantic intrigue is rooted in Forster’s colorful characters, including outrageous spinsters, pompous clergymen, and outspoken patriots. Written in 1908, A Room with a View is one of E. M. Forster’s earliest and most celebrated works.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:05 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"The love of a young British woman named Lucy Honeychurch for a British expatriate living in Italy is condemned by her stuffy, middle-class guardians, who prefer an eligible man of their own choosing." -- Provided by publisher.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 25 descriptions

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18 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141183292, 0241951488, 0141199822

Feral House

An edition of this book was published by Feral House.

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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Tantor Media

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