A Room with a View



But You Do, He Went On, Not Waiting For Contradiction You Love The Boy Body And Soul, Plainly, Directly, As He Loves You, And No Other Word Expresses It Lucy Has Her Rigid, Middle Class Life Mapped Out For Her, Until She Visits Florence With Her Uptight Cousin Charlotte, And Finds Her Neatly Ordered Existence Thrown Off Balance Her Eyes Are Opened By The Unconventional Characters She Meets At The Pension Bertolini Flamboyant Romantic Novelist Eleanor Lavish, The Cockney Signora, Curious Mr Emerson And, Most Of All, His Passionate Son George.Lucy Finds Herself Torn Between The Intensity Of Life In Italy And The Repressed Morals Of Edwardian England, Personified In Her Terminally Dull Fianc Cecil Vyse Will She Ever Learn To Follow Her Own HeartA Room with a View

Edward Morgan Forster, generally published as E.M Forster, was an novelist, essayist, and short story writer He is known best for his ironic and well plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th century British society His humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End Only connect.He had five

[Ebook] ↠ A Room with a View Author E.M. Forster – E17streets4all.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 119 pages
  • A Room with a View
  • E.M. Forster
  • English
  • 11 July 2018
  • 9781420925432

10 thoughts on “A Room with a View

  1. says:

    There is a great line in A Room with a View about a book that has been abandoned in a garden The garden was deserted except for a red book, which lay sunning itself upon the gravel path. The author then describes what the main characters are doing in various locations adjacent to the garden, but meanwhile the red book is allowed to be caressed all the morning by the sun and to raise its covers slightly, as though to acknowledge the caress. The description of the book seems very innocent but the reader s attention is immediately caught What is the significance of this book within a book, we wonder, and why does it have a red cover.As it turns out, the immediate purpose of the red covered book on that sunny English morning is to move the story along, quickly and dramatically The red book causes certain things to happen that wouldn t otherwise have happened as if it were in fact a character in the novel with a voice of its own The plot is really very neat and makes for an entertaining read The backdrops Forster uses for the action are interesting too the shifting class structure and the new ideas on religion and politics which were emerging in England in the last decades of the nineteenth century But my favorite aspect of this beautiful novel is Art Even when everything else is in flux, Art is a constant and reliable reference which Forster returns to again and again.The first half of A Room with a View takes place in Florence The characters meet and avoid each other in a number of locations throughout the city at the Santa Croce church adorned with frescos by Giotto in the Piazza Della Signoria where Michaelangelo s David stares across at Benvenuto Cellini s bloody Medusa under the Loggia dei Lanzi at the San Miniato church, its beautiful facade visible from the very room of the title Practically every scene in the Italian half of the book features some work of art or another, directly or indirectly When the characters take a trip into the hills, landscape artists are recalled When they view Giotto s frescos, their different reactions mirror their approaches to life and living Forster continually uses the adjectives michaelangelesque and leonardesque to describe the opposing facets of the characters Once I began to notice that pattern, I recorded it in the status updates but there were examples than I ve listed there All of this is by way of explaining that Forster creates a juxtaposition of two modes of being in this novel, the cool and sedate versus the sublimely passionate, as if he himself is involved in some balancing act between sedate predictable prose and wildly unpredictable romanticism, between his own rational leonardesque qualities and his michaelangelesque tendencies, between the English half of the novel and the Italian half Two of the characters are symbols of those two extremes Lucy Honeychurch s entourage, especially her cousin Charlotte Bartlett, would like to keep Lucy on the side of the sedate George Emerson and his father would like Lucy to step over into their own dynamic world I was reminded of Virginia Woolf s Night and Day which offers similar contrasts and challenges and a similarly nuanced resolution I was unsure about what destiny Forster actually wanted for his main characters According to the introduction, he wrote two different outcomes though only one exists today However, in the end, it is as if the characters resolve the situation for themselves Charlotte Bartlett emerges as a curious and unlikely deus ex machina, and the title of the innocent looking book, sunning itself in the English garden, turns out to be Under a Loggia , nicely connecting the two halves of the novel and helping to resolve the dilemmas of the characters I ve chosen two images that I think illustrate Forster s adjectives leonardesque and michaelangelesque Leonardo s Annunciation in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence and one of Michelangelo s unfinished imprisoned slaves now in the Academia Gallery, Florence For some further thoughts on how Forster merges his story with the art of Florence, see my review of The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini I read both Forster s and Cellini s books while visiting the Tuscan capital last month and found interesting parallels between them.

  2. says:

    4.5 stars Italians are born knowing the way It would seem that the whole earth lay before them, not as a map, but as a chess board, whereon they continually behold the changing pieces as well as the squares Any one can find places, but the finding of people is a gift from God Ah, there is nothing like a vacation to rest the body and soothe one s soul well, this would be the ideal holiday in any case Family trips to Disney World would not fall in this category Nor would my latest adventures college visits Even last year s escape to a gorgeous beach resort to celebrate my 20 year anniversary could not be termed serene or inspiring or meditative after all, two teens tagging along on that momentous occasion changes the entire tone of a trip as well Don t get me wrong, it was still a lovely celebration, and who better to spend it with if one can t go alone than with the two greatest accomplishments of your twenty years of marriage Apparently, what I am in desperate need of, however, is a trip to Italy Or someplace that will infuse me with such a feeling of life as it did Lucy Honeychurch in this unforgettable novel I first read this book at the tender age of 17 when I was assigned E.M Forster as my author to delve into for an AP English project I successfully completed the task, but I can tell you that there is no way this book had the same effect then as it did now This book was brilliantly written and such a joy to read I commend Forster for his progressive feminist views While in Florence with Charlotte, her much older cousin and chaperone, Lucy meets the Emersons The elder Mr Emerson and his son George are not the typical tourists of this new Edwardian society, nor are they your average English gentlemen This is quite evident from the start when they offer to change rooms with Lucy and Charlotte While the ladies have simple rooms with a view of a courtyard, the Emerson s view is a marvelous one that takes in both the Arno and the Apennines It also becomes quite apparent early on that these men offer not just a different view of Italy, but perhaps of societal norms, love, and life itself she had an odd feeling that whenever these ill bred tourists spoke the contest widened and deepened till it dealt, not with rooms and views, but with well, with something quite different, whose existence she had not realized before Trapped between the old Victorian s and the developing and less constricting Edwardian values, Lucy s world is shaken up as she struggles with the conflict between her own true desires and the rigid expectations of her gender and her place in society A chance encounter with the young, tender and tragic George Emerson leaves Lucy feeling alternately awakened and yet sincerely confused.The second half of the novel shifts the setting to Lucy s home at Windy Corner in England Here it becomes perhaps easier to accept the social codes without the threat of the Emersons or the seductive allure of Italy Or does it Soon it becomes quite clear that Lucy s soul searching has not come to a halt she reflected that it is impossible to foretell the future with any degree of accuracy, that it is impossible to rehearse life A fault in the scenery, a face in the audience, an irruption of the audience on to the stage, and all our carefully planned gestures mean nothing, or mean too much I hesitate to give away any real details of the plot any further as not to spoil it you really just need to pick this one up and observe Lucy s struggles and transformations for yourself Forster also introduces us to Lucy s brother, Freddy, who is rather refreshingly unconventional, as well as the puffed up prig, Cecil Vyse In fact, Forster introduces an array of characters that you will not soon forget, and I love the various names attached Mr Beebe, Miss Lavish and Mr Eager The character development of each and every one is brilliant.I highly recommend this as a very accessible classic novel Not too heavy yet very forward thinking The romance is endearing without being sappy There is some wonderful satire about social conventions that I very much appreciated I seem to need a bit of humor in these classic works to lighten the mood just a bit, so well done Mr Forster The book is simply enchanting and I can t wait to watch yet another highly regarded screen adaptation 4.5 stars rounded up since I just can t stop thinking about this one I must get away, ever so far I must know my own mind and where I want to go The world is certainly full of beautiful things, if only I could come across them

  3. says:

    Considered by many to be Forster s sunny day, and most optimistic novel, would start off in Italy, an Inn in Florence to be precise Two sweet Edwardian females, Miss Lucy Honeychurch adorable name and her cousin, Charlotte the chaperone have a bit of a dilemma whilst holidaying, the silly Inn keeper promised them rooms with a view looking out onto the Arno River, but they end up facing the courtyard I would have gladly faced the courtyard if it meant being a Tuscan tourist, would have even bedded down in the cellar come to think of it, rats and all But as luck would have it, two budding hero s come to the rescue Mr Emerson, an old man seated with them at dinner suggests that Lucy and Charlotte trade rooms with him and his son, George, which, after first being rather offended at the proposal are advised to do by the Reverend Beebe, a clergyman staying in the same place, who is soon to become the vicar of Lucy s Parish back in Surrey, England.The early part of the novel really showcases Forster s use of dialogue, that finds a good balance between beauty and delicacy, between honesty and propriety When Lucy ventures out into Florence with the romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, she runs into the Emersons at the church of Santa Croce Speaking bluntly, Lucy is torn between accepting kindness and taking offense of the attention, when asked by Mr Emerson to befriend his son George, Lucy becomes uncomfortable, and hides any emotion, could it be that she is already prematurely in love with someone she only recently met Especially after she witnesses an altercation, which ends up with her falling into George s arms after a fainting episode.The novel s second half picks up some months later in Surrey, in a house named Windy Corner The house belongs to the Honeychurch family And it now appears Lucy has gained entry to an even better society, with that of the sour Cecil Vyse, who has been granted Lucy s hand in marriage no, Lucy, don t do it Cecil is an imbecile, and sees Lucy as nothing than a work of art, something to show off, like a fancy antique painting At heart he is a snob, he just doesn t realize it.It also becomes apparent Cecil has two so called friends, yes, the Emersons , who arrive back on the scene after a property becomes available on Summer Street, all to the fury of Lucy, who would go on to call off the engagement good girl , but not for the love of George Er..of course not my dear.The acutely observed characters feel so real in this novel and he breathes life into them in such a humane way, although I didn t like them all, it was a pleasure to be in their company Lucy is quite possibly the most fully fleshed, so much so that even when she lies to herself and to those around her, I found myself sympathizing with her situation instead of condemning her actions Among many things, A Room with a View is a coming of age story about one young woman s entry into adulthood, and the struggles that face Lucy as she emerges as her own woman, growing from indecision to fulfillment She is torn between strict, old fashioned Victorian values and newer, liberal morals In the tussle her own idea of what is true evolves and matures George, troubled by an existential crisis at such a young age, doesn t understand how life can be truly joyful and fulfilling, and seemed shadowed by a dark enigma and a has a question mark above his head The two are united by a shared appreciation for beauty, which might be captured in their love of views Lucy adored the view of the Arno, whilst George remembers a time of with his parents gazing at a view Each possesses what the other needs, it just takes some soul searching for them to realize it George finds simple pleasure in the company of the Honeychurchs, Lucy finds an inner courage to recognize her own individuality through time spent with the Emersons.The story did meander here and there in places, but the novels strength definitely lies in its vivid cast of characters, especially the deep exploration of Lucy s attitude towards life and love With some great humorous dialogue, and a playful nature, I was impressed, very.

  4. says:

    The Pensione pension Bertolini, in Florence, Italy, has everything for the visiting tourists, Miss Lucy Honeychurch and her older, poorer cousin, Charlotte Bartlett, a rather overbearing chaperon, fine food, not really wines not too bad, this is Italy and a room with a view Unfortunately not for the cousins, their promised accommodations went to Mr.Emerson and his quiet, gloomy son George If you can t trust the Signora Bertolini, the Italian owner of this establishment , English, than one in London, the late Queen Victoria s picture is still on the wall, with a strange Cockney accent, who can you But chivalry is not quite dead, in the early 20th century, the ill mannered Mr.Emerson, offers in front of all the other British tourists, while they consume their dinner, to exchange rooms, two for two , the men don t care, as long as they have a good bed, after hearing Charlotte s complaints Of course , Miss Bartlett turned it down, the unseemly idea, such a vulgar man, he is not a gentleman, no English reserve Looking around, she sees that confirmed on the faces of the other boarders Then again, Florence is so beautiful, the Arno River flowing nearby, not too dirty the Apennine Mountains, Cypress trees of San Miniato, she will never be here again A half hour later, the two cousins open the windows, the British love to do this the new rooms with a view A great country to stare at the exotic attractions, if only the Italians were civilized, Charlotte thinks, but all is well with the world now Miss Eleanor Ravish, a new flighty friend, at the pension, and future bad novelist, takes Lucy on a sightseeing trip, of the real Italy And promptly deserts her, for an old friend, on the streets of the city, she enters the church alone, they both, were to view How is she to get back to Bertolini Not to worry, the Emerson s are there, Mr Emerson the old Gentleman , quickly annoys, then disrupts a visiting British clergyman s lecture inside, with his loud disagreeing voice, the unhappy, perturbed flock, leaves Yet Lucy does get back home safely Feeling brave and wanting independence, and excitement, she receives than Lucy can handle, Miss Honeychurch goes out by herself While looking at a palace tower, she is a witness to a gruesome murder, the stabbing of one Italian man, against another , at close range, blood on her photographs, she just had bought , in a shop, and faints George, in love, and in the same vicinity, spying Picks Lucy up, revives her and takes the lady to safety, the Arno river is near, throwing the messy photos in the stream She can t believe he did it At a later date, descending a mountain road after viewing gorgeous Florence, from above, the weather turns bad, the two carriages full of the British visitors from the pension, including Lucy, Charlotte and the old Mr.Emerson, even Miss Lavish George, the cad , had kissed Lucy, when she fell on the ground full of exquisite violets, Charlotte luckily comes to the rescue, before who knows, what George would do next He runs away, the coward, and vanishes, nobody knows where But soon Lucy, will meet the perfect, ideal, respectable man, Cecil Vyse In the wet darkness, the rains heavy, lightning strikes, women scream, slowly the party travels, flashes of lightning, the clouds coming down, the road a liquid mess, the storm gets violent, they stop for a short rest A lightning bolt hits the road just below them

  5. says:

    She knew that the intruder was ill bred, even before she glanced at him Charlotte Bartlett.I was reminded of this, an old favourite of mine, when a Goodreads review of the book, by Apatt, had me instantly searching bookshelves for my own battered copy.E M Forster writes in a way that would seem archaic now natch , but the same codes of conduct and social divisions still apply in our modern age.In pre WWI England, travel to sunny Euro destinations was largely the province of the Edwardian upper classes.Rebel in waiting, Lucy Honeychurch takes the Grand Tour to Florence, chaperoned by her snobby Aunt Charlotte, whose manners get in the way of good common sense.Uptight spinster, Auntie Bartlett, attempts to counterbalance the nothingness of her frigid life by looking down her nose at people who possess far better qualities than she.Forster does a great job of lampooning the superciliousness and the haughtiness of an old money Brit abroad, something that he, a man from a privileged background himself, observed at very close quarters His deadpan wit is recognisably reminiscent of Oscar Wilde s and should even have the modern reader LOL ing out loud

  6. says:

    Romantic comedy this is not The rosiness of a woman stumbling upon convenient fantasy fulfillment by marrying into privilege and bourgeois wealth do not tinge the themes of this classic Rather this aspires to the novelty of a sort of female bildungsroman A woman who is roused into the acknowledgement of her desires and self through the unwitting intervention of men considered unworthy of being even good travel companions how many male authors poets dramatists of Forster s generation have cared enough about class distinctions and gender inequality to fashion such a narrative I can think of G.B Shaw a dramatist unlike Forster, but contemporaneous in stature and rise to fame who did wean a generation away from the romanticism of war and the burnish of social affluence and forced them into acknowledging the foolishness of prejudices Shaw, who gave a working class flower girl an indestructible sense of self worth and a right to reject the suave, much older, educated benefactor in favor of the younger man who loved her without reservations, should be mentioned in the same breath as Forster in my eyes Both looked upon women as humans and not as passive accessories meant to magnify the worth of the men in their lives and that s reason enough for me to be an unabashed fangirl for life He had robbed the body of its taint, the world s taunts of their sting he had shown her the holiness of direct desire Sexually and emotionally inhibited young woman savoring personal liberty for the first time through the love of a man of inferior social standing who assumes a consciously passive role in earning her affections this was, perhaps, Forster s way of contradicting and affirming Austenian values at the same time The very possibility of the intersection of marital bliss and lack of wealth and connections in a prospective husband and disregard for societal approval lay well outside the limits of Austen s imagination but she did endow her many women characters with enough dimensions to be keenly distinguishable from each other They have sinned against passion and truth, and vain will be their strife after virtue As the years pass, they are censured Their pleasantry and their piety show cracks, their wit becomes cynicism, their unselfishness hypocrisy they feel and produce discomfort wherever they go What else is there to say Here s to the unexpected joy of discovering another male author of the last century, who was effortlessly free of the abysmal sexism that is so regrettably palpable in the work of many novelists of all genders of the present Here s to a great story teller who ventured beyond the narrow horizons conferred on him by his times I foresee much Forster in my future.

  7. says:

    Edwardian era propriety meets Italian passion with entertaining results in E.M Forster s sunny, slight, but ever so charming comedy of manners Well known from the sumptuous Merchant Ivory adaptation which I rewatched immediately after finishing the book , the novel tells the story of Lucy Honeychurch, a proper English girl who, while on vacation in Florence with her cousin chaperone, Miss Bartlett, meets George Emerson, a handsome but odd philosophical soul, who s travelling with his eccentric, truth telling father.All four are staying at the Pension Bertolini, and the others they meet there the lady novelist Eleanor Lavish, the two older, unmarried sisters dubbed the Miss Alans , and someone from Lucy s village, the very accommodating Reverend Arthur Beebe will cross paths with them later in unexpected ways As in the other books by him I ve read, Forster s narration is delightfully genial He ll remind us, for instance, that we haven t really spent much time with a particular character, tell us that we know about Lucy s actions than she does herself, hint at plot developments to come, and generally treat his characters with a satiric, gently chiding tone At times that tone can seem trivial midway through the book I felt it was all just so much upper middle class flim flam More quibbles George s physical treatment of Lucy, especially in light of today s sensitivity around consent, seems less romantic than troubling And I know we re meant to be at a remove from the authentic Italians in the first half of the book, but I wish we got than just clich s about tempestuous murderers and horny carriage drivers But there is so much to enjoy in the book the tart dialogue, the grand themes of love, country vs city life, fate and coincidence there s even a comment on the idea of novels and writers themselves Lucy s mother, a fine comic creation, has a preposterous attitude towards female writers that I m sure Forster, a friend and admirer of Virginia Woolf s, for one, didn t share I also like that the book s stuffiest character, Lucy s fianc , the pretentious aesthete Cecil Vyse a whole review could be written on the book s beautifully suggestive names , comes across with his dignity intact in his later scenes.If anything, of the main players only the character of George seems the thinnest, which is perhaps why he s given some intriguing actions in the film otherwise he might be a cipher And I like how a significant scene near the end makes us reflect on the nature and motivation of Charlotte But above all, I ll remember this book for its knowing glimpse into the life of a girl discovering her voice, freedom and strength even in a restrictive society It s suggested early in the book that Lucy, a pianist, plays Beethoven in a way that is surprising if she could apply that same passion to her life it would be quite thrilling to watch By the end of the book, we see her begin to do that, and yes, it s quite something.

  8. says:

    I m a sucker for a sweet, kind hearted, na ve and sheltered heroine Especially when they slowly learn how to be brave So this book was perfect for me to read.Lucy Honeychurch how s that for a name is a sheltered young Englishwoman in 1908 She lives with her mother and little brother Freddy She goes on an exciting travel abroad trip with her stuffy older cousin There she meets the Emersons also English old Mr Emerson who is loving and honest to a fault His outspoken ways are considered vulgar and shocking, but Lucy thinks he s sweet and recognizes his good heart And his son George Emerson a dashing, thoughtful, rather melancholy man who soon turns Lucy s world upside down.Why Because he s handsome Because he s charming No Because he encourages her to think for herself and introduces her to all sorts of crazy ideas about gender equality I love this type of old fashioned romance novel where the hero has actual substance and not just a set of six pack abs.Lucy slowly, slowly starts to think for herself She starts to grasp what life is really about living, people, nature, love not what she s been trained to think that it s about gossip, being proper, religion, and society s opinion.She makes a huge mistake in bowing to societal pressure and getting engaged to the priggish, domineering, bossy, judgmental and pretentious Cecil Vyse He adores telling her how to think, who to like, who to sneer at he loves sneering He s training her to be a pompous a hole, just like he is Luckily for Lucy, George moves into the neighborhood, setting her mind and heart awhirl for a second time.Will she stay with Cecil Will she end up with George I m always worried going into a classic book Sometimes I love them Anna Karenina, Gone with the Wind, Little Women, Watership Down, White Fang and sometimes there are boring and dreary and a total slog to get through Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Two Years Before the Mast.I was pleasantly surprised that this book was a joy to read It s written in a relaxed, easy style that is fun and relatable I was completely caught up and swept away by Lucy s problems Cecil was infuriating me to no end I was yelling at him and cursing him out Every time George showed up, I d hold my breath, waiting to see what liberal philosophies he was going to tell Lucy about and get her mind working again.I felt like Cecil was the most frustrating, anger inducing character When an author writes an evil character, let s say a rapist or a murderer or a child abuser or a slaver, it s obvious this person is bad news You the reader hate him, the protagonist hates him, and you only have to worry about what evil he ll wreck on people s lives Villains like Cecil are much insidious They don t commit crimes, or physically hurt anyone Instead, they take great delight in putting other people down in subtle ways, controlling others, and caring only about themselves and their own needs Cecil doesn t KNOW he s a jerk he s very insecure about his masculinity and therefore takes out his doubt and frustration by pretending to be the big man, telling others what to do all the time and expressing contempt for people that he sees as beneath him He uses Lucy as a prop for his own ego she is such a sweet, innocent, sheltered woman that he makes the mistake in thinking she s also docile Having someone like this at his side makes him feel like a big, strong man Putting others down and making them feel small is also a way he makes himself feel better But he is proper and has money and good standing in society, so Lucy thinks he must be right in his opinions and everyone around her encourages her to marry him.Lucy herself impressed me a lot I could see that a lot of people would just see her as a sheltered girl who is rather stupid But I don t She s being raised in a society where being proper is everything Women aren t supposed to think, they re supposed to get married and have children Lucy is someone I admire because even though she s sheltered, she hungers for a world greater than the one she s living in She doesn t even realize it, but there s a big hole in her life that afternoon tea with gossipy ladies can t fill Going to Italy and seeing the beauty and different society there starts to open up her eyes aided by a kiss from George.After moving back to England, she finds herself again bowing to the constraints and demands of proper English society She makes a mistake in getting engaged to Cecil But when George shows up again, the gears in her head start turning again and she view spoiler realizes that Cecil is annoying and tiring to be around She bravely goes to him and breaks off their engagement She tells him straight out that his behavior is appalling and she doesn t appreciate him telling her what to do and think She expresses anger that he looks down at her mother and brother with contempt I thought she was so brave and strong to be able to do this I really admired her In the end, she STILL doesn t want to admit that she loves George, but a heart to heart talk with George s father soon straightens her out She elopes with George but has to accept estrangement from her family and friends for her scandalous, improper behavior hide spoiler

  9. says:

    3.5I am in a classics mood, but after my recent completion of War and Peace I decided to try something a little lighter and less than one tenth of the size This is how I found my way towards E M Forster s 130 page novel about a woman who is forced to make a decision between marrying a wealthy man she will never love and a man of lower class who she knows she can be happy with Funnily enough, I think it was this story s length that slightly let it down for me, had it been a longer book I m sure I would have fallen in love with George as everyone else seems to.This book was published in 1908 a time somewhat between eras for British society Women could own property and were becoming increasingly free, authors like Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charlotte Bront Co had taken the nineteenth century by storm, and yet women still did not have the vote and they would be expected to get married young, stay at home, and have babies for decades to come Into this world strolls Lucy Honeychurch, at first a very naive and typical young woman of the time period But a woman who, as the book progresses, eventually challenges societal conventions and limitations.E M Forster is famous for his stories about British society and class and hypocrisy He was a gay man who spent his entire life hiding his sexuality from an unforgiving world made up of expectations and a very black and white view of what was right and wrong Though his personal struggles weren t made clear until after his death with the publication of Maurice, it is obvious to me that A Room with a View is just one of his various attempts to poke fun at the rigidity of class, gender and sexual boundaries.Lucy longs for independence, freedom from the constrictions of being a woman in 1908, being upper middle class, being a label with a set of rules that she is expected to follow She wants to live as she goes and define herself in that way, not in a predetermined fashion that stems from centuries of inequalities and the desire for appropriateness I cannot tell you just how much I loved this idea, I only wanted a longer story to make it perfect Lucy is such a charming and interesting character that she could have easily held my attention for double the amount of pages in this incredibly short book Also, I wasn t quite sold on George and I think I was supposed to be, that the point was that the reader would come to love the man who wasn t as wealthy, who wasn t as well educated A little time to get to know George would have made me happy.

  10. says:

    Love is in the air or maybe anxiously repressed in February and my romantic literature jag begins with A Room with a View, the 1908 novel by E.M Forster Like a candy store, this book offers a bounty of treats that I found irresistible There s a holiday in Italy There s a boarding house with much ado There are young lovers Lucy Honeychurch and George Emerson There are bridges, summer storms and a hillside covered in great blue violets There s a return to the heroine s home in Surrey, England dubbed Windy Corner and intrigue to keep the lovers apart Experts say that eating too much candy will rot your teeth out, but I left the store with a grin.The story begins with Miss Charlotte Bartlett chaperoning her younger cousin Miss Lucy Honeychurch as they check in to their hotel, the Pension Bertolini, in Florence Promised rooms overlooking the Arno River, the ladies are booked into rooms facing a courtyard Charlotte s peevish wrangling gets the attention of an old man who announces that he has a view He offers to swap rooms with the women and is immediately rebuked by Charlotte, who considers the man ill bred and his proposal untoward An Anglican clergyman named Mr Beebe, who Charlotte recognizes from Lucy s parish of Spring Street in the countryside of Surrey, compels her to accept the trade.Once Mr Emerson and his son George exchange rooms with the women, the guests are seated for dinner Recalling his parishioner s talent on the piano, Mr Beebe finds himself much engaged by Lucy, who only seeks to please, and maybe enjoy herself on her holiday, over the fussy Charlotte At dinner, a little old lady drops into the conversation offering unsolicited tourist advice her name is Miss Eleanor Lavish The next morning, while Charlotte rests, Miss Lavish offers to escort Lucy on an adventure The old lady demands Lucy shut her Baedeker guidebook, which she believes touches only the surface of things Accordingly, they drifted through a series of those gray brown streets, neither commodious nor picturesque, in which the eastern quarter of the city abounds Lucy soon lost interest in the discontent of Lady Louisa, and became discontented herself For one ravishing moment Italy appeared She stood in the Square of the Annunziata and saw in the living terracotta those divine babies whom no cheap reproduction can ever stale There they stood, with their shining limbs bursting from the garments of charity, and their strong white arms extended against circlets of heaven Lucy thought she had never seen anything beautiful but Miss Lavish, with a shriek of dismay, dragged her forward, declaring that they were out of their path now by at least a mile.Lucy and Miss Lavish end up in the Basilica of Santa Croce, where the escort becomes distracted by her local colour box and abandons Lucy to gab with him Lucy enters the Franciscan church and encounters Mr Emerson, whose son George invites Lucy to join them Mr Emerson s theological opinions grow so boisterous that his voice drowns out a tour group led by a fellow guest, a curate named Mr Eager Lucy finds Mr Emerson to be foolish, irreligious and the sort that her mother would not want her to associate with, and she is unnerved by the melancholy of George Conversely, Mr Emerson feels sorry for Lucy, so concerned with doing what she thinks will please others.While Miss Lavish and Charlotte pair up, Lucy feels left out She goes alone to the Piazza Signoria, purchasing photographs and other objects of beauty she comes across Lucy stumbles into an argument between two Italian men which turns violent, with one stabbing and killing the other As she swoons, George Emerson comes to her rescue Escorting Lucy back to the pension, George returns to the square upon her request retrieve her photographs, which he awkwardly disposes of in the Arno, explaining that they had blood on them Discussing the murder they ve witnessed and how to move forward, George replies cryptically, I shall want to live, I say Lucy agrees to join Charlotte, the Emersons, Mr Beebe, Miss Lavish and Mr Eager on an excursion by carriage to the summit of the Torre del Gallo She learns that Miss Lavish aspires to write a novel about Florence Lucy is pelted with questions by the little old lady about the murder she witnessed Mr Eager joins Charlotte in his contempt for the widowed Mr Emerson, who the curate blames for the death of Mrs Emerson Since her brush with death, Lucy has begun to see through the pretensions of her fellow travelers The carriage party splits up and when Lucy stumbles in a field of deep blue violets, she is kissed by George Emerson Her cousin witnesses the act Well, I am no prude There is no need to call him a wicked young man, but obviously he is thoroughly unrefined Let us put it down to his deplorable antecedents and education, if you wish But we are no further on with our question What do you propose to do An idea rushed across Lucy s brain, which, had she thought of it sooner and made it part of her, might have proved victorious I propose to speak to him, said she.Miss Bartlett uttered a cry of genuine alarm You see, Charlotte, your kindness I shall never forget it But as you said it is my affair Mine and his Rather than speak to George Emerson, Lucy buckles under her cousin s will and departs for Rome in the morning Three months later, she has returned home with a fianc named Cecil Van Vyse From her family home in the Surrey hills, a country district developed by her late father they call Windy Corner, Mrs Honeychurch and Lucy s teenage brother Freddy discuss the engagement Freddy doesn t hate Cecil, but doesn t much like him, while Lucy s mother finds her son in law clever, rich and well connected A man of high ideals who sees through Lucy as if she were a work of art rather than a woman, Cecil is contemptuous of the local society affairs his bride drags him to.Cecil decides to have some sport with a neighbor in Windy Corner who seeks to let a cottage Though Lucy makes overtures to a pair of dear old English ladies she met in Florence called the Miss Alans to take the house, Cecil brokers the cottage for a father and son he meets in a London art museum, the Emersons Freddy invites George Emerson for a swim in a hidden pond he knows well, with the vicar Mr Beebe reluctantly tagging along When she is reunited with George, Lucy struggles to keep her composure, even though her Florence affair is half naked and wet His relationship with Lucy known only to George and to Charlotte, Freddy invites George for tennis at Windy Corner The intrigue rises when Lucy learns that her mother has invited Charlotte down from London to repair at Windy Corner while her plumbing is being fixed Cecil becomes obsessed with an awful novel he s discovered and as he reads the prose aloud, Lucy discovers it to be Miss Lavish s book The account of Florence contains a thinly veiled version of Lucy s brief encounter with George, which she is forced to relive with George present as her fianc reads it aloud Lucy confronts her cousin about betraying her confidence to Miss Lavish and confronted by George alone, is again kissed by him George urges her not to marry Cecil and Lucy is torn between who she will elect to disappoint The contest lay not between love and duty Perhaps there never is such a contest It lay between the real and the pretended, and Lucy s first aim was to defeat herself As her brain clouded over, as the memory of the views grew dim and the words of the book died away, she returned to her old shibboleth of nerves She conquered her breakdown Tampering with the truth, she forgot that the truth had ever been Remembering that she was engaged to Cecil, she compelled herself to confused remembrances of George he was nothing to her he never had been anything, he had behaved abominably she had never encouraged him The armour of falsehood is subtly wrought out of darkness, and hides a man not only from others, but from his own soul In a few moments Lucy was equipped for battle. A Room with a View is divided into two parts Florence and Windy Corner and I was twittering in the 20th century sense through part one Lucy Honeychurch is such a passive character initially, bullied by her cousin, hounded by her mother s values and introduced to outspoken men she has been told to disapprove of Forster devotes a great deal of attention to Lucy s henpecking and I was struck by how long the poor girl put up with it The author s sumptuous prose and travelogue kept me engaged, and when he moves the story to England, it takes off Freddy Honeychurch is quite a pinball, while Lucy s fianc Cecil Van Vyse is a dickhead for all times He saw that the local society was narrow, but instead of saying, Does this very much matter he rebelled, and tried to substitute for it the society he called broad He did not realize that Lucy had consecrated her environment by the thousand little civilities that create a tenderness in time, and that through her eyes saw its defects her heart refused to despite it entirely Nor did he realize a important point that if she was too great for this society she was too great for all society, and had reached the stage where personal intercourse would alone satisfy her A rebel she was, but not of the kind he understood a rebel who desired, not a wider dwelling room, but equality beside the man she loved For Italy was offering her the most priceless of all possessions her own soul.While Lucy s thoughts and passions are masked in Florence, once the story moves to Windy Corner, Freddy and Cecil show no decorum and through those characters, Forster s wit is unbound There s a wonderful comedy of manners in which the boys harangue Charlotte Bartlett to accept reimbursement for her cab ride over, with neither side willing to lose face by taking money when that is exactly what each side wants Lucy does slowly assert herself and finds her own voice amid all the henpecking, but the young lovers are eclipsed by Freddy and Cecil and the novel, despite Forster s delightful writing and seasonable insights, comes up just short of complete satisfaction.The furor stirred up by a woman simply kissing a man on holiday was difficult for me to relate to, but by the end of the book, I came to appreciate the awakening Lucy experienced E.M Forster wrote six novels, five of which have been adapted to film, including A Room with a View in 1986, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards Produced by Ismail Merchant and directed by James Ivory, it features Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy Honeychurch, Maggie Smith as Charlotte Bartlett, Julian Sands as George Emerson, Daniel Day Lewis as Cecil Van Vyse, Denholm Elliott as Mr Emerson and Judi Dench as Miss Lavish Forster s character names sing and so does this novel.

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