Discussion Forums - Classic Literature

Topic: A Room With A View Discussion Entire Book

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: A Room With A View Discussion Entire Book
Date Posted: 3/6/2009 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
Back To Top

Here are some questions to spark discussion, but feel free to ignore them and just post your thoughts on the book!



Talk about the characters in the novel. Which of them touched you the most? What did the characters learn about themselves, each other and life?



Tell about some of the themes of the novel that struck you.


Have you read anything else by Forster? Would you recommend this book to others? To a particular person?



Date Posted: 3/6/2009 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
Back To Top

A little about Forster:

Edward Morgan Forster was born on New Year's Day, 1879, in Dorset Square, London, the second child (the first died soon after birth) of middle-class parents, Edward Llewellyn Forster, a Cambridge graduate and architect, and Alice Clara "Lily" Whichelo. When his son was just one, Forster's father died after a long battle with consumption, leaving the family little money and making Lily a widow at twenty-five. Unwilling to live with relatives and unable to afford a London apartment, Lily moved to a house in the English countryside, Rooksnest, where she devoted herself to her son. At Rooksnest, Forster's life was spent in the nurturing, overprotective "haze of elderly ladies" that included paternal aunts and Lily's friends, and he formed a deep emotional attachment to the place, drawing later on the memories for Howards End.

When Forster was fourteen, he and Lily faced the disheartening news that their lease at Rooksnest was up, and they moved to the suburb of Tonbridge Wells. Here, Forster attended the boarding school as a day boy, with classics as his major study. At Tonbridge he wrote for the school newspaper and won several awards for his essays, but nonetheless it was here, a place that contrasted so sharply with his happy home life, where his feelings of being an outsider hardened into an abiding distaste for the English school system

Forster's intellectual and social life blossomed when, in 1897, he entered King's College, Cambridge. With the guidance and encouragement of his classics professor, Forster grew to admire the modern European writers Tolstoy, Proust, and Ibsen, and began to test his own powers as a writer. It was during these years, too, that he first began to acknowledge his homosexuality, falling in love with another undergraduate, H. O. Meredith, who would be the center of his posthumously published novel
Maurice. Meredith helped Forster become a member of the "Apostles," the university's foremost discussion group, where he formed friendships with many of the intellectuals later associated with the Bloomsbury Group in London.

In 1901, with his formal education over and uncertain about a career, Forster, accompanied by Lily, set off on a year-long trip to Italy to study Italian history, language, art, and literature, and to work on a novel-in-progress. In 1903 he published his first short story, "Albergo Empedocle," and soon thereafter started to write for the
Independent Review, a social and political journal founded by his Cambridge friends, to which he would contribute regularly for many years. His first three published novels, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907), and A Room with a View (1908) received generally favorable reviews and made him a minor literary celebrity, but not until the publication of Howards End (1910) did Forster achieve major acclaim as a writer.

During 1912 and 1913 Forster journeyed to India, beginning a lifelong fascination with the subcontinent. A return journey to India in 1921 provided the inspiration for
A Passage to India (1924), which was hailed as a masterpiece on publication. After writing five novels in succession, then ending a fourteen-year hiatus with A Passage to India, Forster retired as a novelist at age forty-five.

He spent the second half of his life as a voracious reader, reviewer, and supporter of young writers such as J. R. Ackerly and Eudora Welty. A prominent public intellectual, Forster became the first president of England's National Council on Civil Liberties and was a lifelong spokesman for personal and political tolerance, testifying in the trial that successfully overturned the ban on D. H. Lawrence's
Lady Chatterley's Lover.

King's College awarded Forster an honorary fellowship in 1946, and he spent the rest of his years in Cambridge. Leading an active literary and social life to the end, Forster died in 1970 at age 91.

A link to more info about Forster and several discussion questions  http://www.litlovers.com/guide_roomwithv.html

Date Posted: 3/13/2009 11:19 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
Back To Top

One of the questions Lucy asks in Chapter 1 is "Are beauty and delicacy the same thing?"

One of Lucy's lessons in this book is that beauty does not need to be refined - beauty can be found in the gesture of kindness that oversteps propriety, or the act of passion that ignores convention. Lucy learns to see beauty in things that her society scorns or condemns.

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 9:49 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
Back To Top

I think this is a coming-of-age story, and interestingly, it's about a girl/woman coming of age rather than a boy/man, which has always been the norm. Coming-of-age stories featuring girls are still rarities, sadly.

I think Lucy has a real eye for beauty, but she distrusts her own instincts because of the people around her and because of her own youth.

The main theme that struck me was learning how to listen to yourself when you live in a society that's more than eager to tell you how to think and feel and act. I'm sure that was a topic Forster had a lot of experience with.

I love this book, it's one of my favorites. I've read Howard's End, too, and I'd like to read A Passage to India as well.