This is my second favorite EM Forster novel, with Maurice being my favorite. In my opinion, it is quite interesting how Forster can take the topics he discusses (classism, sexuality, etc) and can make his novels still remain 'proper' in the eyes of critics. He does an amazing job with this novel, bringing to light the ever-present British class system and emperialism that surrounds these characters despite the fact that they travel quite immensely. This is an amazing novel, along with all of his others. I wouldn't miss this read.
Much funnier than I'd imagined. A quick read with some moments that are bound to stick with me for quite awhile.
Concerning Lucy's passionate playing of Beethoven upon the piano, the Rev. Mr. Beebe once said, "If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting--both for us and for her." At the time of the remark, Lucy is a very conventional young woman, with perhaps occasional rebellious thoughts. The Emersons, father and son, are somehow not quite acceptable in her social circle, and though George is so bold as to kiss her impulsively, she is determined to forget him. Instead she finally gives in to the repeated proposals of Cecil Vyse, a thoroughly fashionable young gentleman, if not very exciting. So the stage is set for this splendid satire on the English social strata of the early part of the 20th century, a time when the formal structure of the Victorian era was beginning to fray at the edges. Vyse is a delightfully drawn male chauvinist prig; nobody likes him, but everyone is willing to accept him, and Lucy convinces herself that she is in love with him. However, Vyse's own penchant for getting his way by playing rather cruel practical jokes brings the Emersons back into the picture. Confronted by the contrast between the not quite classy but intelligent, thoughtful (and bold) George Emerson and the arrogant, boorish, but elite Cecil Vyse, Lucy finally decides to live as she plays Beethoven, with exciting results. This early work of Forster's is a pure delight, with a light and well-controlled tone throughout. Although there would be a danger of stereotyping to illustrate the different social classes, Forster skillfully makes the characters well rounded and unpredictable, as in the scene when Lucy breaks her engagement to Vyse, expecting his feelings of masculine superiority to precipitate an argument, but instead being somewhat dismayed when he behaves as a perfect gentleman. Although HOWARDS END is usually rated above A ROOM WITH A VIEW, I prefer this slighter, but consummately well-done, novel.
Read carefullyâyou may want to take notes of things that are poorly, or not, explained. Be prepared to reread sections to understand who is speaking, or to whom or to what a reference is made. His is another English novel using the clergyânot one, but twoâas a vehicle to manipulate the main characters. Not to outdo Trollope, one is looked upon kindly by the female characters, but the other is a pompous meddler who can't seem to keep his mouth shut about his acquaintances and confidences. Anyway, two lady travelers (Lucy, a young woman, and Miss Bartlett, her cousin and chaperon) in Florence (Italy) are disappointed that their rooms at a pension are not what they had been promised. They make an exchange for rooms with a view of the Arno. Thus the stage is set for events that will challenge Edwardian convention. Lucy is witness to a strange murder in which the victim is âhit lightly on the chest,â turns to her, opens his mouth, and proceeds to drool blood on her package of pictures, but evidently not on her person. The author does not explain this directly; he forces the reader to interpolate this through subsequent narrative. She is rescued from a swoon by one of the pension residents: a young man who continues to float in and out of her life. They leave the scene without her being identified as a witness to the tragedy. Throughout the novel âroomâ and âviewâ pop up. âRoomâ would represent the confinement of Edwardian convention, while âviewâ denotes intellectual freedom. The characters are also tied to these views. E.g., Miss Bartlett is conventional (room); Lucy seeks freedom (view). Beyond this Lucy is plagued with doubts of love for two of the main characters. Towards both, she âplucks the daisy petalsâ throughout. I love him; I love him not. She does not settle her conundrum until the final pages. With whom will Lucy live happily ever after? This is serious, sometimes tiring, reading. To parody Dickens, one might subtitle it âNot To Be Read For Entertainment,â or âTo Be Read For Intelligent Enlightenment.â
Much better than the movie! The story contrasts the constraints of Edwardian social propriety with a world of spontaneity and passion. In it a young woman, whose only contact with moments of real emotion is playing Beethoven, awakens to find herself at odds with both worlds. A beautiful love story. Narration is excellent, but English accent takes some adaptation for American listeners: ha ha! another contrast of cultures!
From the jacket:
The heroine of E M Forster's delightful A Room With a View, the young and well-bred Lucy Honeychurch finds herself in quite a "muddle" after encountering the Emersons, father and son, on a trip to Florence with her guardian cousin. The Emersons, whose social class is different from Lucy's and whose manner - unlike the "respectable" people she is used to - is simple and direct, cause her to look anew at people around her, and find them wanting. Worse, in her genuine restiveness and growing desire to be "absolutely truthful", Lucy refuses to acknowledge her stongest feelings - which are for young George Emerson - and she becomes engaged to the boorish, and boring, Cecil Vyse instead. The story of Lucy coming to terms with her feelings - of letting in the light of self-knowledge after much sometimes comical resistance and lying - allows Forster to present one of his favorite themes: that of the holiness of the hearts desire.
'You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you.'
In this brilliant piece of social comedy Forster is concerned with one of his favourite themes: the 'undeveloped heart' of the English middle classes, who are here represented by a group of tourists and expatriates in Florence. The English abroad are observed with a sharply ironic eye, but one of them, the young and unaffected Lucy Honeychurch, is also drawn with great sympathy.
In her relationships with her dismal cousin Charlotte, with the unconventional Emersons and - the scene transferred to England - with her supercilious fiance, Lucy is torn between lingering Victorian proprieties, social and sexual, and the spontaneous promptings of her heart ('an undeveloped heart, not a cold one'). Thus there are hidden depths of meaning in this sunniest and most readable of Forster's novels.
This edition includes Forster's light-hearted sequel, 'A View Without a Room'.
I found EM Forsters A Room with a View to be a delightful coming-of-age story about love, passion, and self-discovery. When Lucy Honeychurch, chaperoned by her cousin Charlotte, checks into a Florentine pensione, Mr. Emerson offers to change rooms so she may have the title room with a view. A chance encounter with Mr. Emersons son George sparks romance -- or scandal? When we next see Lucy, shes back home in England, engaged to a gentleman named Cecil, but does she really follow through? The symbolism of rooms and views, as well as the backdrops of England and Italy, lends depth to the social interactions. Not only is EM Forster an astute observer of social conventions, but his prose (which strikes me as a cross between Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde) inspires the reader to believe life can be lived more fully, more passionately, more satisfyingly. This was a wonderful read worthy of its place on the list of 1001 books you must read before you die.
First published in 1908, this novel by the author of A Passage to India displays Forster's skill in contrasting British sensibilities with those of foreign cultures, as he portrays the love of a British woman for an expatriate living in Italy. Forster's heroine, Miss Lucy Honeychurch, is caught up in a world of social snobbery. Unable to free herself of the claustrophobic influence of her British guardians, she is encouraged to take up with a well-connected boor of a man. But in the end, Honeychurch accepts responsibility for her own life, discovering true love with a man whose sense of freedom reminds her on a room with a view.
Wonderully written. This story was made into a motion picture.
I enjoyed reading this satire about society and society rules. I liked how the title of the book as both a literal room with a view and a commentary on what other things life holds when we get past convention. Like when Cecil understands that Lucy would only see him in a parlor without a view. He realised this before even she did.
A fun read from the early 20th century.
I want to go to Italy! I want to go to Florence and fall in love again! Ok, this might be light reading but what a joyful way to spend a day.
Victorian tale of Lucy Honeychurch let lose in Florence. A classic. Highly recommended.