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A Room with a View, by E. M. Forster, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences-biographical, historical, and literary-to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
A charming tale of the battle between bourgeois repression and radical romanticism, E. M. Forster's third novel has long been the most popular of his early works. A young girl, Lucy Honeychurch, and her chaperon-products of proper Edwardian England-visit a tempestuous, passionate Italy. Their "room with a view" allows them to look into a world far different from their own, a world unconcerned with convention, unfettered by social rituals, and unafraid of emotion. Soon Lucy finds herself bound to an obviously "unsuitable" man, the melancholic George Emerson, whose improper advances she dare not publicize. Back home, her friend and mentor Charlotte Bartlett and her mother, try to manipulate her into marriage with the more "appropriate" but smotheringly dull Cecil Vyse, whose surname suggests the imprisoning effect he would have on Lucy's spirit. A colorful gallery of characters, including George's riotously funny father, Lucy's sullen brother, the novelist Eleanor Lavish, and the reverend Mr. Beebe, line up on either side, and A Room with a View unfolds as a delightfully satiric comedy of manners and an immensely satisfying love story. Radhika Jones is a freelance writer and a Ph.D. candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Â
About The Author Radhika Jones is a freelance writer and a Ph.D. candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
Biography Edward Morgan Forster was born in London in 1879, attended Tonbridge School as a day boy, and went on to King's College, Cambridge, in 1897. With King's he had a lifelong connection and was elected to an Honorary Fellowship in 1946. He declared that his life as a whole had not been dramatic, and he was unfailingly modest about his achievements. Interviewed by the BBC on his eightieth birthday, he said: "I have not written as much as I'd like to... I write for two reasons: partly to make money and partly to win the respect of people whom I respect... I had better add that I am quite sure I am not a great novelist." Eminent critics and the general public have judged otherwise and in his obituary The Times called him "one of the most esteemed English novelists of his time."
He wrote six novels, four of which appeared before the First World War, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907), A Room with a View (1908), and Howard's End (1910). An interval of fourteen years elapsed before he published A Passage to India. It won both the Prix Femina Vie Heureuse and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Maurice, his novel on a homosexual theme, finished in 1914, was published posthumously in 1971. He also published two volumes of short stories; two collections of essays; a critical work, Aspects of the Novel; The Hill of Devi, a fascinating record of two visits Forster made to the Indian State of Dewas Senior; two biographies; two books about Alexandria (where he worked for the Red Cross in the First World War); and, with Eric Crozier, the libretto for Britten's opera Billy Budd. He died in June 1970. Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).
Reviews The incomparably beautiful city of Florence and the peaceful backwaters of rural England at the turn of the century serve as the remarkable settings for this lavish BBC dramatization of E.M. Forster's classic social satire, complete with a distinguished cast and stirring music.
<i>Room With a View</i> is an overrated love story that is very similar, in both the way it is told and its base ideals, to many other books of the time period. Sure, it is well-written, but the only reason why this book is so revered is because of how closely it sticks to the tried-and-true formula of its time period. This is one 'classic' book that really doesn't deserve it's title, written by an author who doesn't deserve such high priase.
So many are familiar with the Merchant/Ivory movie released in 1985 and the wonder of it all is that the book and movie are equally beautiful! Naturally there is more in the book and the metaphors for the 'room' and the 'view' become more clear after one has read the book, but since the novel is short, the directors were able to include so much of it in the movie. The book is funny, romantic and so full of life and truth, though it might be difficult for the modern reader to understand why such a fuss is made about the kiss George gives to Lucy. The book says so much about how we deceive ourselves, even those of us who are not from upper class English society. (Perhaps that is why there are so many divorces?) Lucy comes so close to making a terrible decision that would have ruined her life but Mr. Emerson saves the day. He is so honest and real that you love him at once. Almost all the characters are lovable if exasperating in this book - even Cecil redeems himself in the end. He is a pompous snob throughout but when Lucy breaks off their engagement, he humbly wishes to know why and accepts her reasons with dignity. Italy as a metaphor for life and passion works so well and Forster alludes to how religion, social mores and repression can 'muddle' things up, but all is well in the end!
If you have a difficult time understanding older English, this book will be a challenge. However, stick with it. It has humorous characters who delight and intrigue. Lucy Honeychurch is a force to be reckoned with when she finally throws off the nonsense of society. This is a story that takes a young girl through a self-understanding process and gives the reader food-for-thought. If you can ponder her decisions and understand her choices, you will find a great heroine within the pages of this story. Lucy seems feeble and weak, but by the end, you find her quite the opposite. Watching her transformation is wonderful and well worth the time.
Read An Excerpt From Radhika Jones's Introduction to A Room with a View Lucy comes of age, as Forster himself did, at a time of sea changes in Britain and the world: the ebb of British imperial power, the end of the Victorian era, the onset of the modern age, and the portents of a world war. It is a moment of epic transition signaled from the novel's first page, when Forster turns our eye to the "portraits of the late Queen and the late Poet Laureate" that grace the dining room of the Pension Bertolini, reminding those present that the era of Victoria and Tennyson has passed irrevocably into history. But like those portraits, the historical transitions at work in A Room with a View act chiefly as backdrops for the deeply personal issues with which Lucy struggles. After all, Lucy is no revolutionary; she moves within the parameters of what is possible for a girl of her age and situation. What social boldness she has comes in spurts, often uncertain ones. She expresses herself most effectively in indirect ways, and not in words but in music, sitting at the piano. Confident in Beethoven, she is nevertheless hesitant without her Baedeker; her artistic connection to music does not manifest itself outside that medium. It is tempting to accept Mr. Beebe's assertion that "if Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting-both for us and for her" as a formula for the novel, but Forster leaves us in doubt as to whether Lucy ever fulfills that potential; indeed, whether she ever could. The ending that awaited most literary heroines of the Victorian era-marriage-will be her ending too. Where she finds room to distinguish herself, to inhabit the freedoms of this age of transition, is in the manner of man she will marry, and that is where the energies of the novel are focused. A Room with a View also inhabits an age of transition from the point of view of literature. The three-decker novel that had dominated the second half of the nineteenth century was now a dinosaur, virtually extinguished in the 1890s by the
onset of cheap, one-volume editions, and its complex plots and sometimes belabored prose were giving way along with its physical bulk. Forster's early novels demonstrate this shift in action. There is a casual quality to his prose that makes his novels themselves seem casually constructed, as if they were the natural result of recording experience on paper. The influential American critic Lionel Trilling, describing the "colloquial unpretentiousness" of Forster's style, cites it as proof that Forster was "content with the human possibility and content with its limitations" (quoted in Wilde, ed., Critical Essays on E. M. Forster, p. 59). Unlike the writing of the high modernists (James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence) who would make their mark in succeeding decades, Forster's prose does not evince a formal struggle; it does not attempt to break free of perceived linguistic or semantic constraints. Not incidentally, it is not difficult to read. But it would be a mistake, on these grounds, to think of Forster as artless. A close look at the underpinnings of A Room with a View-its language, its motifs, its structure-shows a craftsman at work. There is, first of all, the role of the narrative voice in absorbing and reflecting the novel's themes through language. We might begin with the narrator's treatment of Lucy, who is on the verge of learning to interpret the world and its inhabitants but often takes refuge in the opinions of others rather than attempt to puzzle things out on her own. In the first chapter, as she copes with the repressive Charlotte, the tactless Emersons, and the mildly interfering Mr. Beebe, she is described as "bewildered"; she "had the sense of larger and unsuspected issues" that she fails to identify, let alone resolve. Unable to determine what to make of the Emersons, she finally asks Mr. Beebe directly: "Old Mr. Emerson, is he nice or not nice? I do so want to know." This perplexity, presented quite baldly by the narrator, is part of what makes Lucy convincing as a modern heroine: that she does not make any claims to being particularly heroic.
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