A Room with a View (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
E. M. Forster
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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.
Bartlett, in reply, opened her mouth as little as possible, and said: “Thank you very much indeed; that is out of the question.” “Why?” said the old man, with both fists on the table. “Because it is quite out of the question, thank you.” “You see, we don’t like to take—” began Lucy. Her cousin again repressed her. “But why?” he persisted. “Women like looking at a view; men don’t.” And he thumped with his fists like a naughty child, and turned to his son, saying, “George, persuade them!”
stopped with her hand on her heart. “You sit still; you aren’t fit to go home alone.” “Yes, I am, thank you so very much.” “No, you aren’t. You’d go openly if you were.” “But I had rather—” “Then I don’t fetch your photographs.” “I had rather be alone.” He said imperiously: “The man is dead—the man is probably dead; sit down till you are rested.” She was bewildered, and obeyed him. “And don’t move till I come back.” In the distance she saw creatures with black hoods, isuch as appear in
d‘ye do? Come and have a bathe,’” he chuckled. “That’s the best conversational opening I’ve ever heard. But I’m afraid it will only act between men. Can you picture a lady who has been introduced to another lady by a third lady opening civilities with ‘How do you do? Come and have a bathe’? And yet you will tell me that the sexes are equal.” “I tell you that they shall be,” said Mr. Emerson, who had been slowly descending the stairs. “Good-afternoon, Mr. Beebe. I tell you they shall be comrades,
sun with the young men? The young men, who had now appeared, mocked her with ungenerous words. Mrs. Honeychurch defended orthodoxy, and in the midst of the confusion Miss Bartlett, dressed in the very height of the fashion, came strolling down the stairs. “Dear Marian, I am very sorry, but I have no small change—nothing but sovereigns and half-crowns. Could any one give me—” “Yes, easily. Jump in. Gracious me, how smart you look! What a lovely frock! You put us all to shame.” “If I did not
Gibbon. Hullo! Dear George reads German.... Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and so we go on: The Emersons’ library runs the gamut from Romanticism to nihilism. It includes poems by Lord Byron (1788-1824), an emblematic figure of brooding Romanticism; A Shropshire Lad, by A. E. Housman (1859-1936), with its picture of youth in the countryside; the posthumously-published autobiographical novel by Samuel Butler (1835-1902), The Way of All Flesh, whose lack of sentimentality marked it as a departure from