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A Room with a View (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

A Room with a View (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593082888
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 05/01/2005
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 20,474
Product dimensions: 7.98(w) x 5.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Born in London in 1879, E. M. Forster is the author of six novels: Where Angels Fear to Tread, The Longest Journey, A Room with a View, Howard’s End, A Passage to India, and Maurice, the last published posthumously. He also wrote a number short stories, in addition to criticism and essays. His books have been adapted into several popular movies. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 13 separate years. He died in 1970.

Date of Birth:

January 1, 1879

Date of Death:

June 7, 1970

Place of Birth:

London

Place of Death:

Coventry, England

Education:

B. A. in classics, King's College, Cambridge, 1900; B. A. in history, 1901; M.A., 1910

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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A Room With a View 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 264 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Room With A View is a novel not only about the journey to find true love, but also about the difficult decisions one is faced with when one must decide to either listen to the expectations of others, or their own heart. In this novel the main character, Lucy takes a trip to Italy with her cousin, and upon her arrival meets the Emerson¿s. Lucy belonging to the upper class of society thinks she could never have an attraction to someone of the lower class, like the Emerson¿s. Love was something Lucy was hoping to find in Italy, but as soon as she arrived back to her home in England she promptly became engaged to Cecil, a man of the same social class as her. Lucy soon realizes that she is not truly in love with Cecil, and discovers that she is in love with George Emerson. Everyone Lucy knows expects her to marry someone wealthy and proper, like Cecil, but instead of listening to what others expect of her, Lucy listens to her heart, and allows herself to be in love with George. Throughout Lucy¿s journey to find true love Forster conveys the message that others expectations cannot guide one to the path of love, only one¿s heart can. I recommend this book to anyone who struggles when faced with making the decision of following others expectations, or following their heart. This novel will teach its readers that what one truly desires is the only escape to genuine happiness.
Themomof7 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The union of love between two people cannot be wholly attained unless each partner first establishes their own, independent identity. E. M. Forster¿s witty and coming of age novel articulated this message through the novel centering on Lucy Honeychurch¿s dilemma of pursuing love and independence in a confined social and mental environment. Mr. Emerson is a brave character that displays Forster¿s thoughts towards new-age liberalism and ultimately influences Lucy to find her own independent identity. The message Forster communicated in the novel created a timeless and beautiful love story for all generations. Anyone who picks up this novel will find it to be a great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Room with a View is simply amazing. Forster throws in SO much subtle wit it actually had me laughing out loud quite often. A very satisfying love story, and overall an excellent read!
yukiji More than 1 year ago
I just love the characters in this book , in particular old Mr. Emmerson. I guess you could say this is a Love story, and also a young woman "coming of age story". It's also a novel with a great cast of characters. I think Forster did a great job of embodying different belief systems in his characters without making them caricatures.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Ceil Maus-Conn More than 1 year ago
I love this book! It is a very touching book and I am now dying to see the movie! Helena Bonham Carter ( Lucy Honeychurch) is my favorite actress!
Kratz More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this descriptive classic. Excellent character development. Plot was enjoyable. Forster has the ability to pick one up wherever they are and deposit them into France and Victorian England. The trials of love are wonderfully written.
TeresaPA More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read! Right from the start all the way to the end!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written. Although a love story, much more goes on between characters. This novel takes a light-hearted look at the absurdities of the society during this era. Also it touches on the society's change. It is timeless in the lesson of how we get in our own way. There is only one complaint; there are many typographical errors. At one point a couple of pages were totally unreadable. Still, the story was well worth it.
Books-love More than 1 year ago
The formatting on my copy was quite bad.  Beware if you plan to buy.  At least when I got it, it was free.  However, the formatting was enough to make me delete it.
EleanorAlicePoe More than 1 year ago
Thins book is by far one of my favorites from E.M Forster. He did a great job with this one. The characters are real and believable while the plot is fun and exiting. It has the perfect mystery of romance and shows just how persistant love can be. A must read for classic lovers:]]
Guest More than 1 year ago
E.M. Forster's A Room With a View is a masterpiece. I truly had trouble putting this one down. My only qualm is that it wasn't quite long enough. Viva Italia!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book pokes fun at the Edwardian culture--its rules, hypocrisy, etc. The characters will make you laugh out loud, they are so perfectly done. It is not so much a love story as a story of Lucy changing from 'proper lady' to 'thinking lady.' I highly recommend this book!
Justin_DeCosta 10 months ago
A Room With a View is a true love story taken place in the 20th century, as we meet the protagonist of the novel, Lucy Honeychurch, a fairly well off young british girl forced on holiday in Florence, Italy with her unwelcoming cousin Charlotte, in which she is introduced to a English Father and son. Lucy learns the life of the lower class and grows to understand that there is more to a person than status and wealth. Lucy is faced with a phycological battle with making choices for herself rather than for everyone else. “Have you ever noticed that there are people who do things which are most indelicate, and yet at the same time—beautiful?” (1.1) This gives readers a sense of hope. We want to see Lucy progress and mature as a character, but the constant denial will drag on with her as a character and her continued cliche personality takes time to grow and develop. I couldn’t tell what point the book was trying to push, either the romcom mushy gushy love story, or the surreal dive into the human mind and behaviors which can be changed with one simple encounter. The discussion of passion within Lucy is a theme that keeps the reader interested. “If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting both for us and for her.” (1.3) The characters even want Lucy to expand her mindset. All of this discovery is mixed and pushed with her new experiences in this foreign country and city. I can relate with her curiosity of walking through Florence for the first time. While the city itself is small, you feel a sense of exploration, observing tall building hundreds of years old, holding countless historical artifacts. Like Lucy, I felt lost, and I wasn’t sure if i’d ever get used to it. This book captures Florence like no other book I have read, and will keep your mind imagining the stone streets and tall, ancient buildings throughout Lucy’s time there. While the characters were very simplistic, I enjoyed the simple love theme spread across the story. This book is perfect to pick up and read in a day or two on a warm summer evening, relaxed with a loved one, or cat nearby. You don’t have to focus too hard, but rather enjoy this story and experience a simplistic love story in Florence. I would suggest this to anyone who doesn’t take reading too seriously, and can be easily distracted with plot. Overall, I enjoyed this book, and someday may pick it up again on a summer evening to relax.
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lucy Honeychurch is visiting Italy with her cousin, Charlotte, who as an older single female has come along as a chaperone. While on the trip, she meets an "original" older woman, Miss Lavish, who is writing a novel; the stuck-up clergyman Mr. Eager; and the Emersons, a father and son duo whose forthrightness and political leanings rather shock some of the more orthodox crowd. Her time in Italy affects Lucy greatly: she sees a man murdered and experiences her first kiss. Upon returning home, she must decide between living up to the expectations of tradition, as embodied by her cousin Charlotte, or following the desires of her heart.Perhaps it's because I read [A Passage to India] as an English major, or maybe it's the many layers to E.M. Forster's classic story that made me feel, when reading it, that I could write a paper about his use of inside and outside, of old and new. Class distinctions are still important, particularly to the older characters and city dwellers, while less so to the younger and country folk. Lucy's fiance says at one point that Lucy pictures him inside a room, which seems connected with his repression of her spirit and independent thought, hugely in contrast with George Emerson and Frank Honeychurch's behavior outdoors in the Sacred Lake. The layering of metaphors and brilliant characterizations made this a real pleasure to read, and I would not hesitate to read it again knowing that I would get just as much - if not more - out of it with multiple readings. At the same time, the story is accessible and compelling, a classic that is neither long nor slow reading. Highly recommended.
bookweaver on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, I think I'm going to be teaching this book this year. I see the themes that make it a good one to teach to adolescents. I have a little trouble reading it, though, unless I'm not tired and have no distractions...I tend to get a little lost in the words!
dschander on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read "A Room With a View" by E.M. Forster when I was in college, and though I remembered the book with fondness and kept thinking I should reread it, what I couldn't actually remember was why. Finally, I can answer: the writing is wonderful. It's full of all these little truths and statements about life you've always thought yourself but never put into words. And the story, though simple (a young woman goes abroad for the first time to discover the world and discovers much about life along the way), is true in that way only fiction can be. It's a fast read as well: you feel you've only just begun and look up to discover you're somewhere in the middle, then done.
read.to.live on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The female protagonist is self-centered and dim-witted. Her conversation (and thoughts) are 90% about herself, and 10% just silly. Unlike any Jane Austen heroine, I would not have the slightest desire to meet her in person. Her general appeal seems to rest upon her youth and good looks, her passionate piano playing, and her appreciation of nature; indeed, she seems almost a force of nature, an embodiment of a pure, childish life force. Does she ever once perform a genuine act of kindness, let alone empathy? She feels shame, that's all, when she can see that her actions negatively impact someone else, but not empathy, not a true human connection. Neither does she have a single original thought.Nevertheless, the entire book is worth it for the scene at the end where Mr. Emerson forces her to face the truth: her overwhelming desire to be trusted has led to nothing but lies. This scene was beautifully read by Joanna Davis. "They trust me," she hisses; "But why should they," he answers, "when you have deceived them?"What is the point of trust built on lies? Mr. Emerson is the one person in the book I would love to meet and know better. Truly kind, thoughtful, analytical, and intelligent, the one jarring note is his refusal to accede to his wife's desire to baptize their son. If he thinks it means nothing, then why not make her happy? It can be explained only by his reverence for the truth:"Am I justified?" Into his own eyes tears came. "Yes, for we fight for more than Love or Pleasure; there is Truth. Truth Counts, Truth does count."She "never exactly understood," she would say in after years, "how he managed to strengthen her. It was as if he had made her see the whole of everything at once."Truth counts.***"Mr. Beebe--I have misled you, I have misled myself--""Oh, rubbish, Miss Honeychurch!""It is not rubbish!" said the old man hotly. "It's the part of people you don't understand."***
baumgarten on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very good, understated story about an extended holiday that blooms into romance. A young woman traveling with her older, overbearing cousin in Italy is consumed more with the squabbles of British manners than with enjoying the sights of Florence, and more concerned about properly obtaining a Room with a View than with the view itself.The contrast between characters is strong and important to the development of the message of the novel, and seems characteristic of Forster's work.Much like "Pride and Prejudice," this novel is about people taking the long way around their strict society to get where they always needed to end up, and Forster has an excellent turn of phrase on how difficult it is to direct one's own life:"Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice, and we welcome ¿nerves¿ or any other shibboleth that will cloak our personal desire. "
pdepena on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you liked Pride and Prejudice you'll probably like this story of a young woman who almost marries the wrong guy. She's a little immature but it's a fun read and it all turns out in the end.
andreablythe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While traveling in Italy, a young Victorian woman Lucy Honeychurch hopes to explore and learn about the artwork and architecture of the area. Instead she has a brush with violence that leads her into a an intrigue with a young man. She flees her passion, traveling from Italy back to England, where she must learn to listen to her own heart. I was impressed with Forster's take on his characters, making them complicated and interesting and often funny. I especially enjoyed his portrayal of Lucy, who's independent spirit is hidden deep down beneath her layers of appropriate behavior. Forster treated her as a person and even advocates a level of equality between a man and a woman, especially in romantic relationships, hinting that the kind of man as protector role which puts women down is a backwards kind of ideology. Forster is compassionate about his characters, showing depth of soul and potential for redemption even in the antagonists whom other writers might villainize. On top of that Forster's writing style is gorgeous with crisp clean prose. He weaves in metaphor beautifully without resorting to the kind of over the top sentence construction that can be confusing and is often seen in older works. The simplicity of style makes for a smooth and easy read. I loved it. More Forster, please!
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Let's go to Italy!" "Yes, let's!" I decided to read this book for the wrong reasons (our upcoming trip to Italy and my incessant need to immerse myself in all things Italian) but by the time I'd finished reading the first page, marveling at the beauty of Forster's writing, I knew I'd found a new addition to my list of Books You Must Read. Our main character, Lucy Honeychurch (what a great name!) is off to Italy with a relative. She meets a man, George Emerson, who startles her, frightens her, with his intensity, and she bolts back to her secure home in England and quickly becomes engaged to a comfortable man. But it is too late for comfort, and when she finds herself unexpectedly meeting up with George again, Lucy must choose between a life and a semblance of a life. Beautiful writing. You will love this book.
agnesmack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't know how I ended up with this book, but after I did I started to notice it on all kinds of "Best 100 Novels of All Time" lists.I'm not sure what that was about. It was fine, I didn't hate it, but it wasn't anything particularly special either.The story is that of a girl taking a holiday with her spinster aunt. She meets a boy, kisses him and is apparently 'ruined' (the book was written in 1908). She eventually becomes engaged to another man, despite this secret of being 'ruined'. Of course, she eventually runs into the original young man that she kissed, breaks off her engagement and lives happily ever after.
theokester on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Room with a View is yet another "classic novel" that I never got around to reading¿nor did I ever see the movie based on it. Apparently the book has made a few "100 best novels" lists and has received some pretty good praise. I also haven't read much by Forster¿actually the only other book I read by him is A Passage to India. I did notice a few similar tones or themes between the two books.Similar to Passage, A Room with a View is a romantic period piece involving a young woman undertaking some exotic travels. We start off in Italy with a young woman, Lucy, and her chaperone, Charlotte, staying in a hotel overlooking Florence. The book title comes from an early experience in the book where Lucy and Charlotte are disappointed to find that their hotel room does NOT have a view of the river. Some other tourists, a father and son¿the Emersons, hear their conversation and offer to change rooms with them.Through a series of both mundane and extraordinary events, Lucy experiences Italy. She makes new friends and is discouraged by her aunt/chaperone Charlotte to not make friends with the Emersons who are largely looked down on by all other visitors to the hotel. Naturally, Lucy and the son, George, are pushed together by a variety of circumstances. She finds herself excited, frightened and confused by her feelings towards him and by midway through the novel they are separated and she has decided to hate him.As Part Two of the novel opens, we find Lucy back in England, engaged to be married to another man, Cecil. It's evident that she doesn't love him and in many ways doesn't even like him. But she's confused about who she is and what she wants. To confuse matters more, the Emersons come to stay in the same quiet little town. In many ways you can probably predict the story arc. There are a number of surprising and unexpected elements but the general progression of the book is somewhat predictable. Many of the characters are flat and unremarkable. And yet, the book is deemed a classic and lauded as great. So what makes it so?One thing is that the book is vivid with details. It creates a wonderful backdrop of setting and culture as it describes and shows England and Italy. There is a lot of depth in the way the two countries and cultures are counterbalanced against one another. That counterbalance seems evocative of an underlying theme in the novel.Where Italy is portrayed as more open and free, England is shown as stifling and constrictive. Indeed the tourists flee from England to Italy in an attempt to gain freedom from their home. While there are many static characters, they too may be part of the thematic contrast against the few very dynamic characters¿showing the difference between the staid, predictable characters and the developing, emerging characters.Although there are some political nuances, iI think it's safe to say that the novel isn't commenting so much about the politics or culture of Italy vs England as it is about the idea of growing as individuals (particularly women) by breaking free of repression and oppressive conformity. Rather than simply accepting the status quo and allowing ourselves to be pushed into a box, we need to learn how to think for ourselves, find out what we truly want to become and then work to break free and become what we are capable of.In many ways, this felt like a fairly typical period romance from the late-19th/early-20th century. And in many ways it is. But with its detailed writing and intriguingly nuanced characters as well as interesting counterpoints, I can see where this novel gains its praise. It's not likely to be something I would read again and again, but it is certainly worth exploring and could certainly benefit from a close reading with attention to theme and detail.****4 out of 5 stars