A Room with a View

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Overview

When Lucy Honeychurch, visiting Italy, mentions the lack of a view from her room, George Emerson and his father offer to swap. But Lucy's suspicions that the Emersons are the wrong sort of people seem confirmed when George impulsively kisses her during a picnic in the Tuscan countryside. Soon, however, thoughts of that kiss have Lucy questioning her engagement to boorish, if utterly acceptable, Cecil Vyse. All in all, the situation presents quite a muddle for a young woman who wishes to be absolutely ...
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A Room with a View (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

When Lucy Honeychurch, visiting Italy, mentions the lack of a view from her room, George Emerson and his father offer to swap. But Lucy's suspicions that the Emersons are the wrong sort of people seem confirmed when George impulsively kisses her during a picnic in the Tuscan countryside. Soon, however, thoughts of that kiss have Lucy questioning her engagement to boorish, if utterly acceptable, Cecil Vyse. All in all, the situation presents quite a muddle for a young woman who wishes to be absolutely truthful—even when she's lying to herself about the most important aspects of life and love.

E.M. Forster's brilliant comedy of manners shines a gently ironic light on the attitudes and customs of the British middle class at the beginning of the 20th century.

A classic tale of British middle-class love, this novel 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. One of Forster's earliest and most celebrated works.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394701875
  • Publisher: Random House, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/20/1976

Meet the Author


E. M. Forster (1879–1970) was an English novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and librettist, whose best known novels include Howards End, A Room with a View, and A Passage to India.

Steven Crossley is one of a select group of narrators who have recorded over two hundred audiobooks. He has won multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie and Sharpe's Fury by Bernard Cornwell.

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).

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    1. Also Known As:
      Edward Morgan Forster
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 1, 1879
    2. Place of Birth:
      London
    1. Date of Death:
      June 7, 1970
    2. Place of Death:
      Coventry, England

Read an Excerpt

Part 1


Chapter 1


The Bertolini


"The Signora had no business to do it," said Miss Bartlett, "no business at all. She promised us south rooms with a view close together, instead of which here are north rooms, looking into a courtyard, and a long way apart. Oh, Lucy!"

"And a Cockney, besides!" said Lucy, who had been further saddened by the Signora's unexpected accent. "It might be London." She looked at the two rows of English people who were sitting at the table; at the row of white bottles of water and red bottles of wine that ran between the English people; at the portraits of the late Queen and the late Poet Laureate that hung behind the English people, heavily framed; at the notice of the English church (Rev. Cuthbert Eager, M.A. Oxon.), that was the only other decoration of the wall.

"Charlotte, don't you feel, too, that we might be in London? I can hardly believe that all kinds of other things are just outside. I suppose it is one's being so tired."

"This meat has surely been used for soup," said Miss Bartlett, laying down her fork.

"I want so to see the Arno. The rooms the Signora promised us in her letter would have looked over the Arno. The. Signora had no business to do it at all. Oh, it is a shame!"

"Any nook does for me," Miss Bartlett continued; "but it does seem hard that you shouldn't have a view."

Lucy felt that she had been selfish. "Charlotte, you mustn't spoil me: of course, you must look over the Arno, too. I meant that. The first vacant room in the front'"

"You must have it," said Miss Bartlett, part of whose travelling expenseswere paid by Lucy's mother'a piece of generosity to which she made many a tactful allusion.

"No, no. You must have it."

"I insist on it. Your mother would never forgive me, Lucy.""She would never forgive me."

The ladies' voices grew animated, and if the sad truth be owned a little peevish. They were tired, and under the guise of unselfishness they wrangled. Some of their neighbours interchanged glances, and one of them'one of the ill-bred people whom one does meet abroad'leant forward over the table and actually intruded into their argument. He said:"I have a view, I have a view."

Miss Bartlett was startled. Generally at a pension people looked them over for a day or two before speaking, and often did not find out that they would "do" till they had gone. She knew that the intruder was ill-bred, even before she glanced at him. He was an old man, of heavy build, with a fair, shaven face and large eyes. There was something childish in those eyes, though it was not the childishness of senility. What exactly it was Miss Bartlett did not stop to consider, for her glance passed on to his clothes. These did not attract her. He was probably trying to become acquainted with them before they got into the swim. So she assumed a dazed expression when he spoke to her, and then said: "A view? Oh, a view! How delightful a view is!"

"This is my son," said the old man; "his name's George. He has a view too.""Ah," said Miss Bartlett, repressing Lucy, who was about to speak."What I mean," he continued, "is that you can have our rooms, and we'll have yours. We'll change."The better class of tourist was shocked at this, and sympathized with the newcomers. Miss 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!"

"It's so obvious they should have the rooms, " said the son. "There's nothing else to say."

He did not look at the ladies as he spoke, but his voice was perplexed and sorrowful. Lucy, too, was perplexed; but she saw that they were in for what is known as "quite a scene," and she had an odd feeling that whenever these ill-bred tourists spoke the contest widened and deepened till it dealt, not with rooms and views, but with well, with something quite different, whose existence she had not realized before. Now the old man attacked Miss Bartlett almost violently: Why should she not change? What possible objection had she? They would clear out in half an hour.

Miss Bartlett, though skilled in the delicacies of conversation, was powerless in the presence of brutality. It was impossible to snub any one so gross. Her face reddened with displeasure. She looked around as much as to say, "Are you all like this?" And two little old ladies, who were sitting further up the table, with shawls hanging over the backs of the chairs, looked back, clearly indicating "We are not; we are genteel."

"Eat your dinner, dear," she said to Lucy, and began to toy again with the meat that she had once censured.

Lucy mumbled that those seemed very odd people opposite."Eat your dinner, dear. This pension is a failure. Tomorrow we will make a change."

Hardly had she announced this fell decision when she reversed it. The curtains at the end of the room parted, and revealed a clergyman, stout but attractive, who hurried forward to take his place at the table, cheerfully apologizing for his lateness. Lucy, who had not yet acquired decency, at once rose to her feet, exclaiming: "Oh, oh! Why, it's Mr. Beebe! Oh, how perfectly lovely! Oh, Charlotte, we must stop now, however bad the rooms are. Oh!"Miss Bartlett said, with more restraint:

"How do you do, Mr. Beebe? I expect that you have forgotten us: Miss Bartlett and Miss Honeychurch, who were at Tunbridge Wells when you helped the Vicar of St. Peter's that very cold Easter."

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Table of Contents

Part 1
The Bertolini 1
In Santa Croce with No Baedeker 16
Music, Violets, and the Letter "S" 35
Fourth Chapter 49
Possibilities of a Pleasant Outing 57
The Reverend Arthur Beebe, the Reverend Cuthbert Eager, Mr. Emerson, Miss Eleanor Lavish, Miss Charlotte Bartlett, and Miss Lucy Honeychurch Drive Out in Carriages to See a View; Italians Drive Them 73
They Return 88
Part 2
Mediaeval 105
Lucy as a Work of Art 124
Cecil as a Humourist 142
In Mrs. Vyse's Well-Appointed Flat 153
Twelfth Chapter 161
How Miss Bartlett's Boiler Was So Tiresome 173
How Miss Lucy Faced the External Situation Bravely 184
The Disaster Within 192
Lying to George 210
Lying to Cecil 221
Lying to Mr. Beebe, Mrs. Honeychurch, Freddy, and the Servants 229
Lying to Mr. Emerson 250
The End of the Middle Ages 271
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 224 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(86)

4 Star

(60)

3 Star

(29)

2 Star

(17)

1 Star

(32)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 226 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2006

    An interesting love story

    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.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Oops! I think I love George!

    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.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2007

    A reviewer

    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.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2006

    Marvelous!

    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!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Never get tired of reading this book

    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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2006

    The book is as beautiful as the movie!

    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!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2011

    A Room With a View indeed!

    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!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Period Piece

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    charming

    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:]]

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2009

    welll...

    though the novel was quite confusing at first.. everything comes together towards the end.. you just need to have enought patience to get there.. there are good character in this novel such as; george and mr. emerson, and mr. vyse. I chose to do this novel for a senior project and enjoyed it.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2005

    Life and Love in Florence

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 1999

    Smart and Funny

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2014

    This is one of my favorite stories. An excellent tale related by

    This is one of my favorite stories. An excellent tale related by a master story teller. Enjoy the beautiful language, lush scenery, vivid characters, and magnificently crafted melodrama. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2013

    Well written.

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2013

    I am in love with a room with a view!

    I am in love with a room with a view book and movie a sweet neive gril travel and family mamber and meet a boy and frist love.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 4, 2013

    The formatting on my copy was quite bad.  Beware if you plan to

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    was a bit disapointing

    didnt grab me to make for interesting read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2011

    "I have a view."

    I found the main focus of this novel to be the room and the view meaning having an outlook beyond what you've always been told and what you've always accepted. The room so to say is society and a view is our own willingness to look outside of those customs, manners, etc of that society. EM Forster does a spectacular job of reinforcing this idea throughout the novel.
    One of the most refreshing aspects I find of Forster's writing is his strong portrayal of women, which at the time was certainly abnormal. But more than just saying women are strong he shows us. He allows them blunders and mistakes but lets them flourish from that by having them solve their problems. He does not have the men be the saviors as often Austen does or even most mainstream modern romance novels.
    This is a great novel, one of my favorites and I highly recommend it for any Austen, Wilde, Bronte type fans. It is a light lovable read.

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    Boring

    I read the sample, and i was not intetested. It was easy to put down. Not gonna get it.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2011

    Worth a read

    I really enjoyed this book. I wished that it would have been longer but, I was happy that the two main characters finally got together in the end of the book. As always, I wish to have more of the story to read after the two get together. Worth the time to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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