E. M. Forster: A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
"A Room with a View," by E. M. Forster, depicts a young Englishwoman's adventure trying to come to grips with the conflict between her desires and society's expectations. Lucy Honeychurch is a well-bred young middle class girl on holiday in radiant Florence. As E. M. Forster tells it, Lucy comes from a family which is overly concerned with respectability, and is over-protected by a spinster named Charlotte Bartlett. Under no circumstances will Miss Bartlett allow Lucy to pursue (or even examine) her affection for the handsome young George Emerson--his father is far too unconventional with his modern notions about honesty and freethinking. Determined to forget George, Lucy finally gives in to the repeated proposals of Cecil Vyse, a thoroughly fashionable young gentleman, if not very exciting. And so E. M. Forster sets the stage for "A Room with a View," a splendid satire on the English social strata of the early part of the 20th century when the formal social structure of the Victorian era was beginning to fray at the edges. Vyse is a delightfully drawn male chauvinist; 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. E. M. Forster writes gently and calmly, but with a passion for life and love welling up beneath the surface. "A Room with a View" is a lovely book, vital with the force of a sensitive and empathetic mind. Highly recommended!
E. M. Forster ( 1879-1970), was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy and also the attitudes towards gender and homosexuality in early 20th-century British society. E. M. Forster's humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: "Only connect".
Date of Birth:
January 1, 1879
Date of Death:
June 7, 1970
Place of Birth:
Place of Death:
B. A. in classics, King's College, Cambridge, 1900; B. A. in history, 1901; M.A., 1910