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Cover image of A Room With a View by Edward M. Forster

A Room With a View by Edward M. Forster

A Room With a View opens with Two Englishwomen touring Europe. The older one is poor, bossy, old fashioned and a great upholder of what is “proper.” The younger one is less certain of herself, but holds within her the makings of a passionate, emotional and independent woman. In Florence they are allotted a room overlooking a dull courtyard, whereas they had specifically asked for a “view.” A fellow guest offers them his own rooms which offer wonderful vistas of the Arno. The older woman instead of appreciating his courtesy, sees this as a breach of propriety. What follows is a romantic novel, a treatise on the independence of women and a penetrating portrayal of hypocritical Edwardian society and politics.A Room With a View by Edward M Forster was published in 1908. He wrote the early parts of the book while actually traveling in Italy with his mother and hence provides an almost first hand view of the English abroad. It was his third novel and many consider it to be one of his most optimistic. The tone is also considerably lighter than his earlier books, Where Angles Fear To Tread and The Longest Journey. Along with Angels, it is also seen as the two “Italian novels” that Forster wrote, in which he explores the narrow-mindedness and silly conventions followed by the English when they travel. The heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, represents a young and impressionable generation just emerging from the chains of society's illogical and unfair restraints. She is unsure, but courageous and passionate.Forster's books are deeply influenced by his humane and compassionate views. Another major theme in Forster's work is the conflict between individual freedoms, desires, sexuality and society's repressions and restrictions. He also uses symbolism and mysticism as vehicles to convey his ideas. In A Room With a View, the young Lucy is torn between the demands of two men she encounters in Florence. The wealthy Cecil Vyse can offer her everything in terms of material wealth and comfort, while the poor, but passionate George Emerson represents all that finds echoes in her heart. Other interesting characters like Rev Beebe, the Miss Alans (who are never seen apart), Miss Lavish a pretentious writer and the liberal, large hearted Mr. Emerson make A Room With a View an interesting and memorable read.A Room With a View was adapted first for the stage in 1975 and later went on to be made into a much acclaimed film that won scores of popular and critical awards and featured several well-known actors. It was also successfully adapted for television by the BBC.

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